You may have read my blog post from the end of last week, when I put a selection of owl boxes up at Yew View, the site I am working at in Worcestershire. One box was set in one of the largest trees on site. The Tawnies had been seen and heard in this tree. The box is set up with an HD Vivotek IP camera inside and additional lighting. At night, the lights are IR… so the owl cannot see them, but the camera can!
We had some issues getting it all to work, as the camera had to be wired back to an external hub and then that hub is wired back to the office, where a clever piece of software called icatcher console, monitors and records any footage from the camera.
I returned to the site at the weekend to get it working, as my clients had seen and heard the tawny owls in that tree and now is when owls are prospecting for nesting spaces. I would not be returning to the site for a couple of weeks, so was determined that the camera would be working so we could monitor any visits.
I did not dare to hope too much for anything too quickly, but today I was very excited!
I can access the cameras via my phone and see a timeline indicating if there has been any activity. Sadly the Internet connection at the site is very poor and I was not able to look more closely until I got home from work and was able to get to my PC. I can access all the cameras at Yew View via my icatcher console at home, but the footage is rather pixillated and incredibly slow, due to this poor Internet connection on the site. I did spot a blip in the timeline that suggested something went in. After an agonisingly slow playback, it was clear there was a tawny looking in! Thrilled, I allowed the footage to play….. it took about 10 seconds here for every 1 second of footage at the site. I did manage to capture a few stills and excitedly rang David (who owns the site) to tell him to go and check the PC and the footage!
David confirmed the owl had been in there for 2 minutes. He was able to capture the video clip and send it to me so I could upload it onto our YouTube Channel! I have put a microphone inside this box and it will be fascinating to hear all their calls… I have never heard a call like this individual makes!
We were also able to look at the footage from an external camera and see that we have a pair of Tawnies! One sat outside whilst the other one checked out this new potential nesting site!
It is very early days, but very promising signs… we will be watching our cams with bated breath and I certainly will be dreaming of Tawny owlets tonight!