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Yew View Sparrowhawk catches a bat!

Sometimes, the footage I capture at Yew View just amazes me! With cameras recording 24-7, we often film wildlife events that I feel are pretty unique. This week was one of those times! It can take me anywhere up to 4+ hours to look through the footage from a week. We have over 30 cameras, but not all are recording all the time. Some cameras, I will spend a long time, looking through every minute (sped up at first on the icatcher console), and other footage I will just dip into.

The Kingfisher perch footage is always one I look through thoroughly, as this perch has attracted a large number of species and I never tire of watching our resident Kingfishers hunting here. I get lots of footage I simply bin now, as it is footage I have already recorded and saved before. If I see something particularly good of our kingfishers, then I still like to lift it and save it to share on the blog.

I was getting towards the end of the footage, when a blip on the timeline caught my eye. The icatcher console software monitors the camera and a blip appears when there is significant movement. Clicking on it, I noticed it was getting dark…. 8.50pm and the camera was only just still in colour, before it would change to use IR and the image would turn to black and white.

I was excited to see a sparrowhawk appear on the post, with prey in its talons. This is not the first time we have had a sparrowhawk on the post, but we have never filmed them with prey. This prey looked small and, initially, I presumed it was a fledgling. As I watched the footage, I was amazed… this sparrowhawk had a bat!!! I watched the footage again and slowed it down, lifting some frames… it was most definitely a bat!

Kingfisher VIVOTEK 2016-08-10 20-48-58.977

One study carried out on 10,000 sparrowhawk prey items taken during the breeding season found that 97% were birds.  However, sparrowhawks have been recorded catching mammals such as rodents, weasels, young rabbits and bats. Being fast and agile hunters, sparrowhawks are more than capable of catching a bat and other raptors including kestrels, hobbies and merlins have also been recorded catching them. Many species of raptor don’t return to roost until it is almost completely dark which means they could still be hunting at dusk when bats emerge from their roosts.

I am pretty sure not many have actually filmed this before and I am thrilled with the footage. It is quite dark, but you can clearly see that this individual has a bat… I’m not sure what species. It kills and eats the entire bat, whilst on the post (not for the faint-hearted!)

These raptors are certainly impressive hunters… I would have love to have watched it actually catch it!


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