If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I now have a new ‘patch’! …. not strictly ‘mine’… but I am now working with the owners of a beautiful 7 acre site in Worcestershire. I am working with them to set up a comprehensive camera system, along with the great team at icatcher (www.icodes.co.uk) so we can monitor the wildlife that visits. A collection of Bushnell trail cams are also helping! You can find out more about this wonderful project on the website I built, by clicking on the link below:
Over the next few months, we will be setting up lots of cameras, in nest boxes, on feeding stations, bird baths, mammal boxes… in fact all over the place and we hope to bring you some exciting footage and possibly some live streams in the future!
Within the site is a large wildlife pond. It has a small ‘jetty’ which has a number of wooden posts. I spotted a kingfisher on one of these, so set the trail cam up a few weeks ago, to see it was a regular visitor. I was delighted with the initial clips which showed that a kingfisher was, indeed, hunting from the pond. We were not sure what it was eating as there are no fish in there, but we did think some visiting ducks may have brought some in as eggs possibly.
This is one of my initial clips….
I was thrilled with this as I have never captured a kingfisher on my Bushnell! After collecting those clips, I decided it would be pretty amazing to try to capture some clips using the 46cm close-up lens. I knew the kingfisher was about the right size to be full frame at this distance. I built a horizontal connector between the two end posts, so I could mount the Bushnell at exactly the right focal distance and ensure it was at the correct height. After some careful adjustment, I left it there and hoped for the best. I knew if it did come back and I had set it correctly, then we were going to get some really good footage.
Last week, I returned to the site and the first thing I did was go down and collect the trail cam. Looking quickly at the playback screen, I could see immediately that the kingfisher had visited! To say I was excited was an understatement! Rushing up to the PC, I put the SD card in and loaded up the clips….. WOW!!! I could not believe it! I had captured lots of clips of it visiting and the light and focus looked spot on. I had a quick look through, tweeting a few excited screen captures and texted the owners of YewView to let them know what I had captured. As expected, they were as excited as me!
It was only that evening, when I sat down to look at them properly that I realised how super the clips were. Using iSysoft Video converter, I was able to play the clips and then choose a frame to take a screen capture…. here are a few as a flavour and you can see them all on the Yew View Flickr account in Album HERE
It is truly wonderful to be able to see these stunning birds up close… and to realise that we have at least 2 individuals! The male has a black lower mandible of his beak and the female has orange on hers. Also, we were able to observe them eating dragonfly nymphs and water boatmen.
There are lots of videos that can be seen on our YewView YouTube Channel, but I am posting a couple on here, to give you a flavour! These have to be some of my most favourite Bushnell clips so far and they really show what these great cameras are capable of!
Obviously, this has whetted my appetite and I want to try to get some more clips! I set the Bushnell back in the same position, but with the post in the centre, as I lost the kingfisher’s beak sometimes if it sat facing to the right. I also wanted to try to get some footage of it perching… so I hunted around for a nice lichen-clad perch and screwed it into the opposite post. Setting a 2nd Bushnell up on the post using a tree bracket, I attempted to position it so it was exactly the right distance away and trained on the perch….. now this WOULD give a cracking clip….
So, this last week, there have been two Bushnell monitoring the area and I just can’t wait to get back on Wednesday to check them… fingers crossed!
It was not only a kingfisher who took advantage of the post though….. I was amazed to have captured a Sparrowhawk land there as well… the close-up lens meant we only saw his feet… but you can’t have it all!
Keep an eye out on my Twitter feed (@katemacrae) next week or on the YewView website, where my comments appear… I am dreaming of a beautiful clip of a kingfisher on that lichen perch! :o)