Swallows, otters, badgers … Yew View Heaven!

I thought the wildlife was active in my patch, but Yew View view is simply heaving with activity! It is amazing what a 7 acre site can support and our plethora of cameras and trail cams are really giving us an insight into the incredible richness of wildlife… and that only the ‘big’ stuff! The insects and other invertebrates are also amazing, and I am hoping our wildlife blitz with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in August will help me identify lots of the species that we are getting.

We are still waiting for the first glimpse of this year’s badger cubs. We are getting good views of the badger activity at both entrances of the artificial sett and we can see the female is feeding. I think she had the cubs in late March, so we should get our first sightings of the cubs in May sometime. The feeding station I set up, with the HD Vivotek camera, is giving us fantastic views and we have captured some lovely clips of up to 4 badgers feeding and a fox, who has started visiting this week. There is no doubt who is boss and the fox is always pretty wary, ready to race away at any sign of annoyance from the badgers.

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Here are a selection of clips captured over the last week or so. Make sure you select to watch in HD as the night-time quality of this camera is brilliant! I am hoping to have one on my fox feeding station very soon!

We have also captured a couple of clips of the fox visiting one of the badger sett entrances. We have plans to build an artificial fox earth this year so the fact they are interested in this sett is a good sign!

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I am particularly excited about the swallow nests! It looks like both the nests with cameras on may be used. One, in particular, has seen quite a lot of activity this week, with straw being brought into the cup and a lot of feet paddling going on. Being the first time I have had a cam on a Swallow nest means I love watching to see what is going to happen next. We may be treated to two clutches from here. They certainly had two, may be three clutches last year!

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We are still monitoring the wren nest, although there has been less activity over the last few days. We hope that it is still going to be used… the swallows and a great tit took a look this week!

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We have been also monitoring the river for signs of the otters which we know are occasional visitors. With the river level now low, we managed to locate the artificial holt that was put in about 6 years ago. It is very close to the water level and will be underwater most of the winter if the river levels are high. From what we can see, the actual holt is at a higher level. From the smooth entrance, it looks like it has certainly been used before, but we have no idea how often. The only way to tell was to set a Bushnell camera here from now on, as long as the water levels are low enough for us! In this way, we can tell what is happening there. I was very excited to collect the card from this Bushnell this week and I could not wait to upload the videos and see what we had! I was delighted to have captured one clip of, what looks like, a dog otter checking it out. I would imagine this spot is on his regular ’rounds’ and he simply had a sniff around, but it gave us a good clip…

I had set another Bushnell further along the bank and captured him on this one too…

I also captured a mink paying a quick visit to the entrance.

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It was also good to capture a clip of a Grey Heron hunting along this edge of the river…

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We have been monitoring a bowl that we have filled with fish bits, with the river PTZ camera. We have had a lot of corvids visiting and a fox. After I left on Thursday night, the same dog otter visited, but I have not uploaded this clip yet. We are hoping to get lots more otter footage over the coming year as we try to attract them on site.

Finally, we have a blue tit sitting on 6 eggs.

Our Bee hotels that were put up some weeks ago now, are all being well used by the bees! Lots of main bees are working hard to fill the tubes. The observation Mason Mansion that dave Harper built now has lots of chambers being used and one is complete, with 13 chambers. It is fantastic to be able to see each tiny chamber, lined with mud and packed with pollen and nectar, with the egg laid on top. It is going to be fantastic to watch this little bee miracle happening! Here are some pictures that Dave took when he popped over to see how the box was progressing!

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For more images, take a look at our Flickr site as I uploaded some pictures taken of all the amazing blossom in flower, along with stills from some of the cameras.

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