A new Harvest Mouse Cam for YewView

I could not wait to get to YewView this week to see how the harvest mouse feeding platform had fared this week with the Bushnell. I had set it up with the 46cm lens and hoped that the harvest mice would discover it pretty quickly… I was not disappointed!

The Bushnell showed that these gorgeous little mammals found my platform that afternoon and had been visiting ever since! I captured some nice little clips. They are so tiny, the 25cm lens would probably have been better, so these clips are slightly cropped in…

They also continued to visit the Mammal Feeding Box, taking advantage of the seed on offer…

Seeing that this was going to become a regular feeding satin, I was keen to capture better quality footage and this would mean a wired camera on the feeding station in the reeds, to replace the Bushnell. This would mean I could record the footage constantly and get a better idea of how often they were visiting and, possibly, how many there are here. I already had a little HD Vivotek camera that we had used on the Swallow nest in the summer. These cams are not designed for outdoor use, though, so I would need to create a housing for it to protect it from the weather. Searching around, we found a circular sandwich-type box in the kitchen, in which the camera fitted perfectly. With a little adaptation, tape and creative scissor-work, I created a housing…

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I then screwed this container onto the bar that I had put in for the trail cams, wired the cam in and focused it on the platform…

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It doesn’t look too amazing, but it will deliver the results hopefully!

With a little bit of focusing adjustments, I was hoping for some footage over the coming week. With the cam being wired into our camera system, it now means I can access the camera via my icatcher phone app. Through this, I am able to playback what the camera has filmed and I could see that the harvest mice have been visiting all day today! I can screen capture from my phone… the actual footage will be of much better quality, but I will have to wait until next week to see those!

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I may have to make some adjustments if these guys take over though…

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I had also set a Bushnell up with the 25cm lens on one of the Mammal Box entrances. Although the harvest mice were too quick for me, I did capture some nice clips of the wood mice and the voles popping in and out…

 

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I know the small mammals have been dominating my time somewhat this week, but there is other activity on site too! The foxes are appearing all over the garden and feeding at the feeding station regularly, but the high river levels seem to have driven the badgers off for the moment. I caught this clip of the fox investigating the original badger sett.. I wish he would check out our new one… just mice, rats and spiders in there!!

The area outside this sett seems very popular with the birds and we have captured rarities such as sparrowhawk and water rail here. This week we clocked up our 69th species for YewView; a brambling! It was a bit too close to the camera, so slightly out of focus at times, but recognisable…. always great to notch up a new species!

The tawnies have been visiting the perch outside the nest box and hunting from there on a regular basis. There are a lot of rats on site and I captured a glimpse of a near catch at the feeding station…. you may need to play it a couple of times to see the very large rat it nearly caught!!

With the river levels closer to normal, the rest of Yew View has reappeared. Somewhat soggy and silt covered,  it will soon recover. We just need to get the river cams up and running again… that is next week’s job!