Talking Tawnies, Reed Buntings, Carnivorous Badgers & BBC Countryfile….

It has been another busy and exciting week at Yew View… where do I start?

As, in my garden, the tawnies are a key species at the moment. The Yew View tawny pair are still deciding whether our nest box is what they want. They are visiting every 2 or three nights, usually with the male coming in and calling the female. She then comes in and does some’ paddling’ with her feet, test shaping the substrate….

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This week we got footage of male and female in the box… the first time we have seen this. Usually, as the second individual comes in, the first one leaves. This footage shows a lot of ‘conversation’ between the two.

I still have fingers crossed that these two choose this box this year… if not, we have a back-up for next year! You may remember that I visited Dave Culley a few weeks ago. He has an amazing set-up for his tawnies, in a hollowed out log. I would love to create something similar, so we have been on the look out for something suitable. Searching around YewView, especially after the floods deposited some extra dead wood, this one is going to be my summer project!

IMG_5904 IMG_5906 IMG_5905Already hollow, with a lovely textured interior, it is going to create the ultimate tawny nesting space for 2017!

The badgers are still regularly visiting the new sett, and the peanuts are tempting them in and out, building up confidence and familiarity around this area, hopefully leading them to decide that this would be a good place to move into! They are certainly more confident when in the sett now..

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The other sett has at least three individuals there and they are pretty active…

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Checking the outside footage from this original sett, I captured a very interesting piece of footage….

I have watched this footage numerous times now and I have come to the conclusion that it is a bird of some sort that this badger is eating. Where it has come from and why it was down the sett, I have no idea.  Maybe they found it dead and one individual took it down the sett. This individual behaves as if it has just found it and spent a good five minutes devouring it.

The harvest mice are still visiting, although the birds are becoming a little too dominant on the table. I am going to make some adjustments next week to try to discourage them, nice as it is to see them close up!

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I have been experimenting with an more natural looking platform for the harvest mice, with a Bushnell set up. I have captured some clips of the Harvest mice, but the trouble with filming in reeds is that they tend to get in the way!

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I did manage one daylight clip, but the sun way directly in the lens and there is a bit of glare…

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The Reed Buntings rather liked it and I have some lovely clips of them visiting…

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The wood mouse also took advantage…

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I will continue on my quest to capture the harvest mice within their natural reed environment!

This week, we were pleased to see that siskins have been visiting regularly. They seem to have replaced the Redpoll which were also taking advantage of the niger feeding station. We even got a redwing sneaking in on the action!

This week, I set up a more permanent niger feeding station, with a dedicated camera, so we can keep a close eye on visitors.

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I finally got around to climbing up to a starling nest box where wasps had taken up residence… the nest was pretty impressive!

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Finally, some exciting news! Next week, Countryfile will be filming at YewView! This week, I welcomed Simon, Rupert and Charlotte from the show, who came to do a pre-visit before filming next week. Ellie Harrison will be joining me, helping out on some of the exciting projects on site! The piece should then go out at the end of the month.IMG_5910