Otter Spraints, fox battles and last of the Summer Butterflies

We managed to squeeze another lovely warm September day in at Yew View and, with the Autumn Equinox upon us, I know that warm sunny days with butterflies are definitely on the way out! We have had nowhere near as many butterflies on site as we have the last few summers. A few early Brimstones, quite a few Whites, but very limited numbers of  Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks. In the last few weeks, a few late Red Admirals have made an appearance and I did manage to photograph one, lone Small Copper. The Red Admiral was a stunner and, I must admit, I took more photographs of its underwing, as I think that this is just such a gorgeous medley of colours.

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I have been keeping a close eye on our otters and recording every time they visit. At present, they are not using the holt, but 2 individuals are visiting every week. One is the large dog otter. He seems to come once or twice a week. He sniffs around, sprints and leaves. The other is a smaller individual. I presume it is a female. She is behaving in the same way. They are just leaving a scent mark in the form of a sprint to tell the other they are around. This camera will remain in situ until the river levels start to become unpredictable. I will then have to move the camera and return it in the Spring. I have built a floating platform for the Bushnell, so a trail cam will go there instead over the winter.

These two clips show a medley of videos showing visits over the last two weeks.

We have had one fox (nick-named “Kink’ because of a kink in his tail) who has been visiting regularly. Two more individuals turned up this week. One is known to us,  as one eye does not glow in the IR lights, suggesting she is blind in that eye. I recorded them checking out the badger set and then having a bit of a play fight outside….

I am hoping they may take up residence in one of the sett chambers… they have had a look inside!

We also filmed what I think may be a new badger on site. Our badgers are used to the cameras and ignore them. The behaviour of this individual suggests it may be new to the area. It is quite wary and does a lot of sniffing around the sett entrance and behaves as if it has not seen my camera before…

Our residents are much more relaxed. On warm nights, it must be more comfortable to snooze outside, rather than in a hot and stuffy sett!

They also like a spot of digging… their long claws and powerful front feet make short work of soil and I have seen them tear apart logs and tree stumps..

The Kingfishers are still regulars and I filmed this interesting head bobbing by one individual. I have not seen this before. I could not see evidence of another individual in the area , as I thought this may have been a display of some kind.

The next challenge at Yew View is to convert a large hollow tree stump into next year’s Tawny nesting site… I’ll save that story for another week!