Squirrels, Badgers, Otters and preparing for Tawnies!

The first cameras I check each week at Yew View are the badger sett and the otter holt. Seeing if there has been any action there during the week is always exciting and I always watch, with bated breath, to see if we have had any visits.

Our female badger (and I am presuming it is the same individual each time) came back and had another sleep in the sett. Curling up almost immediately on entering, it did not take this female long to settle and sleep; this time for only about 15 minutes quite early in the evening.

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Quite often when I go to check cameras, I can see something has taken a close look and the blurred image on one of the sett cameras indicated that there had been a close encounter… usually with a muddy badger nose! Scrolling back through the footage, I lifted the footage of this rather curious youngster investigating the camera…

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There is quite a lot of badger activity on site at the moment and, with loads of berries and fruit around, these badgers are building up weight ready for winter.

Checking through the otter holt footage, we seem to have a female visiting 3 or so times a week to spraint and the male who visits just once or twice. These visits are very quick and usually during darkness. One clip, however, this week shows the dog otter sprainting at 7.20am!

One of my main aims this week was to crack on with the new Tawny Box. Last week, I cleaned all the old box and camera, but realised, after seeing this week’s footage, that I had not got the camera positioning or focus quite right. Often , you have to wait until your target species comes in before you can be sure you have got it correct. I was delighted to see our tiny once again checking out this box, but the camera was too low and the focus was not right. With me up the ladder, with a furry bat and a drill for focusing on, my friend, Dave was up in the office looking at the monitor. The focus on the Vivotek cam I am using is very fine and a fraction of a mm can send the cam out of focus! It is essential to get it right nd, after moving the camera slightly to get a better angle, Dave and I perfected it…

I had asked Dave to come over to help with another project; to turn a hollow stump we had on site, into the 2017 Tawny stump, hoping to tempt them to nest next year! I had lots of ideas, but my carpentry skills are nowhere sufficient to turn these ideas to reality! Dave has helped me on lots of projects and he soon had ideas on how we could create a false back to the stump, where the camera will be mounted. My idea is to have a camera at the back looking through to the entrance. This would allow views of a nesting bird, but also them visiting and arriving at the stump. I would then mount another cam on the tree, looking in. It is a very exciting project an a big thanks to dave for helping me.

The squirrels are starting to check out some of the boxes too. This individual has been sleeping in another box on site during the day and the night. This box has a nest box camera , but with additional lighting during the day in the box and additional IR at night. They are very fidgety sleepers and are constantly turning around, scratching, grooming, twisting, turning…..

There are plenty of small mammals around, but we have not seen the harvest mice for a while. I am going to have a look for nests in the reeds next week and re-establish the feeding station. This very young wood mouse caught my attention this week..

Finally, the wildlife pond’s inhabitants are regularly feeding our kingfishers. Their hunting success rate is pretty impressive.. as this female shows; two fish caught in rapid succession…

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A wren also appeared on the post this week…

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Another great wildlife week at Yew View 🙂