Kingfisher watch, snuggling mice and tawny stump potential…

I was keen to get back this week to see how the Tawny Stump was looking. Even with testing at ground level with lights and the camera, only when it is in place and the wildlife starts interacting with the space, can you really get a feel for how it is all going to work. When I set it all up last week, the daytime image was looking good, although a large contrast between the outside and inside can mean the outside of the box can be ‘burnt out’ during bright days. As the light fades, the image improves as you can then see the branch outside. Bearing in mind that my main subject is nocturnal, the night time image was key. I have internal daylight and IR lights inside this box. Last week showed that the IR did not seem to be working. It was only when I returned this week did I realise that the camera was set on daytime only. This means it was not set to go into night mode. Once the setting were changed, I was relieved to see the night time mage looking good as the daylight faded and we moved onto darkness.

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My vision is to be able to capture images of the tawnies entering the box, possibly brining food to hungry chicks! If we have breeding success in this stump, I will also mount a camera on the outside.

We have not had any tawny visits yet, but the squirrels and stock doves are interested already…

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After a week of few visits on the wildlife pond, the kingfishers have been back. Looking carefully at the images, I think there are three individuals visiting. They are difficult to tell apart… the easiest way is through their beak length and coloration. The orange on the lower bill of these individuals tells me they are females. I have not seen a male here this week. One female spent most of two days here, sometimes perching for half an hour at a time! I MUST get the hide up and come and sit with my DSLR!

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After the last flood, I moved the expensive IP camera away from the river for the winter and have replaced it with a Bushnell, on a floating platform… just in case! This week, I captured the male visiting briefly to spraint, on 2 occasions.

The otter holt IP camera has been moved onto a very busy feeding station on site. These clips show a few of the visitors that regularly visit. I rarely get starlings in my patch so it is great to see these charismatic visitors.

These clips clearly show the difference between the male and female great spotted woodpeckers… the males have the red nape of the neck….

The feeding station is proving to be a success. The lights, however, cause the camera footage to have a strange colour cast if they come close to the camera. The only way to counteract this is to set the colour temperature of the camera, which I have tried for this coming week. We’ll see if that improves the footage. I have been looking more closely at the fox individuals visiting. There are several ways to identify individuals. The black markings on their front legs vary, as well as black markings on their noses. They also show variation in the white or black markings on the end of the tail. Using a combination of these features, I think we have at least 3 individuals this week.

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We are getting increasing visits to the Mammal box, but I have not seen behaviour like this before. These individuals are obviously pretty well acquainted!

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Now, fingers crossed for a tawny visit in the Stump over the next week 🙂