Tawny action, fox visits, polecat dens & reed buntings

I have a couple of weeks of action to catch up with at Yew View! It has been pretty grey and cold on site, but Spring has sprung in terms of the snowdrops and winter aconite… all looking rather beautiful this week, even in the grey gloom!

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The blue tits have been checking out one of our nest boxes that we call the ‘Posh Box’ as it has mini LED lights and the image is great in there! Last year, a ringed blue tit looked in here, but didn’t nest…. I wonder if it is the same individual?!

The tawnies usually start showing interest in our box now as well… they are early breeders  and will lay in February. We have only had a couple of of visits inside the box in the last few weeks..

I trained the PTZ camera on the outside of the box and was interested to capture them actually mating outside!

It is not only the tawnies who might be interested in this box. Other species that love this sized box are the jackdaw, stock dove and squirrel! The stock doves have been in and out  for the last few weeks, along with the jackdaws, but this is the first time I have filmed the two species fighting!

Last year the jackdaw nested here but, as soon as the eggs hatched, the tawny came in and took all the new hatchlings! I have a feeling the same will happen this year!

The badger setts have been pretty quiet of late. They are not using our artificial sett much, but sleeping up in the main sett that is a way from ours. We have seen them coming and going to the feeing station and the foxes have been around quite a lot, sometimes making a daytime appearance.

I have not recorded any polecat footage in last few weeks, but this stoat did make a brief appearance…

My polecat den, rather than attracting polecat has proven to be a cosy den for a rat or two! One rather large male has chosen to sleep there on and off during the day. He is right up next to the camera, so looks huge!

There is always loads of rodent activity at Yew View! rats, voles, mice shrews are common. I film them regularly in the mammal box and there is a lot of competition for the food there. This wood mouse attempted to cover all the food and ‘hide’ it by covering it with leaves brought in from the outside. I have filmed this behaviour on a number of occasions. One mouse in my garden, gathered gravel and carried in over 30 pieces of gravel to cover the  food!

Another project I am working on is developing a mount for the Bushnell as a bird cam. It is still in very early stages and I did not quite get the angle right when I put it on video, but I wanted to get some footage of all the reed buntings visiting. We started putting out millet in the quietest part of the garden last year and it has proven very successful with reed buntings.

Here are a couple of ‘not quite there’ clips… you can see the potential though! These are filmed with the Bushnell Live View (119740) and the 25cm lens.

The clarity is fantastic and it is really good to be able to see these, rather flighty birds, up close! Many are just starting to get their distinctive black head and bib appearing. I will be continuing to work on this set up and will share it as soon as I get a set up that works really well.

Here are some of the stills I captured. As it has been so dull, the images were rather dark. The trail cam tends to underexpose on stills as well. I lifted these a little in photoshop.

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I am going to attempt to photograph these lovely birds with y DSLR camera trap as well…. we just need some decent light!