Owlets & Otters!

I couldn’t wait to get to Yew View this week as it meant I could look at the footage of our owlets! Although I can access a low resolution feed on my home PC and I can access the camera via my icatcher app on my phone, I can’t really look at the footage properly unless I am actually on site.

I was not disappointed! When you set up boxes like this, with cameras and lighting, you have to try to imagine the image you wish to achieve if your target species nests there. Some of the images we achieved this week are images that I had only dreamt of capturing!

There are still improvements to be made all the time (of course!) but, on the whole, I am thrilled with the footage we are capturing and it is a complete joy to watch this little family.

Rats have been increasing on the menu…. young rats that provide a larger meal than the small birds, mice and voles that have been coming in. The male is not bringing in as much as I would have been expecting… often only 1 or 2 prey items per night. We are going to need more than that with these hungry mouths to feed!

The female spends most of her time sitting on top of the owlets, keeping them warm, but she does leave the box for short periods and this gives us the chance to have a look at the new babies..

Sometimes someone else also appears for a peek!

Vivotek Tawny 2017-04-07 06-50-01.376Vivotek Tawny 2017-04-07 06-50-01.009

It was a very quick look in and the squirrel sensibly decided to leave. It did scamper around on the top of the box for a while…

The rat meals being brought in supply the owlets with a decent mount of food and we had two brought in on the 7th April…

I was captivated by the footage I was able to lift this week, of the female feeding the owlets. Whilst they are this small, she carefully tears off tiny bits of flesh from the prey and feeds it to them. It will only be a few more weeks before they are swallowing this prey whole!

These are a selection of clips showing various feeds…. just incredible to watch!

There are some lovely, tender moments between female and her new young… and the vocalisations between them are so wonderful.

It must get pretty boring stuck in there and a fly can produce some welcome light entertainment!

I have lifted a range of images from the last week as well…. so many lovely moments.. difficult to choose which ones to share!

It was not only the tawnies that offered great footage this week. As the river levels have dropped, I put a Bushnell down at the otter holt site. I had planned on seeing if there was any activity before placing a wired camera down there, as we had last year.

Collecting the trail cam card, I started to look through the footage… and was not disappointed! For a start, a female appeared with a grown up cub… in daylight!

The cub comes and checks out the Bushnell…

…before they both head back out into the river…

Then there were a few night-time clips too…. one is of a male and possibly another female… it’s difficult to tell, but I will definitely be getting the wired camera back down there to monitor this site more closely again in the coming months!