My YewView Kingfisher Challenge and a Tussock moth beauty

It was a beautiful Autumnal day at YewView and, with all the leaves changing and the sun lower in the sky, the colours were gorgeous…

Over the last few weeks, the kingfisher visits have been increasing again and, being keen to have another go with my Camtraptions kit, I set the kit up on the kingfisher post. With the camera and 100-400mm safety housed inside the waterproof casing , I set the sensor underneath the wired camera, trying to set it so it pointed straight at the post top. I tested numerous time and it seemed to trigger the camera correctly. When the beam from the sensor is broken a wire running from the sensor to my camera, trigger the camera. It is quite difficult to set the sensor on such a small spot, so it is a matter of trial and error.

All the images I have had of the kingfishers on this post, up until now, have been with either the Bushnell or the wired camera. These stills were lifted from the wired camera this week…. I am excited to try to capture an image like this with my DSLR as it will be a much better quality picture…. if I can get it right. Some people consider DSLR camera trapping to be ‘cheating’. I actually think it is a lot harder than me sitting there waiting for the kingfisher and pressing the shutter. The preparation for the shot, deciding on the settings and getting the camera in the correct position are all things I would do when taking a shot like this. The only difference with this set up is that the sensor presses the shutter for me. I find it all pretty exciting! I am sure I will be disappointed with my first attempts, as I have had to leave the camera for a week…I can’t wait to have a look at the card! I will be persevering over the next few months to get some shots I am pleased with and to try to get some more creative shots of this beautiful bird!

The kingfisher is not only hunting in the wildlife pond. At the other end of the site, we have a more ornamental pond, with Koi and goldfish. These fish breed regularly, meaning there is always small fry in the waters. I noticed a kingfisher attempting to perch on some small plants around the edge of this pond.

As the swallow left weeks ago, I took the small camera I had had on the swallow nest and decided to put it on a perch at this pond. May be the kingfisher would use it. The camera I wanted to use is not weather proof, so I took an old nest box and mounted it inside. I created a stand to mount the camera on and fixed a perch in front of the box. It may not reach quite far enough Β out into the pond… I am going to give it a go this week and then adjust it next week if I find there have been no perches!… it’s worth a try!

The otter cam is always the next camera I check. I was delighted to see our female otter and her two cubs reappear once this week….. may be this will be a good spot for my DSLR cam trap, when I get a bit more experience on simpler subjects!

This camera also had a piece of interesting footage….

This chaffinch was definitely alive at the beginning of the footage. Did the magpie catch it? Unlikely, I feel. Maybe the chaffinch was injured or ill in some way. Magpies will certainly take advantage of such a situation. It is always fascinating to capture unusual behaviour such as this!

Another unexpected appearance this week was this stunning caterpillar. After a bit of research, I discovered it is the caterpillar of the Pale tussock moth. The website www.ukmoths.org.uk is a useful place to research such finds. The moth, despite its stunning caterpillar, is rather plain in appearance.

I could help but spend rather too long photographing this stunning caterpillar! It has evolved these tufts of hair to deter predators and it is highly effective. Adult moths do not feed, but the caterpillars eat oak, birch, lime and hop leaves. These caterpillars were commonly known as ‘hop dogs’ by hop pickers who frequently found them among the crops.

Here are a selection of my photos…. a real treat to have found this beauty!