A snowy Yew View with great new bird visitors…

I have not been at Yew View for a couple of weeks due to the heavy snow so I was keen to look through the camera footage over the last few weeks.  Extreme weather, like we have had, can often bring in interesting species.

My first views were on the badger cams. No action in our camera sett and very little elsewhere. We have a couple of individuals who are still visiting, sometimes going in the original sett and then once in the new sett they dug on the river bank. Due to the high river levels, I had moved otter cam onto this sett, so was able to capture a few clips of the badger in the snow…

There are a couple of individuals still visiting the feeding station but it was this stunning dog fox was the one that caught my eye!

The daytime bought some pheasants to clean up the remnants left by the night visitors..

and this crow who was attempting the world record for the most peanuts held in a beak!…

With the snow and freezing conditions, we have had fewer kingfisher visits… not easy to hunt when the pond is covered in thick ice! This morning, I broke a large area of the ice just under the favourite perch. I was delighted to see the Kingfisher return this afternoon and catch two fish!

The birds are always great in YewView in the winter as we often get species in that we don’t see for the rest of the year. Last year, I set up a niger feeding station in a quiet part of the garden, away from the jackdaws, starlings and larger more raucous species. Feeding on niger and millet means you only really attract the smaller species. We always get a good amount of goldfinch visiting and the weather conditions gave some lovely footage this week.

A species we welcomed last year has finally made an appearance… the Mealy redpoll… a lovely little finch. Only 2 seen, but I hope to see more in the coming months.

Then an added two bonus species on these feeders this week; brambling and tree sparrow!

The tree sparrow also appeared on the feeders higher up in the garden. This is the first time I have seen them here. This is a species that has suffered a devastating decline and I am keen to encourage them here at Yew View.

Another area I created last year, to attract different species, was a large feeding platform by the river in an open aspect. This has been stocked with lots of apples and I trained the PTZ camera on it. This camera can be controlled from the PC and can be moved around. It also has a powerful zoom capability. I was looking through this week’s footage when a movement caught my eye. There was a mistle thrush taking advantage of these soft apples. These thrushes are larger than the song thrush and a little greyer in appearance, Their wing feathers have a distinctive pale edge. As I was at the PC, I was able to move the camera and zoom in… excuse the rather crude cam movements… it is not easy to control the camera smoothly with a mouse!

Then came another species I was hoping for… the fieldfare! Along with redwings, we get these wintering thrushes visiting Yew View for the berries and other fruit. These thrushes are very nervous and I am still yet to get a decent picture of them on my camera. The joys of a PTZ cam means you can have a close up view without disturbing them!

They are such stunning thrushes and I am thrilled to have been able to have such wonderful views of one! Let’s hope more turn up over the next few weeks… there were certainly a lot around on site today; I could see flocks in the distance and hear their distinctive calls.

Finally, the other bird to give us brilliant views is our resident tawny. Over the last 2 weeks, this individual has chosen the kingfisher post as a favourite post. I love the way the camera picks up his eyes as distant, ghost-like spots as it glides to the post…

Good to get some preening action as well….

Despite appearing a lot on the post and being active in the garden, they have only visited our nest box a few times… there’s still time…

A great week of wildlife activity making the most of the many foods and habitats on offer here on this fabulous site.