Owls, Badgers and Nocturnal Filming for Channel 5

It has been a busy week! I have spent the last 4 nights filming with Adrian Cale, Rob and the team with Pioneer Productions for a Channel 5 series on nocturnal animals, due to be aired later in the year.

I regularly film the night time comings and goings of the nocturnal animals both here at home and at Yew View. With foxes visiting regularly here and tawnies and badgers at Yew View, we had plenty of scope!

The limited time to film (just 4 nights) meant it was always going to be a struggle. Despite our best efforts with my foxes, they were too spooked by the presence of the crew to make an appearance, so we decided to concentrate at Yew View. With lots of hard work and dedication from Adrian and Rob, and hrs of cold nights in hides whilst I was upstairs monitoring cameras from the warmth of the office, we had success!… you’ll have to wait and see what we captured! It was great to film alongside Philippa Forrester , who is co-presenting the series and I’m looking forward to seeing what is created in the edit!

3 days at Yew View also gave me the chance to look through more footage and catch up on the weekly soap operas!

I had not uploaded some lovely footage captured from our feeding station camera when we had the last lot of snow. The snow reflected the light, making these some of the best quality clips I have had from here!


I have been having an ongoing battle with the badgers who, despite being fed in other areas of the garden, will persist in trying to get inside my small mammal box! Last week I set a camera to see how they did it. The lid of the mammal box has 2 bungee cords round it and 3 heavy slabs….. they are very strong creatures!

I must admit, the clips of them eating inside are pretty cool though, so maybe I’ll forgive them!

The kingfishers have been a weekly joy for me at Yew View, but we have not seen any for over 6 weeks. I was starting to think we would not see them again, when this gorgeous female appeared this week! I am thrilled to have her back and she has visited for the last few days, hunting successfully.

The most exciting news is from out tawny pair. The female now has 3 eggs and she is diligently incubating, with the eggs due to hatch toward the end of the first week in April. With some of the bad weather we have been having recently, the male has taken to roosting in our Barn Owl Mansion during the day. He regularly looks out and I am planning on setting a trail camera on there next week as I would love some footage on him on my Bushnell.

I lifted some lovely clips of him both inside the mansion and out on the decking!

The female is spending 99% of her time hunkered down on those precious eggs, but she does leave the box for a couple of short periods every 24hrs. One evening, she appeared before it was dark….

She is entirely dependant on the male to bring her food and he is performing well! At present, he averages 2-3 prey items per 24 hr period, mainly wood mice, some voles and a couple of rats.

When he brings rats, they are often too big to swallow whole and the female takes these outside to eat. She did the same last year.

 

It is so wonderful to watch the interactions between them and the wonderful vocalisations….

The female is generally pretty relaxed, although she does always need to be on her guard. I’m not sure what this squirrel was thinking of, but it entered the box briefly this week. Tawnies are well known for their aggression at nest boxes. Thank goodness, it was all over in a flash and the squirrel has not returned.

With the weather deteriorating again at the moment, I am hoping we will capture more footage of the male roosting in the mansion … let’s hope it’s not so bad as to stop him hunting effectively to feed them both… no pressure!!!