The last few weeks have been pretty exciting regarding Strix and Aluco, our Yew View tawny pair. On the Feb 20th, Aluco laid her first egg. This was followed by a second on the 23rd. This second egg had a dent in it and sadly broke when she went to move it. The shell seemed very thin. Luckily, by Feb 25th, a third egg was laid. This one seemed fine and she is now sitting, incubating 2 eggs. Incubation is around 29-31 days, so we should see our eggs hatch around the last week in March.
It is wonderful to have such a cracking camera in there this year, that is delivering possibly the best image I have achieved in a nest box. Sadly, this cam does not have audio, but a different cam, facing the entrance, does have an internal microphone. Sometimes, my son combines clips, and uses the audio from this cam, to synchronise it with the internal images for some of my clips
The great thing about this camera is that I can zoom, if I am on site. The camera makes a very tiny noise, but she is not overly concerned. The squirrels and stock doves on the outside of the box make more noise!
I have been hoping her face would be in the zoom range and this week, as she is incubating and sitting lower in the box, I was able to zoom in. He plumage is just stunning and I spent ages just looking at her on screen.. It sometimes takes a little while for me to get it in focus, as the camera focuses on the centre of the image. If she is off centre, I have to manually focus...
With the fibre broadband installed, I was excited to get the camera live streaming so I can share this wonderful journey with anyone who would like to log on and follow. I live stream through iCode Systems; the company that produces Icatcher console that I use to connect to all the cameras and record all the happenings. To live stream, they have to access the router and configure it to allow for a live stream. Once set up, I am ready to go! I just had to build the sections on my website to showcase and bring together all the information. I know that this will be a popular camera and I have already seen an increase in website traffic and lots of lovely comments.
You can find out more about the box and the cameras I am using, on my Tawny Owl website page
These next few weeks will be pretty much Aluco snoozing in the nest box, with the occasional preen, stretch and turn around. I try to find interesting clips to share. It must get pretty boring in there as she only leaves for about 5-10 minutes a night for a comfort beak and a drink. Sometimes, spiders provide some interest.....
Also she reached up to get something in the box, showing just how long her legs are... perfect for catching prey, as their legs are thrust forward on impact, to grasp onto prey in long grass.
A new camera angle for me, is the small Hikvision mini-dome, facing the entrance. I set this cam up to monitor the prey items coming into the box. It is this camera that has a microphone. Strix, the male, is coming two or three times a night, feeding the female. This week we had mice, voles, worms, a slug and a frog! Frogs featured quite regularly in previous years too. At this time of year, I would imagine they are relatively easy prey to catch, but not so easy to eat! If they prey item cannot be swallowed whole, the female will often take the prey out of the nest, to eat it. I have filmed this, in previous years, when large rats or birds are bought in.
Thank you to Cam, my son, who combined the clips from several camera angles, to create these clips. Wherever possible, we have used the audio from the mini-dome, to run through the rest of the clip.
I really hope you enjoy sharing this camera with me and that everything goes smoothly. In just a few weeks, we could be welcoming two new lives into the world... fingers crossed!