After several weeks under water, the floods had finally receded when I was last on site, but with all the rain we had last week, the river rose incredibly fast again, plunging the site, once again, under the flood waters of the Severn. Having only just got our river cams back up and running, this was pretty upsetting, especially as the waters were so high again.
I was also very worried about two Bushnell trail cams I had set at the lower ends of the gardens as, when I left the site last, the river was back to normal heights. On arriving this week, I was dismayed to see the height of the water… would they have risen over the height of the 2 Bushnells I had set to capture footage of Reed Bunting on the millet feeders and Redpoll on a stump I had set up and filled with niger seed?
Heading down to the bridge to see if I could see the Reed Bunting cam; it did not look good… the flood levels had almost covered the bridge.
I could just see the Bushnell in a tree in the distance. It was about a foot above the water. With the flood levels set to rise, I decided to try to rescue it. Donning my rather unattractive waders and two sticks to act as a support, I attempted to make my way across to retrieve the cam!
I only made it about a metre beyond the bridge before the water levels threatened to rise above the waders, which were up to my armpits! The pressure of the water and the uneven ground forced me back; I would have to hope the water levels remained constant and spared my Bushnell and its footage.
I headed back to the other side of the garden. The water was a bit shallower here and, although at first I was sure I had lost this Bushnell, but I could just see it, literally cm above the water. Using the fruit trees that line the length of the garden to hold on to, to steady myself, I slowly made my way down the Bushnell. The water was soon up to my waist and its icy temperatures were soon apparent! The water levels reached the top of my waders, but by tip-toeing the last few metres, I managed to save the Bushnell and make my way back up the garden.
I was freezing, but relieved to have saved this camera and its footage. I think a dinghy will be our next Yew View purchase as I could then paddle round the site collecting my cameras and filling my feeders!
I captured hundreds of Bushnell clips of goldfinch and redpoll visiting the niger stump I had set up. I was pleased I had made the effort to rescue the cam! Hopefully I will set this up again once the flood waters have receded again.
I screen captured a few still from the video clips….
I also managed to lift some footage of the Redpoll before the river cam’s power supply once again, disappeared under the water!
I was pleased to see the harvest mice are still visiting… this one , a rather damp harvest mouse in a rainy day last week…
The Reed bunting had also discovered the feeder!
I was keen to set something up to capture them on a more natural set up that might allow me to photograph them as well. Using a post, a sawn off log and some reeds, I ceased a small platform and mounted a Bushnell with a 25cm lens in front. I placed this within the reeds to see if they will visit. Depending on the footage I get, I will refine this next week.
Late afternoon, I tend to head inside to check the week’s footage on the cameras. You will remember we built an artificial badger sett at the end of last year. We have had lots of spiders driving me crazy with their webs in front of the cameras and some mice and rats have visited, but no badgers as of yet. This week, however, a rabbit took a look and it gave me the first chance to see what the image looked like from inside the sett, with a decent sized animal there! If it was not for the spider web, then I would have been thrilled! The image is great on this camera and I hope that one day, we will be watching badgers in here.
Finally, it was great to spot a siskin one of our feeders this week… I am surprised we have not seen more of these…