Yew View Raptors

The weeks are flying past at an alarming rate and I cannot believe that it is March today! Being so busy on lots of projects means that my blogs seem to be pushed to the quiet times early on a Sunday morning, when I can collate some of the footage from the week before and share it. I share most of my news via Twitter as that is something I can do quickly, easily and on site often, but I do like to look back at the week,and see if I can to catch up with all that has happened!

The biggest news this week is regarding the raptors at Yew View. We have been getting excellent footage from our Tawny nest box with the Vivotek camera. We also realised, from the other cameras, that the buzzards were also hunting from the perch outside this box and that they are pretty predictable. They turn up early, as the the sun rises and can spend up to an hour on the perch, dropping to the ground regularly to look for worms. It does seem bizarre that a big bird of prey like this eats worms, but I have watched it on a number of occasions!

A few weeks ago, I decided to try to set the Bushnell NatureView trail cam up on the perch to see if I could get some HD video of these individuals. It is a difficult setting and hard to position the camera just right. It also obviously relies on the Buzzard choosing exactly the ‘right’ position for me to capture the footage I had envisaged. It took a while to get the angle right, but last week I was thrilled with the clips I achieved. I also took some screen captures from the videos.


The video clips are worth watching on FULL HD… click on the cog in the bottom right and select 1080P HD to really see this bird in its full glory! We often see buzzards now, especially hunting on verges and sitting on posts along main roads. Being able to see a wild Buzzard so close is incredible!

This is the main individual who visits….

This is a smaller, darker individual. Maybe this is a male….

I love the calls in this clip…

In this clip, you can see the buzzard foraging on the ground on the far bank, before returning to the perch…

As you will have seen from previous posts, we are excited by the interest in our Tawny Box. A pair visit regularly and hunt every night from the tree. I am uploading all the nest box footage ( and some other outside footage) onto a YouTube playlist.  It is just about time for tawnies to lay and a few friends, who also have tawny boxes, now have their females laying and sitting on eggs.  In the next few weeks, we will know if our box is going to be successful.

Another exciting development this week was the installation of a Barn Owl box and a Kestrel box. Yew View backs onto the River Severn and just over the river are flood plains. Both Barn Owls and kestrels have been seen hunting here. We decided that two boxes, facing out towards these areas would offer a nesting opportunity for these raptors. Vince, at the Barn Owl Centre, who made us the other boxes, helped out again. There are no large trees at this end of the site to mount the boxes, so Vince built two platforms on which the boxes would sit on top. This is something he has done before, creating wonderful nesting opportunities on field margins where suitable trees are not around.

These platforms were sunk into the ground and staked and we finished just as the sun set….

The same was created for the smaller Kestrel Box…

Next week, I will be wiring in all the cameras that are attached to these boxes so we can watch out for any visitors. Vince also put in a post for a PTZ camera, so we can watch both of these boxes and the areas  down to the river bank. PTZ stands for ‘Pan, tilt, zoom’; a camera that we can control and move.  We want to be able to watch the banks and the boxes from this camera.

That leads nicely onto the next piece of news from the site! Whilst setting up these boxes, we discovered 3 huge piles of fresh otter sprint on the banks below these boxes! The fish scales are clearly evident. We know that otters live along this stretch of river, but have been unable to capture them on the trail cams yet. With the river heights fluctuating a lot at this time of year as well, I don’t like leaving cameras close to the river’s edge in case it floods. This is the first time we have found sprint like this and the individual had obviously visited on a number of night. We have set a Bushnell up on a tree nearby, hoping to capture our first clips!


With blue tits, great tits and even a woodpecker looking in the other camera nest boxes we have put up, I have a feeling this is going to be a very exciting season for everyone at Yew View!

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