Now that the ospreys have set off for their exotic winter holidays I am left with a dilemma. What on earth can we use our Nature and Osprey Viewing Centre for. So much money and work was put into installing HD camera equipment to show wonderful live footage of our summer wildlife, including the ospreys and also the sometimes very gruesome herons.

Osprey cam must remain where it is as disturbance of the nest needs to be kept minimal at all times of the year. But the heron camera? Right now it shows a lovely view of an empty nest and on especially lucky days we do see some flies negotiating their way around it. But this is no good to show to the public!

Ideally we need a good puppeteer to come and reproduce the drama through the nesting season, someone that can sit tight up a tree for a whole afternoon and control 3 or 4 puppets at a time. If anyone would like to volunteer for this please let me know. Maybe we could drag Rod Hull and Keith Harris over to Kailzie and Orville and Emu could reinact the squabbling of the chicks in the nest. It seemed a full proof plan until I remembered that Rod Hull was no longer with us.

What on earth can we film during Autumn? River cam is still in action, catching the finest wildlife the Tweed offers us, including herons, the odd jackdaw, and a steady stream of canoeists. Will we ever catch a glimpse of the star prize…. an otter? Perhaps not, but we know that otter are around. Residents on the estate see them all the time and some even tell us they hear them at night. So its a case of remaining patient, ever the wildlife watchers job.

Meadow cam has been reinstated having spent the summer in camera hospital exchanging sob stories with badly wired nest box cameras and dreaming of the day the sheep will once again roam underneath it.  Well dream no more meadow cam! You are back and ready for action. Meadow cam is supposed to focus on a wet marshy corner of a field where a variety of birds come to feed in autumn and winter. When I turned on the monitor on Wednesday I was very excited to see a lonesome lapwing sifting through the vegetation, and I zoomed right in and watched it for a good 15 minutes. Hopefully we will have loads of lapwing soon!

A number of small cameras will be redundant over autumn and winter as they were positioned in small bird nesting boxes. A bit of repositioning should allow us to instead direct them onto bird feeders. Just this week I swivelled one to look at a basic nut feeder and it is great to watch the nuthatch and great spotter woodpeckers alternate feeding rights. Wood peckers are particularly nervous and flightly fellows and although they come to the bird table outside the main window they tend to whoosh off at any sign of movement. This camera will allow us to view them in a little more detail and without the poor birds becoming nervous wrecks.

And finally we have mouse cam. This is a first for the centre and has the potential to be fantastic or a massive failure! I am going to have to keep you posted on the progress of this as it is in its infancy stages. The nocturnal habits of mice and voles could also mean that this is not a particularly exciting day time camera but hopefully we can record the nightly goings-on within the mouse feeding box and show this footage. All I can promise is that it is going to be very very furry.

The centre will open on Sunday the 30th Sept and will  be open for all Sundays during October and November. Please pop down and visit us to learn more about the project and to enjoy watching the wildlife in the surrounding area from the comfort of our centre. Or if you fancy volunteering with us then don’t hesitate to contact me on kailzieofficer@gmail.com.

Hope to see you all at Kailzie soon!

Rachel (KLAWED Project Officer, Kailzie, Peebles)

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