Trailcam update 8: Lockdown

COVID-19 lockdown has supposed to have been good for wildlife because we’ve been keeping out of its way. That’s only really been true for urban wildlife, for more people have been visiting (and discovering) the countryside, where social distancing is easier. I’ve never seen so many people enjoying the wood before, which goes to show its value to the community. I’ve had a number of people tell me personally in the wood or via the website just how much they’ve appreciated Oakley Wood during this period.

That’s good news for the sponsors of the wood; it’s also good news that the increased human activity doesn’t really seem to have affected the wildlife, at least not from what’s been seen on the trail camera. The camera at the pond has shown more human activity there – which we would like to discourage – but there’s little evidence to show any negative impact.

Earlier during lockdown tadpoles were abundant in both pools. Even the tadpoles in the “dog pond” seemed to be surviving their frequent disruptions. This was a view of tadpoles in the main pond.

Frequent nightly visits from our now resident owl(s) showed a huge amount of feeding on worms,  often many times on the same night. Chris Sperring of the Hawk and Owl Trust, who I contacted for information, said that this behaviour is quite normal. He also said that the mating shown on a previous video may just indicate pair bonding, so the jury’s still out as to whether we have a breeding pair in or around the wood.

Here is a video of the owl showing us just how delicious worms can be, and one of it upgrading to larger items.

You can see that the stick I put in front of the camera to encourage them to pose there and not perch on the camera itself works quite well – most of the time.

Other visitors have shown up on the trail camera. A buzzard that I’ve photographed in that area of the wood before…

…has taken to occasionally visiting the pond and showing itself off in front of the camera.

The usual suspects are still around – deer, fox and badger, as you will see in this video. I’m still waiting for that rarity, though…


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