‘Wh-otter’ surprise at Howsham Mill

We were recently asked by Bootham School to join in with their weekend of wildlife activities.

A small group of children were to be based at  Howsham Mill for a weekend of camping, small mammal trapping, animal ID and general wildlife exploring!

The week before, we set out some of our wildlife camera traps around Howsham Mill – a beautiful 18th century water mill which has recently been restored with the aid of National Lottery Funding.

The Mill is now being used as an environmental education center and also generates hydro-electricity.

We had two main aims for putting the cameras out; the first was to capture evidence of otter believed to be using the canal close to the mill and secondly to find out if any badgers were using the woods around the mill.

After a week, we went back and took the children with us to collect the cameras and see what wildlife had turned up while they had been tucked up in their tents.

The answer was quite a lot!

Howsham Mill turned out to be a real hot spot for an abundance of wildlife including some really exciting discoveries.

The first was a glimpse of an otter using the canal very close to the mill…

Howsham Mill and Bootham School Wildlife Camera Traps

An otter briefly pops its head up!

The second was a very rare sight; a badger out in daylight still searching for food.

Howsham Mill and Bootham School Wildlife Camera Traps

We rarely see badgers out in the daytime so this was quite a surprise

Another was a clip of a brown rat going for a swim in the canal!

Howsham Mill and Bootham School Wildlife Camera Traps

A large brown rat going for a midnight dip…

And a last favorite was this very thirsty badger!

Howsham Mill and Bootham School Wildlife Camera Traps

This badger seemed to have a favourite watering hole

In total we captured 18 different species around Howsham Mill; 9 mammals and 9 birds, including Canada geese and a grey wagtail!

This was a really perfect spot for wildlife and it was great to get the kids involved with camera trapping and showing them what they were sharing their space with.

Howsham Mill is up for a National Lottery Award and its very well deserved for providing such a great resource to learn about our amazing wildlife!

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