MY wildlife cameras give me a direct view into the daily lives of the barn owls that occupy Fotherdale, the valley that sweeps away from my art studio in Thixendale.

Footage from their nest box, located in a sycamore tree some 200 metres away from my home, is relayed directly onto screens next to my painting easel.

It is also live-streamed onto my YouTube channel where 1,000s of owl lovers from around the world also follow the story of these Yorkshire owls.

Right now, a very special love story is unfolding on the screens. Two owls are standing close together, the tips of their folded wings gently touching.

Their secret romance is important because it marks a very happy end to what has been a tumultuous year for these barn owls.

The female owl is well known to me. She is called Gylfie, a name given to her by the YouTube fans who watched her overcome a difficult breeding season.

Marred from the outset when only one of her chicks hatched from her first clutch of eggs, it grew more difficult when only two chicks survived the second brood

Then her long-term partner, nicknamed Barney, disappeared. For a while I worried for the future of this female barn owl here at Fotherdale.

But now here she is standing wing-to-wing with a new male, bringing hope that I can look forward to a new year of owls breeding here.

Interestingly, Gylfie wasted no time in searching for a new partner. Over the course of a few weeks she was courted by several eligible bachelors.

On the cameras, we were treated to some beautiful flying displays, wing stretches and touching moments when these new males attempted to touch beaks with her.

But none of these new owls seemed to impress Gylfie until one day the mystery male barn owl appeared on the scene. His approach was subtle. He decided to settle into a nest box first and then call for her.

But he also turned out to be a little shy and when she responded to his calls he was nervous and even hopped away from her when she tried to touch beaks.

This male was obviously keen, but very new to the barn owl dating scene.

Before long, however, the new male got the hang of it and I witnessed some tender interactions.

Soon he and Gylfie began checking out new nest sites, a sure sign that they were now looking ahead to next year’s breeding season.

But the best news of all was that it turned out Gylfie’s new mystery partner was one that I actually raised here at Fotherdale a year ago.

I work alongside Jean Thorpe of Ryedale Rehabilitation to release injured or orphaned owlets into the wild.

The project involves placing these young owl chicks with my resident owls in the hope that the wild owls will raise the foundlings as one of their own.

So far it has been very successful, but I don’t always get to find out how chicks I have raised have got on once they fledge. So after spotting that this male wore an identification ring on his left leg, I zoomed in on my video monitors until I was able to decipher the number.

Each ring ID is unique, and it didn’t me long to work out that this barn owl was a male owlet I had fostered here.

The records showed this was one of four chicks rescued from a barn in Scarborough and given to me by Ryedale Rehabilitation to release a year ago. He had been just a small ball of fluff when he arrived. Now here he was having survived last year’s winter and establishing himself here at Fotherdale as a new breeding owl.

Reintroducing rescued owls back into the wild is by no means an easy feat and is certainly an emotional rollercoaster since things don’t always work out as planned.

And so discovering the identity of this new male is the best Christmas present I could hope for this year.

You can watch Robert’s barn owls live on his YouTube channel or visit his gallery in Thxiendale.