Saturday 13 June 2015

Ground-level wildlife webcam camera hack

Over the last week or so I've been attempting to photograph my local badgers using conventional means (DSLR + telephoto lens) - the main problem being: 1) badgers are active at dusk / night, so light levels are low, 2) they are very timid so don't let you get close.

This is the closest I managed to get 'in person':
Badger - can you spot her?
Wanting to get better pictures, I cobbled together an improvised ground level webcam to see if I could get a more 'up-close and personal' perspective:

Cobbled together 'Garden-cam'
This is an unused robin nesting box, with a TP-link POE adapter and a Raspberry Pi model B with Microsoft Lifecam Studio webcam.  All sourced cheaply from ebay. Connected via oudoor cat5 ethernet cable to a PC running iCatcher Console.  The video stream is setup as described  in this post.
I part set this up one evening last week, and left wires and components scattered about having popped in to eat - I left it on in the hope that something would wander past, and got this footage of one of my local badgers:

You can see her being a bit wary of the attached gear, but not to the point that she wont come and investigate.  Later that night I stuffed all the components into the robin box to tidy things up.  Since then,  we have got nice views of the local wildlife as the following screen grabs show:

Passing fox: 4:30 am
Red deer fawn
Jay with mohican
In most of my bird boxes I've used the Microsoft LifeCam.  I only recently acquired a LifeCam Studio ebay bargain - its much better in low light levels due to a bigger sensor size.  It cant see in the dark, but is good for low light levels

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Spring 2015 nest boxes - early interest

We've seen daily interest in our side-view bird box, but this has been limited to a 'once daily' blue tit.
Today up'd the ante with a pair of Great Tits in addition to the usual mid morning Blue Tit.

Both these clips are from the same day (Feb 9th 2015).  You can see I may need to do a bit of a Spring clean too...

Blue tit

Pair of great tits

Of note is that its the first time I've seen any bird inspect the window at the top of the nest box.  As you can see, the window does not overlook the nest site directly, evident in the ramp up which the Great tit is attempting to climb.  Oddly, both birds attempt the same thing for the first time on the same day.  Front view of this box as shown (although its mounted on the side of the house).

'pre in-situ' picture last Spring.
See the following posts of more detail: Inception, activity counter,

Squirrel box update

Over the  Autumn and Winter, the squirrel box continues to be used as an occasional refuge from rain and windy weather.  They've been only intermittent visitors recently, but lots of activity approx 1 month ago.  Periodic addition of nesting material continues as show in this series:

...or with the squirrel:

Next job is to get this year's bird nesting box completed and up in time for Spring...