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