With the weather promising to be fine today, there were lots of wildlife cam jobs I wanted to try to get done in the garden. Jason from Wildlife Windows had sent me a small lighting unit (like I have in Mouse Hollow) to try in the Squirrel Studio. The Studio nest box is in my neighbour’s garden, quite high up a tree and quite a challenge to get to. In order to get the small lighting unit in the box, I had to drill a hole through the internal roof of the box to thread all of the cables through and also fix the light array inside on the roof… all pretty fiddly up a ladder on a 20 ft bank!
To check the image involved climbing down the ladder (obviously!) back up neighbour’s garden, climbing over a fence into field by my garden, over my fence, back up my garden and upstairs into my office… quite a trek. I do have a little viewing unit that I usually use, but it is not working at the moment, sadly. It took me about an hour to get the lighting unit fixed in, yet I was dismayed to find that the image was still black and white. After some fiddling, I cam to the conclusion that there was simply not enough ambient light in the box for this type of camera to produce a colour image, so I decided to try another camera, just in case that worked. Taking one out of a nest box no longer in use, I wired this one up inside the nest box and hurried back over all the fences and upstairs to see if it was working…. voila!!! I was delighted to see I now had a colour image. All I need now is for the squirrel to return!
I also collected the Bushnell HD Max which I had mounted with my close-up kit, opposite the entrance…
I was pretty pleased with the clips I had achieved… I will set this up again as I want to try to capture clips of them bringing in leaves….
Now for the second job. I want to improve the image I am getting on my fox camera, so had purchased a 140 LED IR flood.
I decided to mount this further down the field, facing back towards where I feed my foxes. I was hoping it would give a more even IR coverage, eliminating the ‘burn-out’ areas you tend to get with the IR that is integral on the camera. I mounted it high on a post and powered it using the cable from a nest box no longer in use. With the horse in the field showing an unhealthy interest in it, I cable tied a hanging basket frame over it to try to prevent him from damaging it. Returning to the camera, I taped over the IR LEDs that are integral within that so the camera just picked up the IR from the array. Now all I could do was wait for dark……
As the light faded, the camera was looking good, but as the light was replaced by darkness, a white burnt-out IR area appeared in front of the cam again. With my twitter friends attempting to help me, we think it may be some IR reflection from the tape as it definitely seems to be coming from the camera. I may have to open the cam up tomorrow and see if I can disconnect the IR from the PCB (printed circuit board). I may try another camera from a nest box first as the IR from that is so small it would not be noticeable. It is all a process of trial and error as I try to improve the images I get and as I do, I also learn more about these systems and how to get the best out of them.
Finally, when I went to get some food for hedgecam, I found a small nibbled hole in the lid…..
Opening the container, this little guy was inside! I don’t think he would have been able to escape… he wouldn’t have starved to death, but with no water he would not have survived more than a few days. I took a few photos and then let him free to join all the thousands of other bank voles in my garden!