With January rapidly marching onwards, I was keen to start getting my tit nest boxes up. I had a series of bespoke boxes I had made, all with Hik PTZ cams inside and internal lighting, that had been up in my garden in Lichfield. When I moved, I took all of these down and replaced them with standard nest boxes, so there would still be places for them to nest. I wanted to bring my camera boxes with me. They have been sitting in my workshop since I moved. Now I have more of a camera infrastructure here, I was keen to start getting them up. The birds will start checking out nesting spaces now and using them to roost at night, sometimes.
The first box to go up, was one I made last year. I built the box from scratch, to house my favourite little camera; a Hikvision mini PTZ cam. I lined it with bark for a more natural feel. Back in Lichfield, I had it mounted on a huge oak tree and great tits raised a family there in 2023.
I decided to mount this at the top of the quarry area, near the woodshed, where I have one of my network switches. I cleared the old great tit nest out and swept all the debris. I like to clean out all of my nest boxes at the end of the season, ensuring the box is clean, with no lurking mites or parasites.
I then mounted it about 6ft off of the ground, on a tree above the quarry area and wired it backed into the network switch in my woodshed. This switch is then connected to my PC in my office. Running iCatcher console, I am able to see the camera on my system and monitor, record and lift footage from here.
I returned to my PC, to set it up on my system and , as I did... hardly 5 minutes from finishing putting it up, there was already a blue tit looking in! Amazing isn't it?! There were no nest boxes on site here. I imagine there will be some competition for my offerings! I can move the camera around, to monitor the entrance first of all and then I can turn it to the base when they start nesting.
Over the next hour, I had two more visitors.... first a great tit...
Then the most exciting...... this nuthatch! There are loads of nuthatches here and I would absolutely LOVE to film a nuthatch nesting! I have a feeling I am going to have to put up more boxes than I had first thought as this will increase the chance of me filming nuthatches hopefully! This nuthatch came back 4 times to look in!
Just getting this first camera up and seeing this initial footage has fired me up to get the other boxes up as soon as possible and possibly try to get some more kit for a few more. A bespoke set up like this, with box, camera and lighting costs in the region of £250 though, so I am limited by what I can afford to spend.
On a very cold night (it's already -4 here) I am now thinking of warmer Spring days and what amazing footage I'll be able to share with from here at Gwyllt Hollow!
Here are a few screenshots I lifted of the bird taking their first looks at this new desirable residence!
Watch this space, as I will document the other boxes going up in the coming weeks.