Saturday, February 6, 2016

According to Reevoo some Birds' Names are Rude

Today I received an email from Reevoo requesting a review of the bird seed I buy from CJ Wildlife. As I think the seed is excellent I was prepared to spend a few minutes extolling its virtues. That was until I listed some of the birds it attracted which included 'Blue Tit'. Immediately a red box with red lettering came up accusing me of using rude words and requesting any rude words be removed.

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 19.45.16

What a simplistic, stupid checking system they must have which seems unable to check in context. It gives me the impression the site was designed on the cheap by inexperienced programmers.

I could have found the situation funny and altered the list of birds but then why should I? A site like that has to cater for reviews over a very wide range of subjects and businesses. Apparently they just haven't thought things through or cannot be bothered to take the effort to make their site user friendly. It is definitely on my short list of sites I will never use again and have emailed them and CJ Wildlife to make both aware of my feelings. It will be interesting to see what, if any, follow up I receive.

Here is a photo of a rude bird (according to Reevoo):
Blue Tit

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday at the Flicks - Greenfinch


While I was faffing about with Arduino coding for my weather station I nearly forgot about a video. Anyway I just made it with this video capture of a Greenfinch which visited the bird table earlier in the week:

Much as I like to see them, especially since their numbers plummeted, I am always a bit worried in case they once again bring the finch disease. This one appeared to be good and healthy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Alford Windmill, Lincolnshire


Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Mystery - Guess What



Congratulations and the virtual Midmarsh Gold Star to Adrian and Ragged Robin who were both spot on with their guesses. A few years ago there was the branch of a potted bush sticking out over the end of the pond. One day I saw a Kingfisher perched there but it spotted me before I could photograph it. The bits of branch I put up are there in the hopes that one day a Kingfisher may return and give me another photo opportunity:


Back to a close view of an object for this week's mystery photo.
Guess What:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday
No prizes, just for fun and maybe a virtual Midmarsh Gold or Silver Star.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch - Results

Friday was more than a bit breezy all day. Sunday promises to be wet all day so today (Sunny but with a cold breeze) looked the ideal time to observe and count the birds visiting my garden for an hour. The results were prettty much what I would have expected except the number of Starlings and House Sparrows was low as they spent much time in the nearby bushes and only made occasional raids on the feeders. One nice surprise was the Long Tailed Tits. I had spotted them a couple of days ago and lo and behold a few decided to visit during the count.

Final count results:

4 House Sparrows
3 Long Tailed Tits
3 Blackbirds
3 Wood Pigeons
2 Dunnocks
2 Blue Tits
2 Starlings
1 Great tit
1 Robin
1 Chaffinch
1 Collared Dove

One real surprise occurred at breakfast time when I saw a female Blackbird obviously collecting nesting material.

Unfortunately the RSPB will have to do without my results as their web site is useless. Tried to log in with my details which have worked for years but they weren't recognised and I have no patience with companies which chop and change and mess things up.

Writing of companies which mess things up. Read that Lincolnshire County Council computers were hit with ransomware during the week. A cool £1,000,000 asked for the compromised data to be unscrambled. All because someone appears to have been careless about taking care before clicking on an attachment in an email. Fortunately the attacking virus was noticed and the systems shut down before too much damage was done. They are not paying, hoping to clean the system and then restore from recent backups. It's taking a while as most of their services have been offline for several days.

Sunday: It is now stated that the demand made to LCC was only $500 not the £1M first reported. They hope to have most of their systems up and running again tomorrow, Monday.

Friday, January 29, 2016

New Arduino Project

Today there should have been a nice video of a Blackbird enjoying some apple pieces I had put out but on reviewing the footage today I found the camera had focussed on the background instead of the bird.

Long time readers may remember I built a rain gauge around an Arduino Mega with a digital read out. That has proved to be very reliable so I have decoded to expand on its capabilities. This time instead of using a four line LED display which can only be read from a close distance I intend to rebuild the unit using an Arduino Uno this time and the display will be 10mm tall individual seven segment displays. That has meant learning some new coding to access the display. I bought an eight digit seven segment display which has a MAX7219 chip on board which needs only five wires to access it.

Not only will the display show rainfall but also temperature and humidity. The idea being to use four of the LEDs to show temperature and the other four to show the humidity. Also I have ordered a further two digit seven segment display to show the rainfall.

So far I have got as far as uploading a test routine to make sure I can access all the digits and the decimal points. The latter took me longer to understand the instructions I found on the internet. This is a short video of the test display:

For those who may be interested this is the sketch (program) which is uploaded to the Arduino.
It is my modification of one I found on the internet::

//We always have to include the library
#include "LedControl.h"

 Now we need a LedControl to work with.
 ***** These pin numbers are used on my Uno R3 *****
 pin 12 is connected to the DataIn
 pin 11 is connected to the CLK
 pin 10 is connected to LOAD
 We have only a single MAX72XX.
LedControl lc=LedControl(12,11,10,1);

/* wait a bit between updates of the display */
unsigned long delaytime=350;

void setup() {
   The MAX72XX is in power-saving mode on startup,
   we have to do a wakeup call
  /* Set the brightness to a low value */
  /* and clear the display */

 This will display the characters for the
 word "Arduino" one after the other.
void writeArduinoOn7Segment() {
 // lc.clearDisplay(0);

  This will scroll all the decimal numbers
  and flash the decimal point on LED 0.
void scrollDigits() {
for(int i=0;i<10 br="" i="">    lc.setDigit(0,0,i,false);

void loop() {

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

St. Peter's Church, Humberston, Lincs

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