Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Automation, Chaffinch with Caterpillar

For over a year I have wanted to be able to let the cameras record through the night but only when there is something worth recording. My set of cameras record all night so it can take ages to check through to see if there has been any animal activity, even at the maximum speed of 18x.

At last I have got 'Round Tuit'. I obtained an ex-demo recorder and fitted a couple of spare 80GB drives from defunct computers. Eventually the aim is to connect the feeding area and the nest box cameras to the recorder which will automatically start recording only when something moves. At the moment only the feeding area camera is connected while I test the system out. Connecting the rest means a virtually new re-wire and the replacement of one nest box camera which has failed.

Not a lot happening last night. A couple of visits by Honey, a couple of visits from an unwelcome feline and the early bird catching not a worm but left over mealworms.

Some in colour when the white lights are on or the Sun is up. The rest in black and white. Another aim is to have hoggycam in colour all the time.

I spotted a male Chaffinch near the bottom of the garden. It had caught a caterpillar and seemed to spend a while looking round. Maybe he was looking to see if any hungry young ones were waiting for a meal. The light levels varied quite a lot as clouds dashed across the sky.


  1. John, you've a great talent with all these electronic bits and pieces. I wouldn't have a clue where to start.
    Can't wait to see the finished results. There must be so much going on at night that we miss. Great to be able to record it all.

  2. Hello John...lovely post as usual. Interesting project your going to be doing soon. Should be really interesting to see what happens in the night. I love the picture of Honey hiding in the fern. You can see it's little foot. They look soft. Have a wonderful day. :)

  3. Another project to get your teeth into John! ;)

    I loved both the videos, the Chaffinch was being very leisurely with his caterpillar and it was quite a shock (and rather funny) to see the unwelcome guest on the other video although you had warned us!

  4. Hi Keith. When I first put up a camera the idea was to find out if any foxes visited the garden at night. I never did find out as it is harder to cover a wide area clearly at night.. Now all the cameras have pretty close views so I won't know unless they happen to step in front of one.

  5. Hi Crista. Thank you. I'm patiently waiting for all the bits and pieces I need to turn up and hoping the weather doesn't take a turn for the worse.

    The Hedgehog's feet are quite soft and delicate in spite of all the concrete they walk on and the climbing about they do.

  6. Hi Jan. I have always had 'ants in my pants'. I can rarely sit still for long. I have to have something to exercise my brain. It's better than vegetating in front of the idiot lantern, especially with the long dark nights ahead.

    The Chaffinch still had the caterpillar in its beak when it flew away so I am sure it was looking for a youngster to feed.

    The moggy looked enormous compared to the poor little hedgehog. Yes it made me jump when I first saw it.

  7. Hello John -

    I'm just catching up with your posts after being away for a couple of weeks. So sad that Hope didn't make it. Although it may be little solace at this point, at least you know that you gave her the best chance possible.

    The cat in this video is HUGE compared to the hedgehogs! It really puts the hogs small size into perspective.

    Your videos are great. Thanks for sharing some of the technical details -- gives me hope that I might be able to set up something similar.


  8. Hekko Wilma. Hope you had a nice time while you were away. It was sad about Hope. It is difficult to work out the size of animals from photographs sometimes. I should think Honey is about seven inches long.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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