A chance comment from Adrian about having some sort of Infra Red detector to fire a camera got me thinking. First I spent some time searching to see if such a thing was made. Probably there is but I couldn't find one so the Heath Robinson in me had another one of those rare flashes of inspiration. Would a passive IR sensor as used for burglar alarms be any use? I had an old one kicking about so set about working out how to couple it to the camera. To cut the story short I got the IR detector to work a small relay which operates a cheap wireless camera remote control, all operated from a 12V battery.
Now the camera could be one end of the pond and the detector the other end near the pond waterfall.
But - would the IR detector work in Sunlight? Well yes, as long as the Sun doesn't shine directly on the front of it. There are some spurious shots as it detects changes in temperature when the sunlight varies with shadows but it does seem to detect birds moving on the waterfall.
Sparrows, a Starling and a Blue Tit enjoying a bathe.
Blue Tit having a good soak.
Splash it all over
A Wren came for a drink
I'm pretty sure this is the Wren taking off as it was taken soon after the previous photo.
All in all I am quite pleased with the results. The set up was in place from about 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.. The camera was triggered about 300 times, many of which have no bird in sight but about 40 did, usually sparrows. Most of the bathing activity was between 3.30 and 5.30 p.m. so I now know when to watch out for visitors.
This is the detector, before I put the cover back on the IR unit.
Passive IR detector taking up most of the space. Below that the relay circuit board and on the left hand side the radio transmitter. The receiver can be seen on top of the 350D in the first photo.
The system is not perfect. I am sure it misses some activity as it is difficult for the detector to pick out changes in IR heat in sunlight but it does give an opportunity to see some of the activity at the pond waterfall and see which birds make use of it.
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