23-Jan-2018 ~ Here's hoping..
Mon 12-Mar It's spring-ish. There's a blue tit showing an interest in the bird box. It hasn't gone inside yet but there's hope.
Tue 13-Mar In a rare burst of actual sunlight I discovered that the light detector in the box was sapping the power supply to the Pi. It's only a simple LDR and resistor setup and the resistor value is obviously too low for the supply to cope.
Fri 16-Mar I've replaced the light sensor by using the pi camera to measure the light. Once I know it gives similar results I'll disconnect the sensor.
Tue 20-Mar Semi-regular blue-tit visits but none have ventured inside. I've now got a visit graph on the Data Plots page using data from the IR detector at the box entrance which hopefully will show when the most activity is during nest building and feeding. That's if I get any birds in the nest!
Thu 22-Mar A different type of tit appeared at the box today. See the highlights page for a photo. It's possibly a Great Tit (also known as a Piers Morgan).
Mon 26-Mar We've finally had a bluetit in the nestbox. It didn't stay long but it's a start. What I thought was the light detector zapping the power supply turned out to be temperature changes affecting the analogue to digital converters which means that ALL the analogue monitoring is affected. I'm currently trying to assess the compensation needed to the readings to allow for the effects of temperature. Since the temperature gauge reading is subject to the same error mechanism I can't use it to work out the compensation. Luckily the CPU temperature reading is not affected and can be used instead. Watch this space.
Wed 28-Mar Regular visits from bluetits (or it might be just one). One even stayed inside long enough to be weighed. It was 11grams which is nicely within the 9-12grams range on t'internet. The steady(ish) 20grams reading on the data plot is due to the birdbox floor weight. The (ish) is due to temperature effects on the reading. I'm still trying to refine the temperature compensation factors. Mugshots of the bird or birds can be found on the highlights page. The difference in the quality of the two images is due to there being two cameras inside the box. The higher quality one is a raspberry pi camera, and the lesser quality is a simple CCTV camera. The CCTV camera has night vision capability so can give 24 hours coverage and the pi camera cannot see at night but has truer colours. The pi camera takes regular photos and therfore may not catch the bird in residence. The CCTV camera is triggered by motion and therefore will catch an image of the bird. The outside shots are again taken by a motion triggered CCTV camera.
Sun 1-Apr Bluetits continue to show interest in the box. Yesterday I saw one fly out as another tried to get in. Promising. Slightly worrying is that a bee went into the box today (see the Highlights page) which is what happened last year and scared the nest builder away.
Wed 4-Apr A lot of activity this morning and two birds in the nestbox. Let's hope they can get a mortgage.
Sat 7-Apr The sound sensor readings showed a lot of noise on the night of the 6th/7th. Either it was an insect taking up residence on the microphone and tapdancing the night away in hobnail boots, or there was something wrong on the power rails. I suspect the former (except for the hobnail boots) as it's now reverted to normal. Also close inspection of the plots show that the photo that's taken every 10 minutes affects the next sound reading. It may be affecting the five volt rail and thus the sound sensor diode pump. More work needed.
Tue 24-Apr Well the box remains resolutely empty. The sensor on the hole only seems to be measuring insects flying in or out. Either the box is in the wrong place, or the wrong orientation, or there's better nesting sites in the trees surrounding it. When the birds were visiting the box, there was very little cover near the box hole. If I can rotate the box by 90 degrees the hole will face more foliage earlier in the year and won't get the early morning sun shining in. I can only hope that a late breeding pair takes up residence.
Sat 08-Sep We have a spider. Each night it takes up residence by the hole and occasionally triggers the in-out detector making for an interest, if messy, data plot. I finally found it on a photo (see the hightlights page).
Wed 14-Nov I've fitted an infra-red lamp to light up the rear garden and an ip-camera showing a general view (video feed 2). The ip-camera is based on a Raspberry Pi fitted with an IR camera. If it proves succesful I'll upgrade some of the aging CCTV style cameras using the same idea.
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