Webcams at mybitoftheplanet - 2007
***An update on Tuesday August 21*** - Following the
deaths of all four chicks on the night of 20-21 August the webcams have now
been discontinued. Hopefully there will be Martins nesting here next year.
The House Martin Nests
Our three artificial House Martin nests
were constucted using fibreglass as a skeleton which was then covered with a
mixture of sawdust, soil and cement. Originally put up about ten years
or so ago, they were not used until 2004, when we first saw House Martins
working on one of them in the middle of August. In 2005-6 they returned
producing two broods each summer, and staying with us until well into
Last year I arranged for a cctv camera to
look down into one nest from our loft, but although it gave us an
opportunity to see adult birds (and their parasites!) very closely, that
nest wasn't used for breeding, so this year I have carried out a major
reconstruction to include cameras in all three nests.
I have created a false panel above the
nests to include the cameras and their links, and which can be hinged down
for access (joists in the loft prevent access from above).
A black neoprene rubber sheet acts as a
seal around each lens to reduce access for the wandering parasites.
This image give a closer view of the camera
position of each nest.
Once final adjustments are complete I will
be using mud to coat the rubber sheeting and to seal around the rim of the
nest, as the Martins have done previously.
These are the images that the cameras
provide, and which will be seen on the webcam. The camera in nest 1 has
a 2.5mm lens and the other two are fitted with 2.9mm lenses. The external
colour camera has a 3.6mm lens.
The Starling Boxes
main focus of the present webcam is on following the nesting of Starlings in a pair of nestboxes
high on the North facing wall of my house (top-right in this picture).
Each of the nest chambers has a floor area
of 17x27cm, and there is a camera in each, attached to the central
partition, just over 20cm above floor level.
cameras are EM120 Black and white cameras (on the right in this picture),
chosen for their very low light level capability (0.4lux) and they have
2.9mm lenses mounted. The camera shown on the left is an EM220 colour
camera. The B/W cameras have built in microphones.
Similar B/W cameras are also being
installed being installed in the Swift boxes (bottom left in the first
picture) and the House Martin nests at the front of the house.
I decided not to include any artificial
lighting (visible or infrared) into any of these boxes so pictures will only
be available during UK daylight hours, although the sensitivity of the
cameras does extend viewing beyond sunrise and sunset.
The Swift Boxes
The Swift boxes are situated on the same,
north-facing wall of the house, but in the north-east corner, giving
prospective users a clear approach pathway. Over the previous two years
there have been Swifts nesting in the loft of our neighbour's house, just a
couple yards away across our shared driveway, so I am optimistic that at
some point the boxes will be discovered. The entrances comply to the BTO
recommendation and measure 130mm by 30mm.
Each nest has a floor space of about
The cameras are located above the slightly raised
nesting areas, and their approximate positions are indicated by the red
As with the Starling boxes, there is no
additional lighting for this year.
Go to the Webcam