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Saturday, November 03, 2007

BirdCam part 2

Having learned from my previous experiments with the Wingscapes BirdCam, I decided to try it out at the Ridgewood Reservoir.

Last Sunday I found, what I guessed was, a good location to shoot some images of unsuspecting birds going about their daily routine. The spot was in a fairly open habitat. I didn't think it would get enough light in some of the reservoir's more densely vegetated areas. Also, it was in a place where I had flushed a woodcock. I figured that I'd at least get images of a woodcock. The camera was attached to the base of the tree using two bungee cords that come with the unit. I tried to camouflage the gray, weather-proof box with some stalks of mugwort I pulled up.

All week I kept wondering what kind of birds would accidentally trip the shutter on the camera. Pheasant? Woodcock? A hawk would be excellent. Finally, this morning I hopped on the subway to go retrieve the camera. I climbed down into basin 3, where I had hidden the camera. At first, I was a little annoyed as I thought it had been stolen. After a brief search, I found it. I had done a better job hiding it than I thought. Unfortunately, it was tipped to one side. The tree I had attached it to didn't have a very thick trunk and the bungees were a little loose. Even so, I didn't think it could possibly get windy enough in the basin to knock it over. I had placed a few branches between the camera and tree so that it was tipping downward a little. The branches had been moved. Hmmm. I couldn't wait to get it home and upload the images to my computer.

The camera had snapped off 16 images over a period of five days. I was a little disappointed as there weren't any pheasants, woodcocks or hawks on the memory card, but I did figure out who messed with the camera. I plan to set the camera up tomorrow in basin 1, but for my third try at using the camera I'll make sure that I don't pick a tree that has a squirrel living in it.

by Rob Jett for "The City Birder"

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