Having got the bug last year, when we were lucky enough to get a nest on our first attempt, we now have 3 x boxes in the garden, all with upgraded colour cameras and LED lighting (I will post the setup in the technical forum in due course - all boxes use raspberry pi computers and cheap ebay cameras).
Boxes all went up around the end of Nov 2018, and each box has now received at least one visit so I suppose they are all on the radar of at least one local bluetit! Not a huge amount of interest compared to others' on this site, and we haven't actually had any visits at all (to any box) since the end of Dec. Never mind - we will just keep our fingers crossed and hope they come back at nesting time! The good news is that the new cameras and lights seem to be working well and have been running fine for over 2 months now (touch wood, famous last words etc!).
Here's a short video montage of a few of the visits. All boxes are set up for motion detection -> record a 30 second video, and we have had quite a few triggers from flies and wasps as well - so I don't think we have missed any bird visits!
I know that many of you are getting (multiple!) visits to your boxes on a daily basis, but not for us - we get very occasional visits, and hadn't had any visit at all to any of our three boxes since the end of Dec. So with that in mind, please excuse our excitement because we finally had another visit this morning to our house-mounted box. Here's the 30 second motion-triggered vid. Perhaps the cold has got them more interested? Really frosty here this morning (coldest this winter so far here W. Sussex I would say).
Brilliant Matt, Looks like it was having a good look around there! Love the colour and how clear your video is aswell. Led lightening is a god sent I think you'll deffo get a nest this year, Its more "what box will they pick"
Fingers crossed Paul! Interestingly the box with the least amount of visits (only one) is the box from last years nest (new box, same position). Last year that one didn't get a visit until nearly the end of Feb (box went up early Jan 2018). So it's early days. Two of the boxes point out over the fence to other gardens, so hopefully more than one territory is covered and we might even get more than one nest? I know that some great tits showed a bit of interest last year so you never know. Haven't seen any sign of them (box or garden) so far this year..
Benn I originally followed the RSPB plans for all of my boxes, and they suggest cutting grooves into the wood to help chicks get out. After last year's experience of actually having a nest, I now realise that this almost certainly isn't necessary. For one, the nest will come a fair way up towards the entrance and two, the fledglings have a pretty good jump on them anyway. Still, I added grooves to the new boxes since I guess it can't hurt. On this particular box, I put grooves above the entrance by mistake which is why it looks a bit weird!
Visits to two of the boxes already this morning, so activity is definitely increasing around here One difference this year is that my boxes are/were only triggering when a bird goes completely inside, since the camera angle is a little different to last year. I noticed last year that the majority of my visits before nesting were just a quick look through the hole, as if the bird was just checking that everything was still in order, but not actually going inside the box. So on that basis I may be getting more visits than I think. I managed to nobble the camera on one box yesterday so that it will now fire on an outside visit - and we got one of those nearly straight away this morning!
Post by blueeyedchick on Jan 24, 2019 11:13:40 GMT
Fantastic Matt all the best to you whether it's the same bird or not is so frustrating isn't it? Hopefully if weather improves you will see two in the box! My female has been in this morning with hubby and she is clearing out again -total madness!!!
OK, ID parade! I was fairly convinced that I had the same bird visiting two boxes (and still am), but this morning the bird that visited one of the boxes looked a little different to me. I couldn't really put my finger on it, but s/he seemed to have a more clearly defined (darker, slightly more solid) black band across the eye. Pic below shows two shot of the "new" bird at the top and two shots of what I am pretty sure is the same bird, in two different boxes, at the bottom. So I think one bird in both top pics (definitely the same bird, stills from same visit) and another bird in the bottom two. Any thoughts?
Funny you say this Matt, Last year when my female was building in the side box I brought up that the black across her eye was ALOT thicker than the male. That is how I was telling them apart on my visits before building started.
Also on the visit this morning, s/he popped in and out really fast, which seems much more like what they do when they are first inspecting and they are still a bit nervous. The other bird (if it is only one) now seems to spend a bit of time having a peck around and seems more comfortable in it. Don't know, perhaps I am reading too much into it!
So what do you think Paul, bottom different to top?
It looks like it could be Matt and sounds it! Blue tits are so hard to tell apart so when you find little things like this that make it easier for you it helps I'd keep a close eye on the comings and goings to be 100% sure but everything your saying and the eye bar being different suggests its two birds.
Yeah just a sense I got when I first saw the footage Paul, quite convinced that its a different one. A bit of competition won't hurt since they have a few boxes to choose from! Also this morning's bird seems to have a slightly darker beak with more prominent white "lips", if you know what I mean.