Have you ever watched the cycle of life play out in front of your eyes? Have you ever marvelled at the genius structure created every day by millions of wild birds? Well now that wonder and curiosity to bear witness to the secrets of nature can be yours.
Earlier this year, 2020 Vision Systems were called upon by Cumbria Wildlife Trust to install cameras to capture the activity of the Ospreys at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve. With the experience and success of our Puffin Cam at Coquet Island and our work for the Friends of the Red Kites Association, we jumped, or more appropriately, flew, at this opportunity.
Although the Cumbria Wildlife Trust had already installed technology which allowed them to take regular photographs of the ospreys, they contacted us so they were able to gain access into the lives of the birds 24/7 via the installation of a CCTV system with 2 high definition cameras.
The chance to help Cumbria Wildlife Trust to not only gain insight, but to monitor the wellbeing of the Ospreys, a bird of prey which is afforded the highest degree of legal protection, due to long term population decline and rare breeding within the UK, was something that excited our team and immediately discussions began between 2020 Vision Systems’, Michael Lynch and Cumbria Wildlife Trust so we could arrange for the works to begin. In relation to the installation process and overall thoughts on the job, Michael Lynch said,
‘It was a very challenging project given the location and requirements. Design and specification of equipment was carefully chosen, understanding the clients’ requirements and delivering a successful system with hundreds of hits on the internet and successful return of the Ospreys has made this an exciting project so far.’
The installation process was not easy, due both to the laws of nature and time. The project needed to be completed before the Ospreys migrated back from West Africa, so braving the wind and the rain, Michael, our engineer Duncan Paylor and the staff at Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Radiata Tree Surgeons, trekked across the bog surface to the nest tree where work was soon under way. Along the way, many issues were faced throughout the installation, mostly due to the environment in which we were working. The process was split into four phases, each of which came with its own challenge.
Phase one began in February and challenges were faced immediately. Upon delivery of the cables, the team discovered that the armoured cable weighed more than a tonne; however they were faced with the unavoidable task of dragging it across the flooded terrain of the swampland, in which several people found themselves taking an unwanted dip. Although practicality was not on their side, it was the first step which needed to be taken in connecting the cameras at Foulshaw Moss to the outside world. With the electric power lines and phone cables running along the A590, some distance from the location of the nest tree, it became a rather tedious job but eventually, with effort from all of the team, the rolling of both the armoured cable and fibre optic reels began.
Once the cable had eventually been unwound, with efforts from all of the team, phase number two of the installation could finally begin. This involved digging a trench near the road and with a pickaxe as their only tool; the team had to dig through 4 inches of tarmac so they could connect the power cables to the external rated cabinet unit, which was to be fitted during the next installation phase.
Phase three included the installation of the recording equipment. Before the cameras were fitted at the nesting tree, away from the site, an external rated equipment cabinet was installed. This is where the staff at Cumbria Wildlife Trust are able to review the recorded footage, allowing them to browse through it and compile highlights for their online blog. The two Axis Communications Q series HD cameras were then installed by the Radiata tree surgeons, to avoid any damage occurring to the nest; however Duncan was on hand to oversee the process and make sure the cameras were fitted correctly.
The fourth and final phase was simply a case of playing the waiting game while the telecoms company commissioned the broadband connection so that the system could be completed.
Though it took time and a great deal of team effort, in time everything was connected and despite the challenges faced throughout, success prevailed and 2020 Vision Systems successfully assisted Cumbria Wildlife Trust in gaining their birds’ eye view.
For Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s installation blog post, you can read more at: The ospreys are the stars!
For 24 hour, live stream viewing of the Ospreys, please visit: Osprey bird live web cam | Cumbria Wildlife Trust
All image credit goes to Cumbria Wildlife Trust