Introducing the Gardenwatch assistants for 2014

No time to get bored here – after 7yrs of gardenwatching a new chapter is beginning! The new wildlife pond awaits plants and its first visitors but unfortunately it is out of the sight line of my main gardenwatching window. A solution came in the shape of an exciting 2013 Christmas present from OH 😀

Let me introduce you to Mr Bushnell HD! Phew… no holes needed to be bored through house walls to accommodate this latest camera that will give a new insight into all corners of the garden. I’m going to have fun with this trail camera.

Now we will see who travels under the hedge – apart from hedgehogs of course. Who creeps about the rotting log in my Gunnera border and will anyone visit the small wildlife hotel tucked in the pond border wall?

My new assistant will have all the answers to these and many other garden questions. He will gardenwatch when I am sleeping, indoors doing the ironing, away visiting other gardens or working in my own with my back turned! To keep him going, I have fed him with 12x AA batteries and in return he captures video and photos to an SD card with I remove to read on my PC.

At present my camera has been set to record video for up to a minute when triggered. I haven’t tried photos yet and I have just discovered that I’ll need some tech help from OH to make my videos talk to my video editing software. As a result the images below aren’t true screen grabs but they illustrate discoveries so far…

Neighbour’s cats sit on my arbour seat watching the garden at night too!

Neighbour’s cats are drinking from my wildlife pond.
Reflections of eyes in the water will help me spot frogs and toads:-)

Neighbour’s cats pass through the garden at dawn and dusk. The IR images get bright before changes to/from colour but hedgehogs will still be spotted 🙂

Fruit scattered by pond to attract passing Fieldfares failed.
Blackbirds enjoyed the fruit and were seen drinking and bathing in pond 🙂

The Christmas left-over fruit experiment was interesting – no interest in mango. Blackbirds ran away with fruit so some pegs were required! Pears were more popular than the usual apple offerings. Grapes went down well and surprisingly so did melon. Nice to see partial albino Blackbirds back – often see them in winter.

The Bullfinch experiment failed – perhaps success with snow another time. Saw Bullfinches feeding on heather seeds on BBC Winterwatch so bought plants with seeds on stems to see if they’d come – not seen on my or Mr Bushnell’s watch 😉

The Bullfinch experiment highlighted lots of activity on the branches of the Rhododendron. Hard to see, but a male Blackcap is in the centre above.
A closer location for Mr Bushnell might reveal more 🙂

The wildlife pond reveal begins, the fence is in place to prevent hedgehogs from wandering in. Woodpigeons wander all around the garden and drink at pond.

Neighbour’s cat illustrates the hedgehog walk by. The bottom fence cane gap is 5cm and should be a good safety barrier as will marginal plants in pots.

Neighbour’s cats will become assistants to Mr Bushnell. Their ears will catch movement noise and Mr Bushnell can be moved to see what’s going on.

Neighbour’s cats might hear frog or toad activity in the pond
when Mr Bushnell can’t see it. I hope the cats don’t ‘play’ in the pond when
Mr Bushnell is on gardenwatch duty in another part of the garden!

What fun gardenwatching is going to be in 2014 – nope, definitely no boredom expected! First, I need to get more familiar with the settings in my trail camera (Bushnell model no.119477). I’d like to remove the text along the bottom and try the photo settings to see the quality there. I’m especially looking forward to seeing what routes hedgehogs use in my garden – I have my suspicions but time and Mr Bushnell will tell if I’m right 🙂

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in February 2014.

11 thoughts on “Introducing the Gardenwatch assistants for 2014

  1. We have one of these. Just don;t forget to look regularly or you will end up with thousands of images to browse like I did one time. Must start to set it up again and maybe turn down the sensitivity. Does your trigger as the sun rises?

  2. Exciting to have a Gardenwatch assistant in your garden, never heard of it before. It sounds interesting to know what's happening in the garden at night.
    Wish you lots of fun with your assistant!

  3. This is exciting Shirley. I have always wanted one of those in my garden. I have see many things in the garden. I am sure there is more activity at night than one expects. I too have neighbor cats. 🙁 They play havoc with wildlife. I wish people would keep them indoors.

  4. Small world Shirl. just before reading this I was looking at the specs for the HD Max! Great to see your results.

    It looks as though the video is in avi format which I thought would have been recognised by most video processing programs. If not there are several utilities which would quickly convert avi to mp4 or whatever your software prefers. Daniusoft and Wondershare make good utilities but they are around $60 each. I think they both have free trial versions. I use Daniusoft Video Converter Ultimate.

  5. Oh Mr Bushnell HD looks as if he is going to be a marvellous assistant Shirl but why is he not programmed to do the ironing? Looking forward to seeing what goes on in your garden when you're not looking.

  6. What a marvellous gardenwatch assistant Shirley. I can see just how it's going to benefit your blog. What a thoughtful OH 🙂
    Your pond looks very interesting and it will be good to see just who else visits.
    I came across a flock(not quite) of bullfinches round the corner from my house – just near where the long tail tits hang out. If only they'd come to visit me.

  7. Hello everyone, thanks for all your comments. I can’t believe since posting this I’ve had issues with the night IR captures 🙂

    Sue, great to hear you have one of these too. I really must tweak light sensitivity in mine. Briefly lost IR images and have had flickering recently – not sure what’s going on here. Not aware sun rising triggers mine.

    Janneke, it is exciting – all the more so if it picks up frogs as well as hedgehogs at night. Thanks, it will be fun once I sort out some capture probs at the moment

    Lisa, it is. I’ve enjoyed watching the night activity live but love this way of capturing images when I’m asleep – exciting in the morning when you bring the SD card in to see what could be on it! Well, the cats are a pest but I am trying to see them as assistants now in helping me spot movement in the garden 

    John, small world indeed! My memory told me you had previously experimented with a trail cam? I seem to have had a prob with the IR in the last few days – we must look in to that. Yes, the video is avi and I’ve checked it again and other clips have uploaded. I think I need to get back to the manual and re think my settings.

    Anna, he will be I’m sure. It’s raining tonight so I don’t expect any hedgehogs tonight so the cam isn’t out. Ha-ha… yes an ironing setting would be ‘cool’ 😉 So am I Anna 😀

    L, it is exciting – and I did wonder about the moths. I guess what I should do is leave it for a week in one location be it to see hedgehogs, moths, frogs, bats or whatever. I could even set it up for time lapse on a flower opening which could be fun especially if it attracted a moths or butterflies 🙂

    Suzie, absolutely, there are lots of tech bits available to the gardener now 🙂

    Angie, it is! Yes, it will benefit my blog but most of all it will benefit garden visitors as I will respond to what I see visiting with plants, shelters and foods. My pond has really worked out as I wanted it to – can’t wait to get the oxygenators in for any passing frog considering laying eggs. Aw… shame the bullfinches and long-tailed tits came close but didn’t visit your garden – when you were watching that is 😉

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