Some months ago our oldest son, Stuart, gave us a digital trail camera so that we could assess its effectiveness in monitoring wildlife use of the Conron Stockcrete 'Mini' water trough we installed in the 5-ways Paddock at the top of the farm. We installed the trough during the last drought to support survival of native fauna. One of the main reasons for installing the camera is for monitoring birdlife. We have had discussions with Birding NSW about them possibly being able to remotely access the camera via the internet to enable their members to check in on what's happening with bird activity.
The camera is a Campark T80 which has features such as built in WiFi function enabling wireless connection to a smart phone, 20 megapixel images (with date, time and temperature timestamp) and video option, infrared function and a bunch of other neat stuff. This photo shows the overall layout of the camera and trough, with us having attached the camera to the star post closest to the trough.
At the time of installing the camera the water in the trough was pretty mucky as we've not been in the habit of regularly cleaning the trough. We did clean it prior to installing the camera around midday on Saturday 22nd May 2021.
Mid afternoon yesterday, Sunday 23rd May 2021 we connected one of our smart phones to the camera and copied all of the images that had been captured since the previous day. There were about 200 still images in all; reflecting the fact that our trough is being used by quite a bit of fauna.
Here's some of the photos that were taken in the afternoon of 22nd May:
- The camera really does do an excellent job of taking images that enable identification of what is using the trough
- That said, with especially small birds the images are not to a standard that would allow quality publication. On the other hand we might find that if we moved the camera closer to the trough they'd be fine.
- The 'high traffic' nature of the location is such that there's quite a bit involved in going through and managing the images. It would be good to 'outsource' this ... possibly to Birding NSW ... assuming we can get the internet connectivity set up correctly. For us at this point we plan on only having the camera turned on periodically; and may set it up at different locations.
- We were surprised that some of the more common birds we see here were not captured; such as Galah, Apostle Bird, Bronze-wing Pigeon and Blue Bonnet. This may be because the water quality in the trough has not been what it could have because we don't clean it regularly and the alternate water sources (dams ... 2 within about 1 km of the trough) are better options for them.
- We were also a bit surprised that we did not see species such as Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Wallaroo and foxes.
- Of course we don't know if there were species that used the trough but were not captured by the camera
- There were very few photos that showed no fauna in them. We assume that it these cases the camera detected movement but the critter was gone by the time the camera activated.
- We are very happy overall with the camera and what we've experienced already.