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Shrewsbury, Shropshire, United Kingdom
FSC Preston Montford has been an outdoor classroom since 1957 and is a Field Studies Council centre. We deliver curriculum related outdoor education by the experts; from pre-school to Masters level; for infants, school students, undergraduates and enquiring adults with an interest in the natural world. Courses for schools and individuals. A venue for others to use; with bed space for 130, catering facilities and 7 fully equipped teaching and meeting spaces.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Getting a bird's eye view

One of the tutors at Preston Montford, Dave Morgan recently embarked on a project to take photos of our local birds using his camera as an improvised motion sensor. The camera was rigged on top of the bird table to take photos when a change in the environment is perceived. However the camera will be triggered by any change in the environment, whether it is a chaffinch parading on the table or a bush swaying in the breeze. 

The Pocket Pigeon 2000
 The camera was stationed on the table with a pile of bird food acting as the bait. Problems soon occurred as the birds were not falling for the fowl play; even the resident robin was behaving cautiously. The reflective camera case was our most likely explanation for this bashful behaviour. As a result Dave created a cardboard camouflage so the camera would be less conspicuous in its surroundings. 

The Peeping Wren 3000
The camera was left out for a couple of hours before we decided to bring it into the office to examine the results. After trawling through hundreds of pictures of passerby’s and bushes in slightly different positions, Dave finally got a picture of a rather star-struck Blue tit. After this success we were compelled to try again. Sadly on the second attempt the birds went back to being shy and our make shift camouflage was falling apart, so Dave went back to the drawing board to make it more effective. Soon after the new camera trap was being trialled, we caught a glimpse of a robin posing on the edge of the bird table and more Blue tits. The other week we even had a Woodpecker on the table, but as is always the way … the camera was not set up! 

The Focal Falcon 5000
We shall be continuing our efforts to catch as many pictures of birds as we can and post them on our twitter @prestonmontford, why not follow us for the latest news on what’s happening at the centre? We also have an interesting course on songbird identification which runs from the 26th to the 29th April 

Happy twitching!

Albat-ross Cornish