Letham Shank Farm - Crops, Machinery, Livestock and Weather

 

   Live Kestrel Nest Cam at Letham Shank Farm Videos from: 2015 : 2016 : 
 
Apologies for dismal image quality/refresh rate; my upstream is limited by 'Plusnet'.

Berwick Daylength & Twilight Indicator
 Daylength

History
This 'nestbox' was made from half of an old copper hot water cylinder and fixed up in the ridge of an open hayshed about 50 years ago. It is at a height of about seven metres and faces west, but is sheltered from direct sun and wind. Initially pigeons nested in and on it but after a few years, the intended inhabitants, Barn Owls, arrived. Many broods were raised over a long period of years until 2012, when Kestrels took over and raised a brood of five. Hoping they would return in 2014 an IP camera was fitted to view the nest and the four chicks. In 2015, the video stream was uploaded to the website and over 800 visitors watched the five chicks hatch and grow. The camera should have been closer to the nest perhaps, but I did not want the birds to be nervous of anything if they did arrive back. For 2016, the camera was moved closer to the nest and the sheeting behind the nest was painted black to reduce backlighting. The Barn Owls moved to another nestbox, in case anyone is concerned.  

Timeline
16th April: Egg number 5 laid during the night of the 15th/16th. Incubation is now consistent round the clock.
14th April: Fourth egg laid at about 19:57 (sunset is 20:15) Both birds are 'sitting' (incubating) but mainly the hen with the cock bringing food to her. She generally leaves him while she eats and has a fly around.
12th April: The third egg was laid at 06:00 (sunrise is 06:10).
9th April: At one minute before midnight the hen flew into the nest and laid her second egg. Although the moon is almost full it is surprising to see the Kestrels moving around at night.
7th April: At 17:00 the hen laid her first egg. She had been getting broody, spending more time in the nest forming a nest hollow. She should lay one every two days until the clutch is about 5. She will probably start to incubate the eggs after the 4th egg.
30th March: Mating has taken place regularly over the last 4 days and the hen is becoming increasingly broody, spending more time in the nest. She still roosts nearby but not yet in the nestbox. Obviously there is a very good food supply this year as voles are evident all over the farm.
20th March: Both parents have been around the nest since last year and roost on or nearby it. It has been a kind season and the birds have been catching voles, mice etc all winter. I have also been giving them tit-bits in the form of moles I trap and day old chicks I purchase, so they both look in excellent condition.   

Technical
The camera is a fairly inexpensive Zyxel POE IP Camera (Power Over Ethernet, Internet Protocol) which delivers HD quality video to a constantly running PC. It has an IR cut filter and night illumination which is probably too bright at this close range. External grade Cat5, solid copper (for POE) cable was used as the run is about 80 metres.'iSpy' software monitors this and three other cameras and records to the hard drive on motion detection. The POE router uploads the video to 'ipcamlive' where it is broadcast with no restriction on user numbers or bandwidth.  

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