Curlew at Melton Riverside

I love curlews – they may be common as muck round these parts but the beautiful plumage, strange down curved bill and haunting bubbling call make them special.

Curlew at Melton Riverside
Curlew at Melton Riverside

The little nature reserve at Melton has a free car park and you can get a view of the riverside mudflats near Wilford Bridge

Riverside
Riverside

 

the board gives some of the history
the board gives some of the history

It’s a pleasant walk along the river into Woodbridge, there is another small level crossing to get into the town. On the other side to Wilford Bridge going north there is a footpath toward Broweswell reedbeds and it’s worth a look at the birds on the riverside there too

Kingfisher in the reedbeds
Kingfisher in the reedbeds
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Raspberry Pi Camera and Motion out of the box – Sparrowcam

The idea is simple enough – a bird feeder camera on the network, using the Pi and associated camera. Using motion detection software I can pick out the birds. Of course I will also get the feeders swinging in the wind 😉

Although this is about running motion I can use videolan instead to stream the video as a netcam and use motion on a second machine. Videolan streaming

cvlc v4l2:///dev/video0 --v4l2-width 640 --v4l2-height 480 v4l2-chroma h264 --sout  '#standard{access=http,mux=ts,dst=0.0.0.0:8082}'

is nice on the Pi, because it seems the camera can do the h264 in some sort of hardware/accelerated mode in the V4l driver. I can then watch the birds with realtime update rates on my LAN. That’s for another day…

width 1296 looks okay
Spadgers

Up to about mid 2014 it used to be a load of hurt to run Motion and the Raspberry Pi camera because there were no videoforlinux drivers for the camera. That way you don’t get a /dev/video0 for the Pi Camera and needed workarounds for Motion.

Now there is a driver which you’ll already have on a Raspbian install, and it’s easy to use. right out of the box. Continue reading “Raspberry Pi Camera and Motion out of the box – Sparrowcam”

Lackford Lakes ringing with the sound of Teal calls

Tucked away off the A1101 it’s easy to overshoot the turnoff because the bend of the road means the sign isn’t visible till you are nearly on the turn – even knowing that it caught me out. The low winter light was a treat on the leafless trees, painting them this lovely golden colour.

lovely golden light on the reserve
lovely golden light on the reserve

A lot of the water was still ice-bound, with a few channels of open water. All over the sailing club lake there was a marvellous ringing sound of teal. Not worth recording however since it sounded like the RAF were warming up their afterburners at RAF Honington.

The island only seemed to hold about twenty teal but their calls rang out over the water sounding like many more. I had the reserve largely to myself, with only a couple of photographers with hardy camo gear in the morning.

Visitor centre - newly upgraded in January
Visitor centre – newly upgraded in January

Monday seems to be the quietest day – the visitor centre wasn’t open though Suffolk Wildlife Trust did leave access to the toilets which is a kindness 😉 The small birds were staking out territories in the hazel coppice which was alive with the sound of competing great tits, which seem early to me – they haven’t started seriously marking out territory nearer home.

hazel coppice at Lackford Lakes
hazel coppice at Lackford Lakes

Lackford Lakes SWT

Norfolk in January

Walsingham Snowdrops
Walsingham Snowdrops

January has been quite sunny and mild this year so I visited the snowdrop walks in Walsingham abbey gardens. It was turning colder for the first day of the snowdrop walks

Only a few other people braved the cold on the first day
Only a few other people braved the cold on the first day

but it was a decent show for the end of January!

Continue reading “Norfolk in January”