Saturday, 4 October 2014

Welcome to the Chula Vista Barn Owls

WildEarth would like welcome the 'OwlCamGuy' and his Owl Channel to our growing group of passionate live wildlife broadcasters. 

The OwlChannel is the home of a family of wild barn owls. The owl box is located on the property of a home in Chula Vista, CA, USA and is known among its followers as The Hideout. It has two cameras inside it. Two other boxes on the property, The Lookout and The Outpost, house outside cameras. Together these four camera allow viewers to follow the coming and going both inside and outside of the HideOut in great detail.

The current pair of Barn Owls, Hans and Didi, tried for the their clutch in March of 2014 but were unfortunately unsuccessful. They are now back and have been seen mating, so we're crossing our fingers for more success in the next breeding season.

The cameras can be viewed on as well as the OwlChannel's own website. Checking out and liking the OwlChannel's FaceBook page is another good way to easily follow Hans and Didi's continuing adventures.



Friday, 4 April 2014

The Eastern Screech Owl nesting project

The purpose of this PixController project is to study the Eastern Screech Owl during the winter roosting and spring nesting periods. The winter roosting period is typically between October to March, and the nesting period from March to June. During the fall of 2011 PixController discovered an Eastern Screech owl roosting in one of the nest boxes they had put up. They quickly installed a webcam into the box to watch the owl. On advice from local screech owl expert: Dick Byers, they installed several more owl boxes in the same area and started a study to monitor their behavior. Although screech owls are fairly common little is known about their behavior since they are nocturnal.

During the first year of monitoring the owl boxes there was a red phase owl using the boxes which was named Hunter. In 2013 PixController expanded the study to include six owl boxes in a dry wetland area which was called: "study area 1". Study area 1 has owl boxes #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6. Three further owl boxes were installed in an over grown farmland field which is called: study area 2, owl boxes: #7, #8, and #9. In study area 1 there is also an external pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera which we can remotely control and view all five cameras for an outside view. Study area 1 and study area 2 are about 300 yards apart.

The owl boxes in study area 1 are currently being used by a mature gray phase eastern screen owl named "Allie" and a red phase eastern screech owl in study area 2 which was named "Dakota". At this point we do not know if these owls are male or female. The ultimate goal of this project is to have one of the owl boxes used for a nest in the spring 2014 mating season.

The screech owls will use the boxes during the day to roost and leave at night to go hunting. We will try and use the external PTZ camera to locate the owl at night hunting if in the range of the owl boxes. During the day we will position the PTZ camera on the box the owl is roosting in. When the owl roosts in the morning it will sit at the opening of the owl box for 1/2 to 1 hour before going in to roost for the day. Before the owl leaves the owl box at night it will sit at the opening for 1/2 to 1 hour before leaving. The PTZ camera will give you an outside view of the owl during these times.

Each owl box camera is set up to detect motion and capture photos when triggered. These photos can be viewed in the PixController Archives Section. We also record box activity such as which boxes are roosted in, box activity, and weather data in an Excel spreadsheet. We believe this is the first time a study such as this has been done for screech owls. For more information on the camera system click here: Camera Information.

This project is fully funded by PixController Inc. and by donations from our viewers for educational purposes. If you would like to know more about the project or become involved for educational purposes please Contact PixController. They would love to hear from you!

A major part of the success of this project belongs to Dick Byers of Stahlstown, PA. Dick's intimate knowledge of the screech owls has helped attract the birds and keep them in the study area.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

New underwater cam off Grand Cayman

WE are super privileged to have the Teens 4 Oceans (T4O) and View Into The Blue’s (VITB) underwater Grand Cayman cam on our platform. You can visit the cam directly here:

The Grand Cayman East End cam is deployed at the East End of Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean. It is situated just inside the fringe reef, 952 meters from the dock at Ocean Frontiers Dive Resort. The webcam is solar powered and the video stream is a wireless link from a floating platform. The instrument is a HD54-PTZ-cs2 self-cleaning camera with CleanSweep™. Tours of the reef are scheduled every ten minutes. and the video stream is used for a number of different educational and research purposes. Please visit Teens4Oceans for more information.

During T4O’s most recent trip to the East End in February 2014, students had the opportunity to witness and learn about the research of two scientists who joined us for our stay on the island. Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou of the University of St. Andrews shared his stories and videos of his deep wall survey for a future study of deep water coral reef ecosystems (specifically mesophotic coral ecosystems, or MCEs, as he described in this blog post). Students also had the opportunity to learn about the patented Biorock technology developed by Dr. Tom Goreau of the Global Coral Reef Allicance directly from Dr. Goreau himself. A prototype Biorock dome structure was placed near the Cayman Cam and can be viewed on the camera’s 360-degree tour of the reef. Read more about the plans for this project in this related blog post.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Chat with Annette Devinney about Pittsburgh Hays eagles

Pittsburgh Hays eagle fan, amateur photographer and long-term nest observer, Annette Devinney, agreed to answer questions from eagle watchers in the cam chat room.

So much information. You can read the entire transcript here … it's 26 pages long!

Here is some of what Annette had to say ...

Annette Devinney:

I am an eagle enthusiast and amateur photographer and have spent hundreds of hours observing the eagles in Hays.

The interest in Pittsburgh and the Hays eagles is overwhelming. Because it's in such a metro area and we haven't had eagles for decades. The eaglet born last year was the first in 200 years.

Don't know how many eggs last year because no webcam to record. But only one eaglet.

The nest

The nest is about 40 yards from the ground but it's on a hillside, so about 200 ft from the trail.

Viewing from the ground ... you are far enough away from the nest that there aren't many rules, just etiquette. No loud noise. However they live above a train track so they are used to noise.

I’m amazed that they rebuilt in the same area as last season with all the noise and commotion!

The eagles

Photos of the bald eagles on the Western Pennsylvania eagles Facebook Page. Some on Flickr as well ...

These eagles never left the area since last January when they arrived.

I saw a raccoon messing with the nest in October when no one was in it.

I believe the eagles are about 5-6 years old.

They can live up to 30 years but average is less unless in captivity.

Daddy is smaller than Mama and has a little white spot on his right hip.

They began building about 15th September 2013. So several months and they will add on each year.

I have seen red-tails, turkey vultures etc. No match for an adult but a baby can be a target. They watch pretty closely.

Then she does something called mantling. Wraps her wings around the fish and makes a lot of noise. Letting everyone know that it's her fish and back off!

Have heard that they will take a small kitten or puppy in a yard. So bring them in if you live in Hays. lol

Eggs Hatching

Hatches are expected to be Wednesday 26th March, Sunday 30th March, and Wednesday the 2nd of April.

Mama and Papa will be nearby when they hatch. She may help baby out.

I know the parents can hear tapping in the egg prior to it hatching because it becomes thinner.

Baby will stay until she learns to fly and hunt on her own. Usually 3 months or so.

No one including the game commission will intervene unless the baby is left alone by a parent dying etc. They are wild animals and should stay that way.

We think juvie has left but don't know for sure. We really don't even know if she survived.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Kwa Maritane to join WildEarth

WildEarth is happy to announce the addition of another great waterhole camera to our site. 

The waterhole in front of the Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge is an old friend of many long-term cam viewers as it has been broadcasting since as far back as 1999. So, when Graham headed out to install the new camera, it was not his first one as he had also installed the original one back in the day!

Kwa Maritane is located in the Pilanesberg National Park just a few hours drive from Johannesburg. It's name means 'place of the rock' after a large, rocky hill that overlooks this waterhole. The waterhole also features an underground hide which is accessible via a 200 meter tunnel so guests can get to and from there safely and without disturbing the wildlife.

The new camera is streaming video to both the Internet and the guests' rooms in the hotel and will be controlled by our trusty band of zoomies. As this camera is of a different type than others they operate, they will get a couple of days to practise their hand at it and we will make the camera public on Saturday afternoon.

Until then, check out Kwa Maritane's website and Facebook page.

We are looking forward to many great sightings at this beautiful location!