Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 37: Pole adjustments

No ospreys visited the platform this past week, although I saw one circling overhead today. The best camtrap capture was this juvenile night heron, who dropped by for a quick survey.

I think I set a record for how many starlings you can fit on an osprey platform. Eighteen by my count, not including the fifty just out of frame, squabbling over who gets to defecate on the camera next.

I mount and retrieve the camera trap using a 28' pole made from two pieces of PVC pipe with a hook jammed into the end. Someday I'll post a video of the process, which has been described to me as both mesmerizing and pathetic. The pole saves me from hauling an extension ladder back and forth from the marsh, but I pay for it with wracked nerves and burning forearms. It's always a wobbly affair that can take up to five minutes. As the camera whips around, it sometimes captures Dali-esque visions of the marsh.

To speed the mounting process, the pole would need some high-tech mods. So I replaced the zip tie spacers with bolts and wing nuts to keep the hook from swiveling. Then I clipped the "safety barb" off the end of the hook, to keep it from snagging the wire. And finally, I replaced my old wire with a shorter loop of heavier gauge. The upgrade works like a charm. 

It used to be easy to get dramatic before-and-after cleanup shots. But now, most of the heavy debris lies beneath the surface.

A few plasticy corridors remain, however.

I called it an early cleanup day and headed back to the shop where acres of reclaimed marsh plywood await the table saw. I still aim to recycle as much of the wood as I can. Next project: bat boxes. 

They'll be the wall or post-mounted type, like this. And they'll be free to anyone who's willing to pick them up, so leave a note if you want one.

High of 80, max humidity 87%, average wind (na) @ 8 MPH, 5.2 high tide @ 11:41 AM. Moon 84% visible.
Water level recorded at 10 inch mark.
Birds seen in marsh: common tern, unidentified peep, mockingbird, green heron, white egret, osprey, forster's tern
Birds seen in bay: common tern, laughing gull

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