Wednesday, 16 January 2008
Christmas Pudding - in January?
OK - so it may look like a Christmas pudding on a stick, but here's the latest step forward in the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project for 2008!
It's a dummy camera, all ready to be tried out. We're just waiting on the go-ahead from the Cathedral's architect before we try to see whether or not we could install a third camera high up on the upper ledge of the tower. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could see our adult birds mating, feeding or roosting on their look-out ledges? We think it just might be possible.
But we have to bear in mind issues such as avoiding damage to the historic stonework, or any visual harm that a camera could cause. So we hit upon the idea of inserting a small camera through one of the roof-top gutter openings. The hole is just 13cm square, and we think we've found a way of placing a camera so that it can be removed at any time (even during nesting). We would rest the camera on top of one of the lead gutters without obstructimg the flow of rainwater and, boy, have we had some of that this year! A pair of cords would allow us to extend and lock off a supporting plate once the camera had been inserted. This would make the long wooden batten sit up high on the sides of the lead gutter, looking sideways towards the gargoyles - or grotesques as they're more properly called. Once there, the camera and batten would have to be fixed down securely , but could easily be connected to cabling which we could run up the spiral stone staircase of the cathedral tower from our "control room" in the bell-ringing chamber. It could be strapped to existing power cables and would require no special routing. And the best part is that we think we could insert and replace it during the breeding season without the birds being disturbed in any way.
The camera would be a small dome model, just 12 x 10cm diameter, under a dark shiny cover, and placed less than 2m away from the nearest gargoyles, yet totally invisible to the naked eye and removable in an instant. We would use some of the donations we have received from supporters to purchase and install the equipment.
We'll let you know the moment a lump of polystyrene from the local recycling centre becomes a realistic web-camera option!