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2010 Sidney Nest Web Report on Cleaning and Replacements

2010 Sidney Nest Web Report on Cleaning and Replacements:
By David Hancock

Sept 8, 2010 Wed.
We took the 1st ferry to Vancouver Island. Myles Lamont and Karen Bills came with me and Ken Cillis took his truck and tools.
On the Ferry ride, we heard that the crane, which last evening was postponed from 9AM till 11AM was resurrected back to 9AM.
It arrived at 10AM but we had lots of ground work to catch up on. Blackberries overgrow everything each year and require some clean up - though this year Epicure has done most of the work for us -- thanks Marc and Sylvie.
Good ole Harry Johnson arrived to capture a few shots of our activities so these should be with this report.

Starting the Lift


New Nest:
Objective: To clean the existing cam and find a better location. Preferably higher and out of ‘poop reach’.
Also to try and install a second cam on an adjacent tree.
We took three options with us: an Axis 214 PTZ, an Axis 1346E hd cam and an Infra-red cam, each wired and ready to go.

Showing the Jib extension

The lift operator took our word that the extra 30 foot boom was essential and up the 130 feet we went in record time. With a lot of strong-arming probably necessary, I took Myles with me as I thought this was beyond Karen’s strength – and I knew it was beyond mine.

Myles has worked for me since grade school and is now graduating a biologist. He also oversees our bird collection and projects. I have to keep him tethered to the lift in case he wants to climb among the upper tree branches! He was born part lemur!

A) 1st CAM: Upon arrival at the tree top it was apparent that even many of the lesser branches existing last year had departed. The only branch remaining was the stub, about 13 inches left of last year's 4 foot branch to which the cam was fortunately still attached. No options existed for moving this cam to another ‘dead tree branch’ as all were below the nest height. The cam was cleaned and I placed a few strategic sticks in places within the nest that I hoped would encourage the chick(s) to direct their evacuations 'slightly' in another direction. Time will tell!

B) 2nd CAM: After reviewing which of the 3 cams would do best, even going back down on the lift to have Ken review the options of the new Axis 1346E, and how I could set the telephoto lens (to longer than wide angle since the tree is some distance from the other!) and I found out I “could not” refocus it from the tree top and he could not do so immediately from the ground, it was decided to place the infra-red cam on the adjacent tree. Myles and I got it placed and wired in, the new cabling dropped to the ground and tested by Ken. When we got the “all is perfect call” we came down.

Ken has yet to dig the line into the ground the 600 feet back to the common line to the original nest. At this moment we have this new infra-red cam on the old line so the old cam awaits to be connected to the new line when it is strung and dug in.

David and Karen check the harnesses - Ken Cillis nearby.

Old Nest;
Here the situation was now much clearer. First, none of the local monitors had seen any re-building activity at the original nest since it totally fell out of the nest tree during the summer. And now with two cams servicing the New Nest, with them now utilizing the full electronic input and full outbound to web bandwidth, it was apparent we should pull these old cams and get them cleaned and serviced for another location.

Both camera cases, and possibly the cams were torn apart when the nest fell and pulled the wiring and cams with it. They were not repairable in the field. We pulled both cams and the tangle of lines so the old oak tree is again left to do its thing.
It is always a great pleasure to see this classic endangered Garry Oak Grove, one of the very few remaining on Vancouver Island. It was good to see that Epicure was initiating a “Garry Oak Management Plan” for the grove.

Should the new eagle nest fall during the winter and the eagles decide to rebuild at this old site, as opposed to one of the alternative trees nearby, we of course will not be able to re-activate this site until September 2011.

Final Position:
We have two cams, one preferable for daylight and the other preferable for night viewing in place. Let's hope this tree survives another set of winter storms and we have cams in place for our 6th season.

The Photos are by Harry Milt
They all click to larger!

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