Rushcliffe Country Park at Ruddington could be said to have been the first home of RUBOP; our first boxes were erected here and though the provision of 7 boxes would be considered now to be overkill; in 1997, the project founders didn’t have the knowledge they have today. Having said that, nearly all of the boxes have held Barn Owls which have bred in four of them and the boxes have also proved welcome homes to various Kestrels, Jackdaws and Stock Doves so most of what they did was of benefit to the avifauna of the park!!
It was always an ambition of the project to get a camera in one of the nest boxes with TV pictures piped through to the park Education Centre!
With this in mind, we managed to get a grant to purchase all the equipment required to further our ambition. Unfortunately, no one told the Barn Owls who set up home in a box 2 km from the Education Centre and with buildings of the adjacent Business Park blocking the direct line back to the Centre and they stayed here for the next 3 years!!
Eventually, the Barn Owls stopped using the box and disappeared off the park. We decided to take matters into our own hands and cut down an existing box that was now in the middle of the BMX track and moved the pole to a new site with good habitat that is within direct sight of the Education Centre. With the pole planted, I set about converting an old pole box to take the camera, transmitter pole, battery, switchgear and brackets to hold the solar panel that will charge the battery.
With the box ready, we waited for a good weather forecast; yesterday started off with lovely blue sky but by the time I picked Neil up it had started to rain but fortunately, it soon cleared up. Chris was waiting at the Park with 2 RUBOP founders, Clive James and David Brown and we were soon at the site erecting scaffolding around the pole.
Work progressed well with the steel box collar screwed to the pole and the box bolted to the collar. All holes had been pre-drilled so it was then just a matter of erecting the transmitter pole, bolting the hopefully Jackdaw proof zigzag entrance tunnel to the front, screwing the solar panel for battery charging to the roof and connecting the battery. That done, the scaffold was dismantled and we drove off in the hope that the TV signal would be received in the Education Centre!!
This morning; Clive and I were back to test the reception using my office TV, we connected the receiver aerial to the TV, switched on the mains and held the receiver as high as we could and switched the TV to video; after a couple of seconds, we were relieved to see a clear picture of the the interior of the nest box; mission accomplished; whoopee, all we need now is for a pair of Barn Owls to set up home within the box!!