Sunday 4 March 2018

Bat Camera: just a wild idea!

What if I triggered a camera from my bat detector?

I'm not looking for prize winning bat photos, just a possible aid to identification.

Would the system capture anything recognisable?

Now that I have a Browning trail camera, it would be easy to point it in the same general direction as the bat detector microphone, and just rely on its internal sensor to trigger image capture. The Browning is very sensitive to small critters, and can certainly detect a small mouse over 3m away. But that is not much of a range for a flying bat video-capture, and I'm not sure the trail-cam's reaction time would be quick enough anyway.

So plan B would be to use the iR Pi camera, triggered by the bat detector to make a short video recording.

ultrasonic ultrasound video bat recorder
ultrasonic-video capture system?

The video recording will last as long as the bat ultrasonic recording, and both recordings will be time-stamped, so pairing up the two will not be a problem.

Now I do realise that the recorder may be triggered from a bat that is outside the camera's field of view, so I should expect a lot of blank videos. However, the bat detector is normally located just outside the window of my first floor man-cave. Opposite the window, about 20m away, is a tall & wide tree. So I think I stand a chance of capturing a bat 'fly-pass' between house and tree.

iR infrared led light source

I have one of these iR LED arrays. It has always been way too bright for bird box and other short range applications, but I hope it will be strong enough for cover the 20m from house to tree. The array could just be switched on when recording, but as it will probably be powered via a 12V supply plugged into the mains, it may as well be left on all the time.


    Video of a bat attracted to an insect near security cameras. I definitely struggle to identify the species.