Our most recent photos with a trail camera at the NARREC feeding site (“vulture restaurant”) reinforce the importance of such technology in recording resightings of vultures tagged and ringed at considerable cost, time and energy. After all, what is the point of tagging/ringing birds if the resightings return on this investment is negligible?
Since we started using a trail camera at the feeding site more than a year ago, we’ve recorded several tagged Whitebacked vultures, one or two (unmarked) Cape Vultures, loads of (unmarked) Marabou Storks and (surprisingly unmarked) Lappet-faced Vultures.
Scanning thousands of digital photos for yellow tags is not exactly very exciting labour, but the chance of seeing a tagged bird spurs one on!
We’ve picked up a few problems along the way –
1. faded tags
[ how old are the tags, and what quality of dye and material is used? ]
2. loose tags twisted up, impossible to read
[ is this due to technique or material wear? ]
3. mediocre camera resolution
[ I’m certainly not going to leave a Hasselblad dangling from a tree:-) ]
However, the use of a motion-sensitive trail camera beats sitting around for two days in an observation hide!
The following images were recorded on 22 November 2012.
example of tags impossible to read – J078
a (very lucky!) closer view – J078
a poor resolution view, in bad light – J078
a closer view – almost OK – J078
a very fresh tag – L313 tagged in September 2012