Puffin Cam gets a makeover

Wednesday 25th May 2011

Petrels to be next in the spotlight

The Channel Islands’ only ‘Puffin Cam’, situated in the northern isle of Alderney, will be re-launched this year thanks to the timely support of ‘Sure’ Cable and Wireless. This unique facility will show live footage of Alderney’s breeding population of puffins, with the webcam situated on Burhou, a tiny island just half a mile off the Alderney coast. The camera enables viewers to see the puffins in real time, but also allows them to download images and video from the site http://microsites2.segfl.org.uk/view_project.php?id=120.

Thanks to the increased power available to the camera from ‘Sure’s’ large mobile transmitter the Puffin Cam is running faster than ever. With large numbers of puffins nesting in front of the camera, Puffin Cam should once again be the perfect homepage for anyone with an interest in these lively birds.

The Trust also hopes to launch ‘PetrelCam’ to bring the only significant population of the beautiful and secretive storm petrel in the Channel Islands into focus.To start the season a temporary infra red sensitive camera has been installed to observe the petrel nesting sites which are largely found in pebble beaches or old stone walls around the island. The images will be uploaded onto the Puffin Cam website. Over the coming months the aim is to install a fully automated night sensitive camera. PetrelCam may then be deployed for other nocturnal purposes, including filming pufflings (fledgling puffins) emerging from the burrows and making their way to the sea for the first time. Support from both the Channel Islands’ largest telecoms provider and the States of Alderney has made this possible.

Puffin Cam has been a great Channel Islands’ project

Roland Gauvain, Manager of the Alderney Wildlife Trust said “Puffin Cam has been a great Channel Islands’ project with a good core following, yet in the past the limitations of previous technology has limited its usefulness. With the engagement of our new partner ‘Sure’, and the renewed support from the States of Alderney, this truly collaborative project can now become really user friendly. Camera speeds have dramatically increased and whilst we hope to have full live streaming from the island in 2012, the addition of PetrelCam to the project will be a world first.”

Eddie Saints, CEO for Sure said “It is wonderful to see our network used to bring images like these direct to people’s desktops. Sure are keen to support community initiatives like these which highlight the unique wildlife around us and encourage education and research. Many of our staff have already been monitoring ‘Puffin Cam’ and I myself was excited to see my first puffin! I am sure the interest will only increase as their young hatch next month.”

Joanna Parmentier, Marketing & Public Relations Manager for the States of Alderney said: “Having sponsored the Puffin Cam we were delighted to be able to extend our support to PetrelCam. Both cameras offer a fantastic opportunity for Visit Alderney, to be part of providing a valuable learning aid to schools across the British Isles and further afield, which in turn helps to create awareness of Alderney and its abundant wildlife.”

The Puffin Cam website contains extensive videos recorded in 2009 & 2010 with clips such as:

- Returning puffins landing in front of camera http://microsites2.segfl.org.uk/view_page.php?id=2645
- Oystercatchers defending the island http://microsites2.segfl.org.uk/view_page.php?id=2607
- A puffling emerging for the first time from its burrow for a quick look at the world http://microsites2.segfl.org.uk/view_page.php?id=2646

‘Sure’ will be running a competition with the chance to win some great prizes watchers who catch puffin and petrel firsts through the course of the summer. Puffin Cam live blogs will also be running through the summer with schools and individuals welcome to take part.

Story by Alderney Wildlife Trust
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Image credit: Damian Waters drumimages.co.uk