For most of my wildlife monitoring when scouting sites to photograph wildlife I have always opted for trail cameras as my ‘eyes in the wild’. But as new technology starts to take over the scene I will write about a new technology that may one day replace trail cameras for long term wildlife monitoring. The camera system in question is the Reolink Go camera system from Reolink camera systems. Specialising in CCTV and the surveillance work these cameras could change the way we watch wildlife.
There are many incredible factors that make this a brilliant camera system to monitor wildlife. When I first opened the package I was struck by how small the camera was, a little smaller than a trail camera. The egg-like shape also means that as well as mounting the camera on the ready made mount you could potentially place the camera anywhere that it can fit. The camera also has a rubber camouflage sleeve that fits snuggly over the camera to provide protection from the elements and also to help it bend in with most outdoor environments, even in snow you could simply take off the cover and it would be indistinguishable from the frozen grounds.
Powered by a battery this camera can also be bought with a solar panel which will be able to keep the battery charged and therefore allows for minimal disturbance to the wildlife you are monitoring, a big factor for me. I managed to get about two weeks on my camera but that is with the motion sensor set to one hundred percent which means false triggers drain the battery quickly. But this could be avoided, if the camera is showing low battery you could turn down the motion sensitivity to allow the battery to gain more charge as time passes with fewer triggers.
Being solar powered isn’t even the best bit, this camera messages you ! Ok it doesn’t exactly message you but it does send notifications to your phone when motion is detected. This camera is connected to an app on your phone by using a SmartSim inside the camera. In the app you are able to instantly view footage and watch your camera live wherever you are, even in bed ! But if you are asleep like I was when the owl turns up the camera can record to a microSD card which means you can access any recorded events from your phone, again providing a means of monitoring wildlife with very little disturbance.
Previously you have seen me use the trail cameras to monitor the recent nest boxes I have installed on some local land. The most noticeable difference is the speed at which I could get results and be able to get up and running watching my hard work pay off. It was great to watch a variety of different wildlife and the night vision was brilliant !
Another important thing to note is the audio quality is very good for a remote camera system, especially knowing that this little remote camera is sending you the viewer images and video via a data transfer rather than manually checking an SD card. This was most apparent when monitoring the owl nest boxes and I could quite clearly hear the many vocalisations of the prospecting owls. This also helps to determine if the owls were simply passing by or actively trying to attract a potential mate to a new nesting box.
As well as watching owls I moved the camera to monitor an active badger sett and again the quality and quantity of video was brilliant ! Now does this means that trail cameras are dead ? I don’t think so. Different camera systems are used for different uses so Reolink cameras are an excellent source of great quality footage but in areas where you get no mobile signal this camera may struggle and I am yet to use this camera abroad so only time will tell whether or not it will overtake the traditional trail camera.