Archive for March, 2009

On the Air Again!

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Well ahead of the April 2 ETA, CONE Welder appears to be back on the air. I’m not sure if it’s going to stay up, or if this is just teasing us with some temporary fun that’s going to go away again, but I’ll take it.

abirch got the first shots, including this excellent one of the Barred Owl:

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Yay! Texas birds again!

Update: Hm. Yeah, it still seems to be fairly flaky. I’ve had it go up and down on me during my two attempts to use it this morning. So maybe we’re still waiting on replacement hardware.

Craig Has Waxwings

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Since the newfangled telerobotic camera at CONE Welder is still down, it’s a good time to check in with the old-fashioned Newmark-powered camera on Craig’s deck. And look what we have here: A new (for his deck) species: Cedar Waxwing.


Camera’s Down

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

From loughman1, word that the camera is down:

From: [loughman1]
Subject: CONE Welder camera is down
Date: March 3, 2009 4:08:05 PM PST

CONE Welder players,

The camera at Welder stopped working around 2:30 PST this afternoon. When it did not come back up again, I sent a message to Yan and Dez at 3:00. Just now (4:00PST) I received a message from Yan that the problem seems to be at Welder. No prognosis.


Update: And now, as of 7:51 a.m. Pacific time on Wednesday, Kay writes that it’s back up again. Yay!

Later update: And now, as of 9:13 a.m. Pacific time on Wednesday, it appears to be back down again. Rats!

Still later update: loughman1 forwards the following:

Subject: Welder Camera installation delayed
Date: March 20, 2009 5:06:00 PM PDT

CONE Welder players,

In response to my query this afternoon, Dez Song reports:

“Due to spring break, the parts we ordered have not even arrived yet. I would postpone the date to April 2nd for the camera to come back up. ”

So I guess that means, check back in a couple of weeks. I’ll let you know if I hear anything more.


Third Time’s the Charm

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The American Robin has showed up on the camera only twice since the beginning of CONE Welder, each time in a distant, tiny shot of the bird perching in the bare tree. Until yesterday, that is, when an American Robin showed up to take a drink at the fountain and gave us some really great shots. My favorite (and yours, judging by the assigned favorites points) was this one, taken at 6:24 a.m. by idbirds:

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There were a number of other shots, including several even tighter close-ups; click through to the dashboard to check them out. Congratulations to everyone who got a shot of this very special bird.

Favorite Recent Photos

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

I’ve been out of town for a while, and was being kind of neglectful of the blog before that while I focused on the dashboard, so a lot of interesting photos have stacked up without my mentioning them here. I thought I’d do a quick roundup of some of the highlights from the last few weeks.

The Red-winged Blackbirds have been hanging around in their big winter flocks; it makes for a quick emptying of the feeders. As loughman1 and Dr. Glasscock’s correspondence indicates, the lack of personnel at Welder has meant that feeders sometimes take a while to be refilled.

This shot, taken by idbirds early on February 17, doesn’t have as many blackbirds in it as some shots I’ve seen, but it’s a really neat action photo:

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On February 21, Zhang Yan was doing some work on the camera in connection with the conetester robot, in the course of which we temporarily got some views that we’re normally prevented from seeing by the game’s limits on movement. You can click through to the dashboard page to see some more (I’m now linking to the dashboard from the photos I post here), but here are a few interesting ones.

This shot of the area beyond the storage bin was taken by ottavia:

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This closeup of the pole the camera is mounted on was also taken by ottavia:

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Later on February 21, rafa got this shot of a bag of sunflower seeds:

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The Blue Jay on the package was potentially identifiable in the game’s species list, and I added an ID for it, but apparently too many users were of a less-whimsical frame of mind, so “No Classifiable Species” won out in the ID. It made me chuckle, though, and reminded me of the Bald Eagle ID we temporarily had with CONE Sutro.

The following amazing sequence of a Cooper’s Hawk was photographed on February 23 by vanilla, vanilla, and robin54 (respectively):

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This cool shot of a ladybird beetle on the camera’s housing was taken by rafa on February 24:

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With all the Red-winged Blackbirds we’ve had lately, users have been getting really neat shots of the males flashing their epaulettes at each other. Here’s a shot that achadamaia took on February 25:

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This pensive shot by rafa of a male Brown-headed Cowbird has a certain classical composition that I really like. The site’s users apparently agreed; it got 36 favorites points, making it the top shot of the day for February 28:

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rafa’s cowbird shot got just one favorite point more than this shot by budgieface, one of several that showed not one, but two Great Kiskadees on the fountain. Given CONE Welder’s focus on documenting breeding-range changes by species like the kiskadee, it’s pretty exciting to see these shots. Is this pair of birds an actual pair? I’m looking forward to seeing if they show up together again in the future.

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Overall, a really great batch of photos. Congratulations to everyone who took them!