Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Weather Station Problems and More from Old Moor

Tuesday was another cold day although we had a little more sunshine than on Monday. Even though the temperature didn't fall below freezing it became our coldest day of winter with an average temperature of 1.3°C.

My weather station has now been operating since the middle of 2009. It doesn't seem to need much maintenance touch wood. So I was a little bit surprised Tuesday morning when a message appeared on my console stating that the battery power to station 1 was running low.
I couldn't remember whether the station was totally solar powered with a backup rechargeable battery. Trust something to go wrong when the temperature outside is only just above freezing. How long could I leave it without doing anything? We'd had some pretty dull days so maybe the recharging hadn't been going too well.

A bit of Internet research confirmed that my weather station operated on solar power when possible with a normal battery as backup in hours of darkness. It was a case off to the shops for a new battery.
Ladders out it was just a case of swapping over old for new. A pity the failing battery is located in the little white housing well out of easy reach. I had a few concerns about the condition of the old battery after being five years installed outside.
Once the cover was released I was pleasantly surprised as the insides looked like new. The new battery installed and the front cover replaced after reconnecting the solar power cable it was a question of checking that data was transferring back to the station console and computer. Despite the interruption in power supply everything appeared satisfactory. The job turned out easier than I had anticipated.
Old battery after 5 years (solar power cable unattached)
New battery installed and solar power cable re-attached
I mentioned that on our visit to RSPB Old Moor I'd managed a couple of photographic firsts. I posted some pictures of a wren on Monday so today I'm adding a photo of a yellowhammer. It was almost out of reach of my camera lens but the photo didn't turn out to be too bad.
Although we've seen woodpeckers before at Old Moor I thought I'd post these of a male and female great spotted woodpecker. 
Male Great Spotted Woodpecker
Identified by red patch at the back of his head
Female Great Spotted Woodpecker
The male went off to do a spot of proper woodpeckering in a tree close by. I managed to get a bit of video of him doing his stuff looking for food. The video is included below.

To finish off with a note about Wednesday morning which has started off with wet snow falling. The forecast is for snow showers all day dying out this evening and with a predicted high temperature of 2°C.


  1. I loved seeing the photos and video of the spotted our part of Kentucky we mainly have red-bellied, downy & hairy...even the occasional pileated. Love the colors on the spotted!

    1. Glad you liked the video. We've occasionally seen a green woodpecker but never managed any pictures or video of one.

  2. Eek, careful up that ladder. I have an image of you up there with a screwdriver, the new battery, the cover and your camera. Lovely photo of the yellowhammer. Funnily enough I was just talking to the biggest boy about yellowhammers, we saw a picture of one earlier. The woodpecker footage is excellent, it's nice to see one doing some woodpecking, not something I've ever seen.

    1. That image you have is about right. Amazed I managed to hold the camera steady enough for a decent photo.
      I was a little disappointed that I didn't get the sound effect of the woodpecker hammering at the tree on the video. Maybe next time.


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