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Looking into a eagle nest at 3,200 feet away. Indoor glassing options (1 Viewer)

So I really can't believe it, I built a eagle nest last weekend on the river below my house and there are 2 eagles eyeing it up, sitting in the tree 3 mornings in a row right next to the nest. If they actually use this nest I can see right into the nest since I am 300 feet above the river.

I am looking to buy some good glass for looking into the nest and watching the babies grow up.

What do you think would be the ideal way to watch this from inside my home? Weight is not a issue at all. Google earth has me at 3,200 feet away from the nest, I am 300 feet above it so it is more like 3350 feet.

thanks in advance John
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

cheapest option would be an astro scope of at least 100mm and better 120mm aperture for some serious magnification.

The black kite nest I can observe from my balcony is about 550 ft away and with the 52x max magnification of my spotter I can see the parents ok but the little ones could be larger.
Thus I have my SW 120ED just behind the window and ready to take out. In general observing through a normal plate glass windows is non-optimal, especially so at higher magnifications and angles other than orthogonal.

And of course, could somebody please cut back the foliage a bit ;-)

Options would be either an ED refractor (nicer image due to no center obstruction and less hassle with collimation but close to $2k new for the Skywatcher Evostar 120ED) or some Maksutov- or Schmidt-Cassegrain (can be had for below $1k new for a 120mm example, but large central obstruction results into some contrast loss and can be tricky to collimate - examples would be Celestron C5 or C6 for SC and some 127mm or 150mm Mak from the usual suspects)

Joachim
 

Thotmosis

Member
Netherlands
So I really can't believe it, I built a eagle nest last weekend on the river below my house and there are 2 eagles eyeing it up, sitting in the tree 3 mornings in a row right next to the nest. If they actually use this nest I can see right into the nest since I am 300 feet above the river.

I am looking to buy some good glass for looking into the nest and watching the babies grow up.

What do you think would be the ideal way to watch this from inside my home? Weight is not a issue at all. Google earth has me at 3,200 feet away from the nest, I am 300 feet above it so it is more like 3350 feet.

thanks in advance John
Lucky you, eaglejohnny! Maybe a Swarovski BTX with 115 mm modular objective lens would do the trick?

Cheers,
T.
 
Is money an issue?
Bill thanks for asking, not really other then I am a value type of shopper. So if one scope would get me a 3% better view for 5 times the money I would probably go fo the value. My wife has given me the green light to buy what I ever I see fit so I have been look at some of the top of line scopes. Thanks for your help :) What would you get as a value shopper and what would you get if money was no issue? Thanks John
 
Better idea is putting a camera there at the edge of the nest and then have a live feed to your house.
Great idea! Can you help me understand how to do this? I had a live feed camera in my Purple Martin house for my kids and us to watch on the TV. But I have no idea how to set up a live camera over 3,000 feet away with no power down by it. Thanks in advance, John.
 
This photo is taken from my phone holding it up by hand on my current Leupold green band spotting scope.
 

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Dutchbirder64

Well-known member
Great idea! Can you help me understand how to do this? I had a live feed camera in my Purple Martin house for my kids and us to watch on the TV. But I have no idea how to set up a live camera over 3,000 feet away with no power down by it. Thanks in advance, John.
I am not really into that but I was thinking if you can see a person at your doorbell on your phone when you are away from home, this would be possible too. It will be over the internet. This would be great for you. Watching on your iPad how your Eagle kids grow. Sure a camera shop can help you out. The power source to feed the battery would be your main problem. There a lot of wildlife camera traps with big batteries for a couple of days.
How to stream your Nest camera to a Google Chromecast (the-ambient.com)
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

as for using a trailcam - or actually any kind of camera setup - close to the nest, there are quite a few things to plan for:

- power - batteries are not going to cut it for the intended time as replacing the batteries is a no-go because it would disturb the birds (and maybe your health after Eagle Mom has decided that you are a danger for her eggs or chicks).
Solar panel and backup battery might be an option but make the device more visible.

- how to get the footage out - changing SD cards is a no-go for the same reasons, LTE (or whatever your cell networks are called over there) coverage might or might not be available - if it is, it is not cheap and means the device is on the public internet and needs to be properly secured unless you want it to be a hacker toy. Wifi with a booster and/or a cantenna would work and if set up with proper encryption will be secure.

- how to get the device up there in the first place w/o disturbing the birds - this should be done when no birds are present and not probable to suddenly arrive.
The best option would have been just after building the nest and before the birds have seen it - so it's just part of the environment.

Also make sure that the device in operation will not disturb the birds, so no blinkenlights, beepers etc...
Please also note that any images of nests or eggs must not be uploaded to birdforum as per rules in order to not encourage nest disturbance.

Joachim, whose employer used to have a live stream of a breeding pair of peregrine falcons on the intranet for many years... but that was easy - the security camera was already installed on site.
 
Last edited:

Binastro

Well-known member
Hi,
I second a 120mm ED refractor.

However, simple doublet refractors are cheaper and just as good if the focal length is long. They may also be less affected by temperature change, cooling, heating etc.

A Russian TAL 100 refractor is tough but only f/10. On a heavy mount.

I use 120mm doublet refractors, non ED.
Up to 250x terrestrially at night, say 180x daytime through good double glazing.
Would be good from an outside viewing platform unheated.

I have used many telescopes for long distance terrestrial viewing up to many miles.

The best time is morning or late afternoon. Autumn and spring.

Looking down is a great advantage.

If there are no houses or concrete/asphalt that would be good.

My two 150mm true aperture Maksutovs are very good, but can take 40 minutes to equalise temperatures because of thick corrector plates.

A Skywatcher 180mm Maksutov is probably equivalent, although a 150mm Skywatcher Maksutov.might be simpler.

A 200mm or 8 inch Celestron SCT would be good.

Perhaps you have a local astronomy club where members can make sure you have a good example.

Secondhand refractors are excellent value if clean and used in a non humid environment.
Usually half new prices.

A good heavy mount gives the best results.

Regards,
B.
 
Hi,
I second a 120mm ED refractor.

However, simple doublet refractors are cheaper and just as good if the focal length is long. They may also be less affected by temperature change, cooling, heating etc.

A Russian TAL 100 refractor is tough but only f/10. On a heavy mount.

I use 120mm doublet refractors, non ED.
Up to 250x terrestrially at night, say 180x daytime through good double glazing.
Would be good from an outside viewing platform unheated.

I have used many telescopes for long distance terrestrial viewing up to many miles.

The best time is morning or late afternoon. Autumn and spring.

Looking down is a great advantage.

If there are no houses or concrete/asphalt that would be good.

My two 150mm true aperture Maksutovs are very good, but can take 40 minutes to equalise temperatures because of thick corrector plates.

A Skywatcher 180mm Maksutov is probably equivalent, although a 150mm Skywatcher Maksutov.might be simpler.

A 200mm or 8 inch Celestron SCT would be good.

Perhaps you have a local astronomy club where members can make sure you have a good example.

Secondhand refractors are excellent value if clean and used in a non humid environment.
Usually half new prices.

A good heavy mount gives the best results.

Regards,
B.
Wow thanks so much for time and trying to help me. I am a total newbie at long distant glassing. I love the idea of a astro, and were you saying it is okay to look through double pane glass? I will have the option in the future of just opening a window when weather permits. I am ideally shooting for a very solid tripod, and good unit so when walking by in my home I can just say hey check out the nest for a quick view or couple minutes. I do not think we would enjoy a unit we would have to go outside to use. I am so naive on this I am trying to figure out how to not see them upside down and backwards. No concret, or asphalt. Thanks again for your time. Where does one look online for used scopes like you have mentioned?
 
Hi,

as for using a trailcam - or actually any kind of camera setup - close to the nest, there are quite a few things to plan for:

- power - batteries are not going to cut it for the intended time as replacing the batteries is a no-go because it would disturb the birds (and maybe your health after Eagle Mom has decided that you are a danger for her eggs or chicks).
Solar panel and backup battery might be an option but make the device more visible.

- how to get the footage out - changing SD cards is a no-go for the same reasons, LTE (or whatever your cell networks are called over there) coverage might or might not be available - if it is, it is not cheap and means the device is on the public internet and needs to be properly secured unless you want it to be a hacker toy. Wifi with a booster and/or a cantenna would work and if set up with proper encryption will be secure.

- how to get the device up there in the first place w/o disturbing the birds - this should be done when no birds are present and not probable to suddenly arrive.
The best option would have been just after building the nest and before the birds have seen it - so it's just part of the environment.

Also make sure that the device in operation will not disturb the birds, so no blinkenlights, beepers etc...
Please also note that any images of nests or eggs must not be uploaded to birdforum as per rules in order to not encourage nest disturbance.

Joachim, whose employer used to have a live stream of a breeding pair of peregrine falcons on the intranet for many years... but that was easy - the security camera was already installed on site.
I am thinking the remote camera is a dead idea, good thought just not doable, and at my age almost 60 I am not going up that tree again for nothing :). I have worked around breeding raptors, and their nest often it is almost impossible to chase them off a active nest no matter what you do.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

yes classic slow fraunhofer doublet like a Vixen 80/1200mm on a Super or Great Polaris with the wood tripod is a great instrument but the aperture is a bit small.

And to get sth equivalent in 100 or 120mm we would ideally need to get even slower than f15 and it will be really long - like 2m for a 120mm version...

Joachim who cannot await to try the Zeiss AS200/3000 the club has bought for cheap and we're currently converting to a folded refractor to make it fit our dome.
 

jring

Well-known member
I have worked around breeding raptors, and their nest often it is almost impossible to chase them off a active nest no matter what you do.

With an eagle I would be more concerned about it trying to chase me off the nest... and down the tree in process...

Joachim, who has not been that close to raptors...
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Hi.

If you use it indoors with open windows, the temperature indoors and outdoors has to be equal, otherwise terrible images due to temperature variation, tube currents etc.

So maybe a dedicated room with correct temperature.

I have only one double glazed good window, the kitchen window, which takes 120x to 180x with 100mm scopes and maybe 120mm.
I used a bathroom with no heating and opened the window for an hour before observing at night.
With an anorak and scarf over my face, to stop body heat.
At 4.7 miles I resolved one arc second markings on a large clock tower, maybe 80ft up.
My viewing 30ft above ground.
Magnification 250x and very steady on many nights at 3 a.m.

During the day such high powers are not possible.
But 100x should be O.K. sometimes with an open window temperature stabilised.and 180x with very good bits of double glazing.

In your situation I would go for a good 120mm ED refractor.
If using through double glazing the larger the scope the less magnification the window glass can take.
Numerous astro eyepieces are available, wide angle or normal.

You need either a 90 degree good mirror diagonal for best views or an upright vision prism.
But these prisms degrade the image, although I don't find this too bad, whereas others here feel they aren't so good.

I used a Porroprism device, but most are roof prisms I think nowadays.

Regards,
B.
 
Hi.

If you use it indoors with open windows, the temperature indoors and outdoors has to be equal, otherwise terrible images due to temperature variation, tube currents etc.

So maybe a dedicated room with correct temperature.

I have only one double glazed good window, the kitchen window, which takes 120x to 180x with 100mm scopes and maybe 120mm.
I used a bathroom with no heating and opened the window for an hour before observing at night.
With an anorak and scarf over my face, to stop body heat.
At 4.7 miles I resolved one arc second markings on a large clock tower, maybe 80ft up.
My viewing 30ft above ground.
Magnification 250x and very steady on many nights at 3 a.m.

During the day such high powers are not possible.
But 100x should be O.K. sometimes with an open window temperature stabilised.and 180x with very good bits of double glazing.

In your situation I would go for a good 120mm ED refractor.
If using through double glazing the larger the scope the less magnification the window glass can take.
Numerous astro eyepieces are available, wide angle or normal.

You need either a 90 degree good mirror diagonal for best views or an upright vision prism.
But these prisms degrade the image, although I don't find this too bad, whereas others here feel they aren't so good.

I used a Porroprism device, but most are roof prisms I think nowadays.

Regards,
B.
Thanks "B" I feel like I am getting sip of water out of a firehouse but keep it coming. So would the 120mm ED be good for going through my double glazed windows? I noticed most have the 45 degree eye piece for flipping the image right side up, do the 90 degree do that as well? Thank you soooo much! John
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

yes, 120mm ED will be up to the job, if needs be through glass, better without. If you have to observe through glass, try to do so that the scope is perpendicular to the pane.

As for diagonal, mirror or prism or an amici prism, it has to be said that the best solution is a mirror diagonal with a dielectric mirror coating. The SW 120 ED comes with one and my example was perfectly fine (the refractor and the mirror diagonal).
One drawback of mirror or prism diagonals is the fact that they deliver an upright, but mirrored image, so if a bird is to the left of the center, you have to move a bit to the right.
Amici Prisms will deliver an upright and non-mirrored image but are rarely found in good quality so they won't affect high magnification views. The only good option (as in not worse than a mirror diagonal) currently available new comes from Baader with Zeiss optics and is about 600€ - I'd rather take the freebie mirror diagonal and remember to switch sides - especially so since you are mainly observing a stationary object...

Joachim
 

Sterngucker

Well-known member
Since the new neighbors are already eyeing up the condo ... could you still rig up a trail cam and solar panel up there? Many trailcams these days come with wifi/LTE so you can beam images straight to your mobile device.
 

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