NAUTA scientific

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Monitoraggio video di un nido di Gipeto nelle Alpi - 2020

Bearded vulture nest monitoring in the Italian Alps - Y2020

Real-time remote video-monitoring station at the nest of a Bearded vulture in Val Martello - Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio in Italy.

In late summer 2020 we were assigned a new task aimed at video monitoring a well known nest of Bearded Vulture in Val Martello - Martelltal, Italy.
As in 2008 the nest was in a harsh and hostile environment, on the north-facing side of the mountain, at about 2000m of height.
As in 2008 the question was “Could it be possible to setup a system in high mountains, in a shadowed site facing north, with cold winters, where a lot of snow falls (in winter 2020-2021 over 5m of snow fell)”
The question sounded like this.


As the location was described as
  • REMOTE”: to get data from the camera we decided to use a digital hyperlan link from the nest down to the valley where a power supply is present;
  • TREE COVERED”: we decided to use an oceanographic cable to take energy from the power socket up to the position where the camera is installed;
  • SNOWY”: we are in high mountains, it goes without saying that it is snowy. No way to install photovoltaic panels this time;
  • COLD”: we tried to use -35C rated electronics;
  • NORTH FACING”: sigh. Really? the NORTH view, limiting the photovoltaic possibilities, at the end resulted the strongest limit of the operation.

How we did it

We have been up about 8 times. Two preliminary visits, two transport and installation trips, four visits for repairs, and enhancements.
We have never been at the nest, but nearby only, deciding to interfere as little as possible and thus using a 25X PTZ camera to get images.

Not being able to use solar panels, we decided to run cable in the woods. It is a 1200m leg, vertical now and then, and we used both an outdoor standard PU cable and a kevlar reinforced marine cable where additional strength is needed.

We used an IP PTZ dome digital camera, with an additional wooden protection.
The energy is supplied at the bottom, at 48VDC and due to voltage drop related to distance, arrives at the camera at about 26VDC. Just enough to feed a smart controller that keeps a set of batteries alive and provides the output at 24VDC, 12VDC and 5VDC.

A GSM remote control allows us to start, restart and stop the power supply to all the instruments whenever we need to.

The video stream is transmitted down to the valley, where it is stored and retransmit to the control center.

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