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Thread: Hide Construction advice needed

  1. #1
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    Default Hide Construction advice needed

    Hey guys,
    When I was at Inala on Bruny Island in Feb i had a great chat with Tonia about her plans for some improvements to her property. One of the big things she is hoping to do is build some hides in a few spots around the property with the aim of encouraging/helping bird photographers.
    There are a couple of waterholes there that birds come to, plus an area where the 40spotted Pardalote is regularly seen.
    One big thing for her is trying to protect the Wedgies around her area from feeding on roadkill and potentially getting hit etc so she is planning to take local road kill off the road and put it in a paddock so they can feed without fear of cars etc. This also creates a great opportunity to photograph raptors up close with the aid of a hide etc.
    Initial thoughts are of small prefab treated Pine structures no longer than 3m (to avoid having to get building applications etc).
    Things to consider are whether to have a built in bench seat or just use cheap camp chairs so that they can be moved etc.
    Room for tripods or perhaps a shelf with tripod head size mounting bolts so you can mount your own head without the bulk of a tripod?
    Mesh over the front slit which you could slip your lens under etc
    How wide to have the slits?
    I have attached some images of the spots she is thinking of having the hides so you can get a bit of an idea.
    Love to hear any thoughts from people about their "ideal hide"!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Site for birdhide to watch raptors low res.jpg 
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Name:	Double waterhole next to garage at Tonias low res.jpg 
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Name:	Waterhole next to Nairana Cottage (side view next to access road) low res.jpg 
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Name:	Forty-spotted pardlote viewing area low res.jpg 
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Name:	Waterhole next to Nairana cottage low res.jpg 
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    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  2. #2
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    Hi David

    There seems to be a lot of obstructions around this water course. One of the most important considerations would be locating your hide where you can benefit from morning or afternoon light. I have attached this photo to give you ideas for your project.







    This cropped photo will give you a better view of various access points around the hide. The winter sun arches directly across the rear of this hide from right to left. I hang camouflage drape across the rectangular holes.



    Last edited by Terra Firma; 09-04-2012 at 09:32 PM.

  3. #3
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    THanks very much for that Terra. Appreciate your input! For the most part the hides are for small bush birds/honeyeaters etc and there won't be heaps of opportunity to go for best light as its fairly wooded unfortunately. Also aim will be for fairly close viewing distance (except for the raptor/paddock hide.) In the image with the barbed wire (which will be removed) the distance is only 6 or so metres.
    Where are those hides in your photos?
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  4. #4
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    The first photo with the gently sloping grass paddock would be best for WtEs. It appears there is enough room and availability of some ambient light to put something there. They should probably construct a semi-buried hide into the hillside, much like the ones in this link. Could use one-way glass instead of openings? See:

    http://www.hidephotography.com/pic/C....com.main1.jpg

    Although the draped camo net would be good. A thing to consider is to always leave some things like flowerpots or something similar to camera hoods poking out, so eagles get used to them.

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    This photo was taken at Lake
    Last edited by Terra Firma; 27-04-2012 at 11:51 PM.

  6. The following user says thank you to Terra Firma for their reply:

    David Stowe (10-04-2012)

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    Fantastic to hear of an operator thinking about what photographers desire. There are so many locations in Australia that have great potential, yet are limited by the lack of planning by their owners. In my travels I've yet to find a permanent hide that is designed well for photographers.
    I would think any serious design will need to consider the likely subject matter, background, light direction/quality, perches, setting and shooting angle. If the hide is situated in a busy tourist location then some consideration should be given to hiding the approach of anyone entering the hide. The main failures I see with most existing hides is that they often end up with overgrown views, nowhere suitable for a bird to perch and they do not provide the ability to shoot the subject at eye level. The example above supplied by Terra Firma is a case where you cannot get a low shooting angle of any bird on the water. Akos's example looks like it is on the right track. Unless you are lucky I think it’s not just the hide that needs to be designed, but the setting in which you wish to photograph the bird/s.

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    Thanks guys! Great idea with the flowerpots Akos!
    I was also thinking of a very low opening for the raptor hide so you could lay down and get ground level. The paddock will be easily able to be set up for afternoon light with the background sloping away behind the birds and a bit of distance to the trees/background.
    Totally agree with your comments about overgrown hides etc Gerard. The advantage i can see here is that it is on private property so Tonia will be able to keep track of that sort of stuff and it won't just be left alone. None of the places will be in super busy touristy areas although alot more thought will go into the approach to the raptor one for sure.
    The aim for the "barbed wire" waterhole is to cut into the bank in order to get as close to eye level as possible and also clear out some of the grasses. Always a tough one to change too much in case it makes it unsuitable for birds.
    I'm also stoked that Tonia is considering bird photographers - such a positive move! That's why i am so keen to help her! (plus she is a lovely lady with a real passion for the birds and environment)
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  9. #8
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    I've known Tonia for a few years now Dave, even though we've never met. I offered to send her a heap of info to consider in the building process. She is a lovely lady from what I have learned and appreciates the hard work bird photographers put in to capture the magical images.

    I think you don't want to be laying down too long as it gets too uncomfortable. Hence why I suggested to half dig into the substrate. Mate, the images my countrymen get in Europe from their half sunk raptor hides and from their bird bath hides are just insane!! Check out these pics:

    http://birdphotography.hu/node/2896

    http://birdphotography.hu/node/2890

    http://birdphotography.hu/node/2845

    http://birdphotography.hu/node/2808

    http://birdphotography.hu/node/2749


    This one's from a good friend of mine over there.... just sick!
    http://birdphotography.hu/node/2790



    Here is a link to Sakertour in Hungary who have purpose built raptor hides on the Great Hungarian Plains to photograph White-tailed Eagles....

    http://www.sakertour.com/white-taile...e_hide_no1.php

    For a list of all their hides:

    http://www.sakertour.com/hides.php
    Last edited by Ákos Lumnitzer; 10-04-2012 at 03:47 PM.

  10. #9
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    Thanks mate!
    What do they do about drainage/filling with water etc?
    I agree about laying down for long periods. Having the option might be nice though?
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  11. #10
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    I never thought about drainage, I am sure they have it covered. I could find out. See what I can do..

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    The major issue with all these spots seem to be the background. I can't really judge the spost for the small birds, and the BGs might work out alright there with a long lens. However, that eage spot. Unless there is some open space towards the left in that proposed spot, it seems almost impossible to get good images there. These birds are massive, so the trees are definitely too close. If you lie down the birds will be chopped in half by the tree line.

    Having to deal with the sun is probably not the biggest issue in Tassie as overcast will be dominant, so that should be more of an non issue. It's better for shooting under tree anyways. That being said, the eagle spot should be definitely build with the sun in mind. No one wants a feeder like in melaleuca where you have bad light all day.

    Why not only use stuff like Doghouse pop up blinds? Maybe not for the eagles, but the songbirds. That would also make it easier to move the feeder if needed. And also consider the shade a big hide will put onto the bird feeder for small birds. You mentioned Pardalotes. These birds are tiny. If you want a full frame image even 600mm + 1.4x Extender requires you to be about 6m close. If you now build a big hide, it will most likely interfear with the light.

    If she's interested I could show her a few images of set ups /feeders I have build and used in the past.
    Last edited by Jan Wegener; 13-04-2012 at 11:11 PM.

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    Thanks Jan. Much appreciated.
    The Eagle spot photo is roughly looking south - our thoughts are to have the hide on the RHS of that image and shoot towards the east where there is a much greater distance (from memory) to the trees behind.
    No plans on feeders for bushbirds - just utilising water sources which they come to regularly. The Pardalote idea that Tonia is suggesting at this stage is more of a platform/stadium to gain a little height. I know she would love to see some images if you were happy to share.
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


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    So u want to set up a hide near those streams/ lake?
    If there's so much scrub around, why would a bird even come close to the hide, let alone land in a photographable spot?
    For the eagles you want to pick a spot with a bg as distant as possible. Ideally something else than dark trees as bg.


    If there's a food source like for the eagles they have an incentive to come in and don't care too much about a hide. Whereas if you build a hide just next to a water thing the birds might just go somewhere else. I reckon water is not really scarce on tassie, so I don't really see that working. Maybe as a birder spot, but not photography

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