Six of the best: wildlife watching gadgets
GoPro Hero5 Black
The latest GoPro claims to be the best yet, capable of shooting 4K video and delivering much clearer audio. Film on safari, at the zoo, or leave it rolling in the back garden. Waterproof, it can also be used to shoot colourful marine wildlife… or survive a few hours in the rain. A new voice control feature allows hands-free operation, and a RAW setting for stills opens options for post production. Pair with the new Karma drone (launched end Oct) for aerial footage.
Little Acorn 5310MG
Not everyone retires for the night after dark. Badgers, foxes and hedgehogs are all potential nocturnal visitors. Keep an eye out for furry (or spiky) intruders with this top of the range outdoor night-vision camera.
Triggered by heat detection, it can take 12MP stills and records video at 1920 x 1080p. A “no glow” version means wildlife won’t be disturbed by infrared LEDs.
Another handy feature is the time-lapse function, allowing users to observe slowly unfurling events such as the flowering of plants.
Magenta Bat Detector 4
Bats are chatterboxes of the animal kingdom, but rarely are humans able to decipher their cryptic conversations.
Using chirps, smacks and clicks, they communicate through echolocation at a frequency inaudible to our ears.
This device translates those sounds into an easily understood format.
The microphone works within a 100m radius and has a weatherproof casing and built-in LED torch. Take it on bat walks – especially in the run-up to Halloween.
Starling Nest Box Camera System
What happens when birds disappear into their nests? Enjoy Big Brother avian-style with this cedar wood nest box fitted with a Sony Effio camera to provide a drop-down view.
Equipped with infrared night vision, it shoots colour by day, black and white at night. A sensor adjusts picture quality according to available light, while a microphone records sound.
Do a DIY Attenborough by connecting a cable from the nest to your TV.
Seek CompactXR Thermal Imaging Camera
Animals are adept at blending into the background. Cut through the camouflage with this thermal imaging camera; connecting directly to a smartphone, it displays visible heat signatures on the handset.
Operational even in complete darkness, it can detect creatures up to 1,800 feet away. Simply tap on the app (free from iTunes and Google Play) and start seeking. Available for both iPhone and Android.
Sony XD93 4K HDR Android TV
If robins and squirrels fail to excite, TV nature documentaries are an obvious fix. Sir David Attenborough’s long awaited Planet Earth II series airs from November 6, making a TV upgrade near imperative.
Expect brilliant picture quality from this slim-line box, with enhanced brightness and contrast.
At 65 inches long, the screen is almost cinematic; imagine sloths swimming into your living room and marine iguanas diving for the sofa. Bliss.
App of the week – Planet Noah, free, The App Store and Google Play
Become a citizen scientist by plotting wildlife spots on a map, sharing data with other users to get a fuller picture of animal activity in your local area.
A global mode allows searches further afield.