Rolling along

Posted on Mar 22, 2013

Well, the Rollers are heading north and it’s now less then 4 weeks until I fly out to France (my colleague Phil goes to Cyprus is less than a fortnight!). The pressure is on to get together all the necessary equipment and plan exactly how I’m going to spend my 3 months in France.

SEO heading north2

Another screen grab from the SEO website – 3 out of the 4 satellite tracked Rollers are now over the Congo, heading north

The main cause of frustration, anxiety and disappointment are the RFID readers, which we’re planning to use to monitor chick provisioning rates. We’re using a system designed by a guy in the States, built by some guys down in the ENV electronics workshop (aka the dungeon) and ‘project managed’ by yours truly. There’s a complex chain of  communication when something goes wrong, and things keep going wrong (or at least getting delayed).

There has been some progress though. The circuit boards themselves are all done (but not programmed), and 40 tupawares arrived today. I’ve also placed an order worth >£600 for  352 rechargeable AA batteries & 40 2GB SD cards. Yesterday, Phil, Alli (his MSc student) and I blasted out 40-odd PIT tags (Phil & Alli, bless their souls, spent the best part of 3 hours sanding the edges off 12x25mm bits of plastic). We’re meeting again on Sunday to make up a bunch more. So, whilst I’m confident we’ll have some finished products in a few weeks, this will be too late for Phil, so I’ll have to post them out to him in Cyprus (assuming they have a functioning postal system…)


Ever wondered what 40 tupawares look like?


A circuit board! Complete with on/off switch, SD card holder, serial communication port, some spiky bits for programming something or other, battery & antenna ports, real time clock and a flashy light.

Next week I’m going to the BOU’s annual conference in Leicester to present some research I did a few years ago at Sheffield for my final year project. It will be my first time attending an external conference, and certainly the biggest talk I’ve ever done, so I’m rather excited. I’m also looking forward to putting faces to all the names in my EndNote library.

After the conference I’m getting the train to Glasgow, spending Thursday night in the Euro Hostel, then on Friday getting the train to Oban and the ferry to Mull to visit my family for the Easter weekend. Monday night will be spent back at the Euro Hostel, before taking the train allll the way to Norwich on Tuesday.  

Until next time!


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