When you take part in a Nocturnal Wildlife Tour, you will have access to the very latest state of the art wildlife observation equipment.
Devices such as hand held thermal imagers and night vision binoculars provide us with the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with wildlife without ever being detected.Combine this ability with the expert knowledge and experience of our tour guides, and you are in for an unforgettable experience.
Lets take a look at some of the kit you will be using on our tours.
Hand Held Thermal Imaging Cameras
At Nocturnal Wildlife Tours we feel the hand held thermal camera is the single most advantageous piece of equipment in our portfolio.
Not only will it detect a heat source as small as a mouse, or something as big as a red deer stag at distances of up to 950m at night, but it will allow us to detect wildlife in cover during the day which we could have otherwise overlooked.
Unlike traditional night vision devices, a thermal imager is unimpeded by objects such as foliage or grass, or adverse weather conditions such as fog or rain.
On our tours we use the Pulsar Quantum HD38S hand held thermal imager which will provide a detection range of up to 950m and is ideal for spotting small wildlife such as mice, hedgehogs, and rabbits, through to badgers, fox, roe deer or pine marten.
We will on occasion use some alternative types of thermal imager such as the Guide IR510 or the Thermoteknix TiCam 750LR which provide higher resolution thermal imagery, often required for wildlife surveys, or for specialist applications on private tours.
Unlike a night vision device, a thermal imager sees the infrared energy emitted from objects both natural and man made, with the signal processor in the device building and displaying these subtle temperature devices on a viewfinder display as an image for you to see and capture as a video if required to an onboard mobile personal recording device with internal SD card.
This not only provides stunning images, but also in considerable detail allowing you to see hair and texture, and facial features on animals at closer range.
The HD38S is very easy to use, it is self calibrating (a slight "zipp" noise and a brief pause in the video will be observed) and is simple to focus for varying ranges.
The Quantum can display white heat, or black heat, depending on the background and indeed the surrounding temperature.
Hand Held Night Vision
Our hand held night vision devices are of the digital generation, which not only allows us to capture video footage from the device, but unlike traditional night vision devices, they are not damaged by bright light sources, so can in effect be used in bright moonlight, or in low light conditions.
A hand held night vision monocular provides the user with a method of observing wildlife at night, in considerable detail,
without the animal knowing it is being observed.
In the case of a starry, moonlit night, a night vision device amplifies the viewed image using available light sources to provide you with an enhanced image, but also allows you to observe in complete darkness, using an infrared illuminator.
This infrared illuminator is either built into the device (for short to medium range use) or provided as a high power additional attachment (for long range use) and emits a powerful infrared light beam, which is invisible to both the human and "most" animal eyes.
The night vision device "sees" this infrared beam as we would visible light, allowing you to view the scene in front of the device as it would be when lit by a powerful flood light, without the animal being aware of your presence.
At Nocturnal Wildlife Tours we currently use the Pulsar Recon 550R, which has a detection range of 5-250metres, and uses a built in IR illuminator. We will also be adopting the new ATN Bino X which offers full colour during the day, with night vision modes for night use. Bino X also features HD video capture, and a powerful zoom system to get up close and personal from hundreds of meters away.
The Recon 550R has a traditional black and white digital display, but unlike most other night vision devices, it can be changed to provide a green (traditional NV) output, or even a Red output, which is easier on the eyes for extended periods of use.
This device also has the added bonus of a built in video capture facility to record footage direct to the onboard SD card.
The footage below gives you an example of what is possible with the Recon 550R.
On Board Vehicle Thermal Camera
Our Land Rover Defender features an on-board vehicle thermal camera which allows our guides to track and locate wildlife on the way to and from our locations.
This high specification thermal camera is located on the exterior of the vehicle, and can be positioned at 360 degrees to provide a remarkable view of our surroundings, day or night, locating wildlife in deep cover which would normally go undetected by the human eye or traditional optics.
Within the vehicle we have two LCD displays to allow tour participants to view the thermal camera video feed from the comfort of the Land Rover.
Unlike our hand held thermal imagers, the vehicle thermal imager has a super wide field of view, allowing us to detect heat sources across huge areas.