Watching birds go by with a Pi Zero – Pt 1

Making a naturewatch camera set-up has occupied me for the past few weeks.  You can buy a kit from here: My Naturewatch Camera at Pimoroni for £34.50 (at the time of writing). I also bought a heat sink for £1.00 from them – and you’ll need a plastic box and power bank.

Camera from side IMG_0758

I didn’t buy the kit because I had some of the components already and wanted to use a blank SD card – but here is the list of costings using the kit:

Naturewatch Camera                                    £

My Naturewatch Standard Camera Kit   34.50

6700 mAh power bank                                17.00

Heat sink                                                           1.00

Plastic box                                                         3.50

Total                                                                  56.00   Postage and Packing needs adding.

The kit is based around the Pi Zero W:


Pi Zero W photo courtesy of Pimoroni

The Pi Zero W has a special Wi-Fi antenna which is amazingly clever and small.

I had no difficulty following the instructions (which are in a link from Pimoroni’s kit page) to download the software, using a Windows 10 computer, although if you start with a blank SD card you need to format the card. See Disaster struck! – disaster averted to remind you that it’s important to format your SD card without formatting your PC’s whole hard disk!

Camera from top IMG_0759

I’m using a Windows 10 computer to find the naturewatch-robin Wi-Fi and start up the camera.  I couldn’t rename my camera for the Wi-Fi, as it says do in step 10 and 11 of the instructions, so I’ve left it with the default naturewatch-robin and password badgersandfoxes . You do need to have the computer, phone or tablet (you are going to start-up the camera from and see the pictures on) near your camera to make sure the Wi-Fi works.  Once you’ve started the camera you can close the camera.local  website and don’t need to be connected to the Wi-Fi anymore. (I haven’t got it working with my phone yet and don’t know why – but I’ll report in a later post on that.)

I still need to put the lens cover on, made from the top half of a pop bottle, to stop rain getting to the lens – but the weather’s fine, so far, so I haven’t bothered yet.

All I need now is some birds!

I’ll report back when I’ve got some bird images to show you.

Happy tinkering!







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