A CROWDFUNDER for the £35,000 needed to modernise the camera feeds that keep watch over Ellesmere’s Heron island has been launched.

Ellesmere Heronwatch operates out of the Boathouse on the shores of the Mere and monitors the breeding season for the herons on Moscow Island, on the Mere.

However, they say the current equipment is close to becoming unfit for purpose and will need to be replaced, costing an eye-watering £35,789.


A crowdfunder is underway with around two-and-a-half months left to go with a solid start of £5,535 already pledged but more is needed.

A group spokesman said: “Ellesmere Heronwatch is a long-established birdwatching project where volunteers guide the public using multiple video cameras and telescopes to see right into the huge nests of a breeding colony of grey herons.

“(This is) in a nearby unique island location, giving close-up views of egg sitting, hatching, and rearing chicks not otherwise seen.

“But due to age and being exposed to the elements 365 days a year, most of the cameras and cables have now failed.

“Out of a total of 15 cameras that were installed almost 10 years ago, the majority give no images at all, a couple give poor images and only one gives good images.

“Because this is obsolete technology none of the equipment can be repaired.

“The small team of volunteers that run this immensely popular project wish to return this unique free, fully accessible, all age, all ability, all-weather project which is permanently housed in the popular visitor location The Boathouse at Ellesmere in Shropshire, to its former glory.”

Heronwatch says if the money is provided, it will buy a new video camera system, for viewing and recording, replacing the old system with two Pan-Tilt-Zoom video cameras controlled by the public.

It will also provide two video camera nest boxes for small birds, for additional interest.

A spokesman added: “Heronwatch provides a unique wildlife opportunity by enabling visitors to explore the hidden world of tree-top nests. It provides social interaction with knowledgeable friendly volunteers.

“It provides the joy of learning something new, and developing a new, sometimes lifelong, interest in the natural world for both adults and children.

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“It offers the opportunity of becoming a volunteer for the project. Engagement with nature provides benefits for mental health It boosts tourism and thereby local economy.”

If successful, Heronwatch expects to launch the new cameras in February 2025.

To donate, head to https://www.spacehive.com/ellesmere-heronwatch-camera-system