Ever since I worked as a cameraman using thermal cameras almost a decade ago, I’ve wanted to get my hands on my own thermal device once more. To be able to watch nature at night, with almost zero risk of disturbance is fantastic; from watching badgers forage for worms to spotting owls quartering a meadow.
But for me it isn’t just about watching the wildlife at night, having a thermal in the right conditions gives you an advantage in spotting the wildlife in the first place too. On cooler days or at dawn and dusk you aren’t solely restricted to using a thermal at night, the thermal technology allows you to pick up warmer subjects, such as mammals, out against the cooler surrounds.
So when I got a message a few years back about Leica bringing out a thermal device I was beyond excited. Utilising Leica’s incredible technology the Calonox View has allowed me to spot bears amongst heavily forested scenery, first detecting them as a heat source and then confirming in daylight hours with my Noctivids.
At night I’ve been able to sit at the end of my bed and scan the surrounding fields, spotting everything from small rodents and bats on the wing, to foxes and barn owls hunting for aforementioned rodents across Wild Finca! (You can read more about my home here.)
The Calonox View is able to detect heat sources at an astonishing 3000m. A few nights ago I was able to spot a Broom hare. At first it just appeared as a few pixels wide heat spot, but the slight movement gave it away as something living, not just a warm rock (which has caught me out a few times on warmer days). I was able to get a little closer and identify it as a hare as it groomed itself amongst the broom.
At around 1500m you can work out if it is a living creature with ease, and if light allows usually the actual species can be confirmed if you can pick out the heat spot with your Noctivids, as I do. At 500m the detail the Calonox View provides, gives the ability to identify most mammal species simply through their thermal image alone. I could even pick out the spines on a hedgehog recently!
For me the Calonox View is a game changer in my nature observation enjoyment. I get to see more species and behaviour now, at all hours of the day. Nature watching doesn’t have to finish at sunset when you get your hands on a Calonox View.
Luke Massey is a Leica Sport Optics Ambassador who lives in Asturias on his agriwilding project Wild Finca. Learn more about Luke’s project here: www.wildfinca.com