Zebra finches in the heat

It’s been hot this summer in outback Australia. Our average this month will be 5C more than the usual January average at about 44C.

The animals out here are really feeling it. Especially the bird life. My veranda has become a refuge mainly for zebra finches but also a few budgies and other birds. Half a dozen finches are dying each day along with a peregrine falcon, an immature crow and owl and a few budgies. There are owls flying into my trees through daylight as the trees in my yard have thicker leaf cover than those in the bush without a drop to drink.

I have a veranda around three sides of the house with masses of zebra finches along two sides. Here’s a short video with the zebra finches in one corner taking off when my troopie goes past and a second flight when the dingo runs up to the veranda.

It’s Been a Hot One

It’s been hot all over Australia with Tasmania alight and NSW having a shocking day today with over 132 fires.

Out bush we’ve had fires burning out almost continuously for months now. Some of it as planned patch burning, others by lightening strikes and others well, just because…. But we have a bit of room out here so they barely impede us.

It’s also been a bit warm. Here’s the daily maximum temperatures at Warburton (125km away) since Christmas Day

Recent Maximum Temperatures

DateMaximum Temperature (Centigrade)
25 Dec 201240.3
26 Dec 201242.0
27 Dec 201239.5
28 Dec 201239.7
29 Dec 201241.5
30 Dec 201241.9
31 Dec 201240.4
1 Jan 201342.0
2 Jan 201344.4
3 Jan 201341.6
4 Jan 2013 40.6
5 Jan 201341.7
6 Jan 201344.8
7 Jan 201347.0
8 Jan 201347.0


We’ve had eleven days in a row over 40C and if it wasn’t for the cool change on the 27th and 28th of December with maximums of only 39.5 and 39.7 respectively we would have had 19 days straight above 40C.

December’s minimum temeratures were 2.2C above average at 23.7C and the maximum average was 38.3C, 1.9 above average.

Last night was warm, perhaps the warmest January night out here ever at 32.2C and if these temperatures keep going we’ll have our warmest January average at 43.^C which id over five degrees above average.

I don’t know about you lot but I’m going to enjoy the cool change on Sunday. It’s predicted the maximum temperature will drop to 41C.

Data Loggers

Warning: This post is for those with a fetish for dataloggers.

I had a couple of enquiries about what sort of data loggers I use for Quality Assurance. So here we go.

I have yet to find the perfect data logger. I have used several and haven’t been 100% happy with any of them.It seems I will have to use different loggers for different tasks.

We have 11 clinics with multiple fridges in each clinic. Loggers are to go at random in fridges and also be placed on stock shelves. Loggers are also in the doctor emergency bags which spend a lot of time in and out of hot vehicles. We source pharmacy supplies from several different pharmacies/pharmacy departments depending on item and destination of delivery and our internal mail bags also carry some items. I have already posted about the temperatures our cold chain needs to handle while in light aeroplanes and also how we are starting to move refrigerated drugs around the lands

What do I want in a Data Logger?

    1. Store data from six weeks of readings every couple of minutes.
    2. Alert light (when close to max/min)
    3. Warning light for when temperature moves below or over the required temperature
    4. Warning alarm (optional)
    5. Splashproof
    5. On/off button
    6. Reasonable price
    7. Handle a wide range of temperatures (most loggers can do up to 50C)

TinyTag Loggers

(from Hasting Data Loggers)

These are splashproof and have no plugs, rather using an induction pad. They can be started on delay or using a magnet and they automatically stop after a certain number of readings, or when full. Unfortunately they only take 8000 readings so do not suit my needs monitoring drug rooms and fridges.

Being splashproof they are ideal for use in eskies as we bring refrigerated items onto the lands. However, an inability to switch the item off when received at the clinic makes them of no use. My aim is not to have extra software and plugs at clinics as I use the data for quality control purposes, not just to monitor the temperature integrity during transport. There is also no alarm to indicate the temperature has been too high or low.

TransiTempII

(from Madgetech)

These are good value. Unfortunately they have no push button start/stop but rely on computer software or a magnet to commence and cease temperature recording. This makes them unacceptable for use with third parties starting them in a pharmacy and then a nurse stopping the logger before forwarding it on to have the data used for Quality Assurance purposes.

They do hold over 32000 readings and are splashproof. There are warning and alert lights. A green light signifies the logger has stored temperatures between the set temperatures. There is amber warning light and red alert light. For refrigerated items I have them set for a warning light at 3 and 7C and the alert light to flash below 2C or 8C.

I will continue to use these for long term monitoring where I can download data on a regular visit.

Temp 100

(from Madgetech)

These have an on/off switch! However they are not splashproof so cannot be used in fridges or refrigerated items in transit. We have used these in a drug room data logging project. High and low limits can be set with an LED going from green to red should the limits be exceeded. They are also a lot more expensive than the TransitempII. we will not be using these again.

It seems to have the benefit of an on/off switch and be splashproof I may be up for several hundreds of dollars each meter which will limit the numbers we be able to use to monitor goods in transit.

Using a variety of loggers means there is a variety of software and a variety of cables required, even sometimes if the profit is from the same company. Purchasing from one company will make it easier to have the loggers recalibrated on a regular basis.

Unfortunately the use of the loggers will not replace the use of the chemical heat and freeze indicators in the drug fridges. I have come across several incidences where the fridge temperature readings have been normal, but items frozen, or overheated at the top or bottom of the fridge. This can occur due to fan failures or temperature probe failures.

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