Wednesday, 26 June 2013

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

It's been quiet for a while now. There is still plenty to see and a lot of interesting things going on in the locality nature/ bird wise, just no new ticks.

I set out on Sunday looking for a Corn Bunting. Whitemoor Haye has produced the goods in previous years. No luck this time though. What did catch my eye was the fact some idiot had fly tipped a load of old tyres at the edge of the road.

It was still an enjoyable walk in excellent surroundings. Why people have no respect for these green areas is beyond me.

With no luck at Whitemoor, I set off back towards home and a more local patch. The far end of Amington Moors and the lake by the Pretty Pigs Pub.

Taz likes looking for Squirrels in this area and it's usually good for tit flocks.

I managed a couple of decent Long Tailed Tit pictures considering the poor light values and light rain.

So there is the sublime.

Now, the ridiculous. On my way to work on Wednesday morning, I stopped off to drink my McDonalds Coffee at the side of Bodymoor Lake. Had woken up with a headache and was hoping some fresh air might help get rid of it.

I scanned the lake and was looking through the large number of Canadian geese and Greylags, when an odd looking goose caught my eye amongst them.

A Bar Headed Goose!


Not sure where this escapee originated from? But it looked very settled amongst the geese on the lake. An interesting find.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Struggling for a local Tick

With Spring Migration over and Nesting in full swing, getting a new local tick is proving difficult. I still haven't heard a Grasshopper Warbler this year yet. Now they will be nesting so no reeling calls for a while anyway.

I did manage a bonus Hobby the other day. I was stood looking across a lake at the Water Park, when it almost flew into me in its pursuit of a Swallow. I felt the air pushing from its wings it was that close. Nice tick. Watched it continue to pursue the Swallow across the water until it was out of view. A very exciting chase.

Been snapping some the wildlife on my travels.

Common Tern


Great Crested Grebe

Taz Posing
And Swimming

Banded Demoiselle

There have been a few reports of Garganey, but usually when I am at work. They seem to become ultra elusive at evenings and weekends. Will keep looking.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A quick experiment.

I can't make up my mind what I feel is best for bird photography and record shots. So, I decided this evening to carry out a quick experiment with the photographic and optical equipment I have at my disposal.

I have only cropped the pictures, all to the same size. This allows an appreciation of the magnification achieved with each method.

The female tufted duck was a very cooperative model, and maintained a steady distance throughout the photo shoot. Unlike the male, who was all over the place. The female Tufty was approximately 40 yards away throughout the process.

First off, iscoping. Opticron HR 66 ED with 40809 (x27) eyepiece. iPhone 4S hand held.

Not bad! Colours a little dark.

Next, Panasonic FS 10 compact camera through HR66 ED scope, Simple push on adapter. Manual shutter release by hand.

Very nice.

Finally, my Canon SX40 bridge camera on full optical zoom which is 800mm (Approx x17)


Not a good as the above two shots?

So, what have I learnt here?

Well. It seems there is no "best" method, it depends on conditions. For real quality shots with fine detail if you can get close enough, or for constantly moving subjects. The Canon Sx40 is the best tool for the job.

The iPhone through the scope also does a very acceptable job at distance. It is also convenient as it is always in my pocket.

However, the Panasonic compact through the scope has clearly produced the best shot here. It has the most detail, best colour rendition and highest magnification. This is something that I will need to look into a little more.

It's interesting stuff.


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Blithfield Reservoir

Why have I never visited this place before? It's huge, excellent birding and I can access private areas of the reservoir and ancient woodland as part of my West Midlands Bird Club membership.

I will be making regular visits here.



It was a bit daunting trying to figure out where to start, but to be honest, everywhere looked interesting. It's far too big to cover well in a single day. So I decided to start off in the two bays. Tad and Blithe bay.

A map of the reservoir showing the causeway road running across the centre of it.

I started here.

To be honest, just this end of the reservoir has too much to cover in a day. I made a start though. It was a quiet morning for waders. There were a lot of fishermen about the shorelines in boats, so that may have been an issue. I did get a Garden Warbler though, near one of the WMBC hides.

Later in the afternoon, a report came through of a Turnstone on the Causeway bank. I set off from Stansley Wood on the shore of Tad Bay to check it out.

The Causeway.

Initially, I couldn't locate the Turnstone, but while looking I did find some other interesting Waders.

Dunlin (Taken with iPhone through Scope)













Dunlin video taken with Canon SX40 (watch in HD)



Ringed Plover (iscoped)


Little Ringed Plover (iscoped)

I spent a good while watching these birds on a small area of shoreline. There were 8 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin. I'm glad I hung around, as the Turnstone decided to join the waders I was watching.

Dunlin, Turnstone and Ringed Plover. (Canon SX40)

I did eventually manage to get some better pictures of the Turnstone.

Turnstone. (Canon SX40)

Blithfield will see me on its banks again in the very near future.


Further Afield.

Travelled up to Yorkshire earlier in the week. Just looking over the pictures now. Bempton seabird colony is always a sight to behold (and smell) when breeding is in full swing.

Guillemot (Razorbill in background.)






Very distant Puffin taken through Scope using iPhone.

My favourite picture of the day though was this Jackdaw.

A very enjoyable day.