Thursday 30 October 2008

Common Snipe escapes from Sparrowhawk

Some images of Snipe today at the edge of the juncus. The crouching behaviour happened as a big female Sparrowhawk was lurking in the immediate area. No kills were witnessed but the Sparrowhawk was quite content to stay on this rock for a minute or so and rue what could have been a tasty breakfast! All images taken from the hide with Nikon 600mm F/4. Aperture F/4. Exposure 0.0 WB set to Cloudy. ISO 800.

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker

This gorgeous male Great Spotted Woodpecker obliged this morning as it fed among the willow trunks at the edge of Stithians Reservoir. This was my first real opportunity to test the 600mm F/4. I tried using the 1.7x TC as well but the power was just too excessive so resorted to using the lens and the DX mode within the camera ie. the 1.5x converter within the D3. The images below are all original but reduced in size for the web. WB set to Cloudy. Exposure 0.0. ISO 640.

Sunday 26 October 2008

Stunning Bluethroat at Land's End today

The Bluethroat found on Friday 24th eventually showed well for me and a small group of assembled birders. Once found amongst the Cornish heather, it was incredibly tame, often approaching too close for the long lens cameras. At one point, it walked along the track through someone's legs! The light was really poor and of the 261 shots I took, only 20 or so were in focus due to the low shutter speed. The images below were the best I could get given the light situation and most of these were when the sun briefly emerged. I have seen several Bluethroats on Scilly but this is the first for mainland Cornwall for me. And that's after 35 years birding in the county. (Red-eyed Vireos are more regular than Bluethroats!)

Saturday 25 October 2008

Mediterranean Gull at Stithians Res.

This splendid adult Med Gull was preening in the late afternoon sun directly in front of the hide. It was also joined by a Common Gull. Exposure was lowered to - 0.3 and I used my polariser filter to try and reduce any glare from the water. WB set to Sunny. ISO: 400. Focal length: 520mm.

Scilly October highlights

The images below were taken in October 07 using a Nikon D2x, 12 mega pixel SLR. This camera boasts a very handy "High Speed Crop" function which effectively doubles the focal length but halves the mega pixels. Thus, the focal length equates to just over 1000mm ! Nice. All the images are tripod mounted (Manfrotto MN443 carbon fibre with 128 fluid head.)
The Woodchat Shrike was caught regurgitating a pellet. The Wren image is also a favourite as I waited for 20 minutes before the bird appeared on my side of the mallow bush. It stared at me for just long enough to take a burst of ten or so images, this one being the best.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Chough at The Lizard, June 2008

The images below are of the original pair of Choughs which appeared on the Lizard in 2001. They have successfully raised over 25 young over the last eight years. I was lucky to capture these shots which show two of the young birds just emerging for the first time from the nest on this day. Four young in total left the nest. The image below was also a pure fluke in that I caught the two adults in synchronised preening, virtually level with me on the side of the cliff. This image was also published in the CBWPS newsletter.

Friday 17 October 2008

Whooper Swans at Stithians Reservoir

Two adult Whooper Swans appeared at the res today and were content to feed at the far side of the main hide, about 100 yards away. A handful of Whoopers are more-or-less annual here, but always a welcome sight. The light was poor tonight and I had to raise the ISO to 1250. Shutter speed was still only about 60th second resulting in just one or two shots in reasonable focus. Exposure raised to +0.3 . WB set to cloudy.

I also managed to photo a Wren in front of the hide. The light was really poor and ISO was up to 1600. Shutter speed was now just 30th second! Of some thirty shots just three or four were in focus. The adult male Chaffinch also put in an appearance on his favourite branch, some five yards from the hide.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Purple Sandpiper at Gwithian

Below are some close up images of a Purple Sandpiper. This adult became quite agitated when it spotted a Peregrine Falcon high in the sky above it. The neck stretching and head tilting are all typical signs of a nearby threat. The light was perfect early in the morning and all shots were taken with a Nikon D2xs camera on a tripod.

Monday 13 October 2008

Sand Martins at Gwithian, Cornwall July 2008

These images were taken at St Gothians Nature Reserve, adjacent to Gwithian Towans in July. About forty pairs breed nearby and come to the reserve to feed, bathe and preen. These birds afforded close views in strong early morning light. Swallows also use the area and freely mix with the martins. Exposure was dropped to -1.0 and ISO was set to 200. WB remained on Cloudy setting to give a bit more warmth to the image. All images are original and uncropped.