Thursday 1 January 2009

A Siberian feel to Helston sewage works

The recent cold easterly windflow has clearly pushed more Chiffchaffs into the county. The old favourite at Helston has "trumped" again with at least three Chiffchaffs showing characteristics of one of the eastern races. Several nominate birds were conveniently available for comparison as well. Two Firecrests were also present but the Yellow-browed Warbler had moved on. Photography was not hindered today by bad light. A grey day with intermittent rays of sun was perfect. Aperture was wide open once again to get that all important shutter speed as high as possible. Exposure was set to -0.3 or 0.0. ISO was also raised to 800 - Nikon seems to have got this key area under control now and 800 or even higher creates miniscule amounts of noise (graininess).

The action shots are Chiffchaffs flying down to the water (actually Helston sewage of course) and pecking insects from the surface, similar to the method used by hirundines. I took 551 shots to get these three. The autofocus couldn't work fast enough so I put the lens into manual focus, pointed at the favoured area and just waited until the phylosc flew to that 12 inch depth/area.

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