The Drunkbirder TV

Sorry, for anyone coming here to find a bit of cross-dressing, you’re out of luck.

At the Birdfair, Dave and I attended a couple of digiscoping events led by James Lees and Dale Forbes. The first was on video digiscoping. To those not in the know that means using the video function on your compact camera. James and Dale give very good reason why we should video digiscope  birds. The first is you have a record of something good you saw that day which captures far more than a mere photo. Secondly in poor light the video mode will always take better shots. Thirdly if you camera has HD video you can get some really stunning results.

Today, after a spell of vismigging at Watermead Country Park South I decided to test out some of the lessons… I’m still learning. Here’s my first attempt, a Common Whitethroat.

As recommended I’d set the focus to macro but I hadn’t underexposed for the strong light but not a bad first attenpt.

Another compelling reason to video digiscope, and James stressed that on finding a rarity we should get some footage BEFORE phoning out news as it’s no good saying it’s showing well if it’s done a bunk somewhere and you’ve nothing to prove the record. Wise words really. He also says, again quite rightly and totally logically that so much of what we try and describe can be seen on video (and heard if you record sound). We can also hopefully use the footage to rule out confusion species or hybrids (Eurasian x American Wigeon hybrids by the underwing was his example.

Here this juvenile Blackbird does a wing stretch… imagine if this got a Sibe Thrush accepted?

Finally, and I know there’s no rare here but this shows, just, that there were two Lesser Whitethroat present.

The talk really made me think in a fundamentally different way now about digiscoping and how ironic that the pioneers were using video cameras but trying to get stills!

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3 responses to “The Drunkbirder TV

  1. Hi John,
    I have been known to use the video function on my Samsung NV3 at times, mainly due to poor light for getting stills, or for birds that are too mobile to digiscope otherwise. Once got some footage of a hovering Common Kestrel at Ballycotton, and was able to take stills off of the footage and see that the bird was a juvenile, due to pale tips to the primary coverts etc…had that been a female-type Lesser, say, and the video had allowed me to capture the wing formula, it could have made all the difference between acceptance and rejection if the bird then left before the big lens brigade could get there.
    That said, on my camera at least, one cannot zoom in on the footage, in the same way as one can crop pics, so any birds at moderate distance will always look quite small in the frame.

  2. thedrunkbirder

    I’m definitely a convert Harry. I’m yet to master any kind of editing software though. It’s something I must learn to a. take stills like you say and b. crop out rubbish or add together a sequence… The Drunkbirder : The Movie anyone?

  3. thedrunkbirder

    By the way Harry, I’ll link you to The Drunkbirder tonight if you’d link to me.

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