After trying and failing last weekend I was back at Rutland Water this morning. As I pulled into the car park at Egleton at 08.30 I could see Roger Davis, Dave Scott and Rod Baker amongst others scoping and photographing the trees above the toilet block. Result! The Hawfinch was there, problem as the light and as the light got better the Hawfinch moved further back before vanishing completely. Oh well, I think my digiscoped and iPhone shots came out best but see what you think.
The first two digiscoped.
These next two were shot on the Canon 40D and processed in Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop. They’re pretty heavy crops as well…
This last one was taken on the iPhone 4S using Kowa’s excellent TSN-IP4S adaptor through a Kowa 883 Spotting Scope with the 30x WW lens. I’m well chuffed with the quality.
Finally a bit of HD video again taken on the iPhone with Kowa TSN-IP4S and using the FiLMiC Pro app.
Posted in Bird Recording, Bird Watching, Birding, Canon 40D, Digiscoping, iPhone 4S, Kowa 883, Kowa TSN-IP4S, Rutland Water, Video Digiscoping
Tagged Canon 40D, Digiscoping, Hawfinch, Kowa 883, Kowa TSN-IP4S, Rutland Water, Video Digiscoping
I headed down to Watermead Country Park South hoping for a bit of vismig action. It seemed to start well as a Grey Wagtail flew SW… species one in the book. 10 minutes later the bloody Wagtail flew back and proceeded to bimble about around the lakes. For the next hour apart from 250 House Martin a few Sand Martin and a load of Swallow feeding there wasn’t a bird in the skies. One calling Chiffchaff was the only migrant of note.
My attention switched to doing a bit of digiscoping. After recent discussions and a few trials I’ve settled on this technological arrangement.
I use an alignment collar from SRB-Griturn, this allows me to get things lined up very quickly whilst watching a bird and not get too bogged down with fiddly bits while the bird has bogged off, doubtless alarmed at all the cursing that went with trying to put on a digiscoping sleeve.
I also use a bracket arrangement for a cable release which sadly is not shown here… I forgot to put it on!
The purists don’t really like the use of laggy bands but it’s working for me so I’m happy. More expensive/robust systems just don’t deliver the same results.
Here are a few images I took this morning… sadly there really wasn’t anything smaller flitting about to try with.
A late start this morning due to alcohol consumption the night before. A brief stop at Micky D’s for a Bacon Roll meal and I took a call from Dave who was vismigging at Watermead… any chance the tiny passage of birds might tempt me to change my plans? No way.
I was soon over at Eyebrook Reservoir and watching a VC55 lifer. It’s a bloody long time since I last saw a Kentish Plover in Britain, 1997 in fact. There have been plenty abroad since then but not here. A great find by Roger Davis, Dave Gray et al. Once again when seen in juvenile plumage I have to say I’m with the Yanks on names – Snowy Plover is so much better especially when the fly.
Here’s a bit of distant footage, video-digiscoped at 50x and full zoom on the camera.
The Pectoral Sandpiper that’s been present since Friday has had to make do with playing second fiddle.
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!
I hadn’t taken the DSLR this morning figuring, rightly, that the Ruff would be a bit distant. These two Migrant Hawkers perched up quite nicely to allow a bit of insect digiscoping. I’m quite pleased with the results.
A good few Southern Hawker as well on the wing today.
Last week when I made an ill-fated attempt to get Ring-billed Gull on my County list I bumped into Paul ‘Oldonamo’ Powell and Chris ‘Big ‘Un’ Lythall in Dunlin Hide. With no Ring-billeds to tick off on my bird-spotting list I had to content myself with trying to digiscope the beautiful 2S Mediterranean Gulls on show. The ‘Big ‘Un’ was also digiscoping away and getting some good crisp shots whereas I was getting frustrated by a set-up that rarely focused well. Thankfully Chris put me right with my camera set-up and away I went.
Now I can maybe start digiscoping with some confidence… here are a couple of early offerings. The Med Gulls were taken on 8 April 2010.
What superb Gulls…
This more distant Green Woodpecker was taken at Cossington Meadows on Sunday 11 April 2010.
This Little Ringed Plover was taken a few minutes later on Tern Pool.