About Me

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I have been digiscoping for around 18 years now and through persistence and good equipment I am getting great results. I use a Swarovski 80hd spotting scope and a Sony RX100 camera which has just replaced my old faithful Nikon P5100. The majority of my bird watching takes place in County Durham in England which has a variety of different habitats from coast to moors. Digiscoping is great because it allows me to get good photos without disturbing birds. VIEW THE LATEST PHOTOBOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Costa Rica - Great Potoo

Great Potoo
This was a one of my target birds, and I quickly let Jehudi know that I wanted to see one, I thought that it was a big ask, and looking at Yehudi's face I think he thought it was too.
He did say that there was a possibility when we went up to Arenal.
Well, when we got to the location it didn,t look very promising.  There were major roadworks exactly where Yehudi said he expected to see the Potoo.
Everybody started searching the trees after about 20 minutes our driver Rodrigo had picked something up, he called Yehudi over to have a look, yes!! it was a Great Potoo.
It was about 80 yards away though and very difficult to get any closer, and high up in a large tree, with a wind blowing, my hopes of getting a good photo of it were pretty slim, even by digiscoping it.
I tried various settings and magnifications in the hope that a few may be useable.
At one point I even went up the partly made up road to try and get a better angle, but it got worse, and my feet were sinking in up to my ankles.
However I am pretty please with these shots, yes they are cropped in and a bit of manipulation, Thanks to our guide and driver I saw this target bird, and what a weird bird it is.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Part 2 Costa Rica

I am not sure how many parts there are going to be - serves me right for taking so many photos.  But this just reflects the quality of bird watching in Costa Rica where we saw over 325 species of birds in two weeks, plus a few extra ones on our third week at Quepos.

Just a few Hummingbird shots from our first week, there will be a couple more hummers when I get further with the processing of the photos. (We saw a total of 25 species of Hummingbird)
Hummingbirds are so difficult to identify - male and female are completely different, plumage varies with age, and the way the sun catches them changes their colour, then the can fluff feathers up to flash various crests or gorgets which again change colour depending on the angle you look at them.
So some of these id's could be wrong - please let me know if you know the names are wrong (Yehudi!).
 Magnificent Hummingbird

 Magnificent Hummingbird

 Magnificent Hummingbird

Violet Headed Hummingbird

Fiery Throated Hummingbird
Fiery Throated Hummingbird

Monday, 13 March 2017

Costa Rica Birding 1

So, updating my blog didn't go as planned, I had trouble updating the blog from another country - again.
Also was enjoying the holiday too much to get into the tech side of things - didnt touch a phone for 3 weeks - it was great!
I am just going to upload a few photos with brief comments rather otherwise the blogs will take ages to read.
Thanks to Yehudi and Rodrigo for guiding and driving us around Costa Rica - it was great, and to Cotinga Tours for arranging everything for us - it went very smoothly - except when we were trapped in the hotel by road workers.

Our tour took us to:

  • Cerro de la Muerte / Savegre area
  • Villa Lapas / Carara area
  • Guanacaste 
  • Arenal
  • Selva Verde
  • Tortuguero
  • Finally we had a few days recovery at Quepos / Manuel Antonio
Birding usually started before 6:00am everyday with a break around lunchtime then out again around 14:00, we also had a couple of evenings owl watching - which proved very successful.
There were 9 of us on the tour 4 Brits, 3 Americans and 2 Aussies so there were differing levels of knowledge of the birds - the best of who was an 80 year American woman - Dorothy, who was very switched on and was interested in getting new birds (and she knew which ones she wanted).

So onto some birds photos.

 Female Resplendant Quetzal - at Finca Mirador los Quetzales.  They did prove hard to find and although I did see a male it was very brief and I didn't manage a photo of it. Even this female was a difficult bird to photo as it was so obscured by foliage.

 Scarlet Macaws - Carara.  When we stopped at the hotel here almost immediately we saw some Macaws flying over the river and perching in a tree.  Then late we found this nest hole with these 2 wise old birds looking out of it.

Slaty Tailed Trogon - Villa Lapas. We saw a total of 6 species of Trogon in all - which of course includes the Quetzal.
 Long Tailed Silky Flycatcher - Savegre. This was one of my target birds and although we saw them in a few places in the area this was about the best shot I got of one.

Sunday, 5 February 2017


Check out my latest Year book for 2016
Birds of North East England 2016


Photo gear is all packed away ready for a trip to Costa Rica, where I hope to see plenty of species - hopefully will top 300 birds in the 3 weeks that I am there.
Trying to come up with a target list is difficult as I want to see everything - I wish.

However three target birds I have short listed are - these are not my photos -  I hope mine will be as good.

1. Long Tailed Silky Flycatcher - a beautiful bird, I think we should see.
 Photographer Steven Easley

2. Any of the Potoos - a weird bird that again there is a good chance of seeing. Its so funny
 Unknown photographer

3 Ornate Hawk Eagle - a rare bird - we could see

 Photographer Octavio Campus Salles

For those interested keep a check on my blog, I will update it when I can throughout my holiday, and where connection allows it

Monday, 30 January 2017

RSPB Salthome - various birds

Not sure where to go this weekend I decided to would hedge my bets and have a trip to RSPB Saltholme.
First call was to see if there were any more Long Eared Owls around, if there was I couldn't find them, but the usual Owl was sat on his normal branch, I showed a young guy where it was to save him accidentally disturbing it. He was real happy with seeing it.
Then I tried for the Water Pipits at Dormans Pool that had been reported the day before - without any luck.
Then I moved onto RSPB Saltholme reserve and called in at the Phil Stead hide, to practice with my new Nikon P900.
There was a Black Swan right in front of the hide, I am not sure what the history of this bird is, it has been around Saltholme for  long while now. An unusual bird.
There were also 2 drake Pintails showing off to a couple of females - is there a more elegant duck in the UK?
 The drake is now in full breeding plumage and he was pulling some moves on the female, but typically she was playing coy. This was photographed at over 100 yards (digiscoped) it was just too far for the Nikon P900
 The Teal are also in full  breeding plumage now and are looking at their best, my Nikon camera performed well on these, giving me my best photos of Teal ever

The was also a pair of Kestrels hunting around the entrance to the reserve which gave me chance to test the camera out on a flying (hovering) bird.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Low Barns Bittern and Kingfisher

After a quiet early morning in upper Teesdale I went to Low Barns to practice with my new camera, not expecting a great deal bird wise
However an unexpected Bittern decided to show quite well, as well as a Kingfisher showing.  I managed to digiscope both birds.
It was cold in the hide but I waited around for the Bittern to keep showing.
What a bonus it was.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Black Grouse - Teesdale

While the lower levels of County Durham were covered in thick mist and hovering around freezing, I went to upper Teesdale to see if I could escape the fog and get some bird watching done.
Just passed Staindrop the fog cleared and the temperature rose to around 6 degrees and bright sunshine.
I had a tour round and managed to find these Black Grouse.
There was no sign of any lekking occuring, perhaps I was too late despite being there just after sunrise. They will lek in the dark.
However the males were looking splendid in the bright sunshine.
Apart from a few flocks of fieldfare 2 fly over Crossbills and a couple of Kestrels I saw little else. But I was concentrating on the Black Grouse and managed to get fairly close to them by letting them come to me as they fed.

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire