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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

Friday, 5 August 2016

More Hobbies

On my way home from working in the South East I called in to see how the Hobby young were progressing.

On arrival I saw that both of the adults were quite active around the nest site, flying and calling.  I knew that they were trying to get the young birds to fly by their behavior.

After a while the adult female flew to a tree about 30 yards from the nest tree and kept calling.  All 3 young were quite active - out of nest and walking over the crown of the tree.

Finally a young bird made a leap and flapped furiously and made it to the same tree as the parent with a clumsy landing .

This was great and was the reason why I kept going back to the location.  After a while the female flew off to the edge of  a pine wood and the young bird followed.

Eventually all 3 young ended up in this wood about 120 yards away and more.

The light was great, little wind and it was just the perfect morning.



Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Hobbies in Bedfordshire

Unfortunately I have been having to work away from home a lot this summer, but an upside of this means that I have been able to visit a Hobby location where they have a nest and currently feeding 3 young birds.
Unlike the last post where it was miserable cold weather that affected the photos, in Bedfordshire it was hot humid weather which caused a heat shimmer which made it difficult to get great photos.
I saw the Hobbies taking young birds and dragonflies back to the nest.
But I think the hot weather affected how often the adults were going out hunting.
Sometimes the birds would perch about 120 yards away on the edge of a wood, but other times they came closer and with care it was possible to get good shots
These are one of my favourite birds of prey and I can not resist going to see them.
The young birds should fledge in the next week or so, this may allow opportunity for great photos, unless they disappear from the location altogether.

 I will check them out again next week on the way down to Kent

Merlin from Scotland

Spent a little time watching this family of Merlin in a location in Scotland.  The young had fledged perhaps a week earlier and were zipping about the valley like adults.  However they did come to rest on various rocks from time to time, but were fairly distant
The weather was foul with wind, rain and low light, so the photos are just record shots really. But they were great to see.
Also there were a number of Hen Harriers about with males food passing, young and female birds in the air.
An excellent site

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Redstarts

After 3 years of waiting I finally have a Redstart in one of my secret bird boxes.  In the previous years I have had Pied Flycatchers and Coal Tits, but never a Redstart.
I put them up there specifically for Redstarts.

Yesterday when I went to the wood I could see the male and female taking food into the box.
I edged myself to within range to digiscope them
Initially there were a few warning calls, but they soon settled down and were feeding the young without interuption.
There were a couple of challenges to getting good photos, firstly the light, it was really quite misty / foggy, which meant slow shutter speeds (that is why the tails are blurred - as they keep flicking the tail).

Secondly there were other birds distracting me, a Cuckoo called so close to me it made me jump, a sparrowhawk whizzed twice through the wood, and also a Green Woodpecker was calling not too far away.
But I managed to stay focussed on the Redstarts.
The female was feeding the young at a 4 to 1 ratio compared with the male.  And she was bringing back a bigger beak full of insects.



The insects varied from flies to caterpillars to crane flies.  These young are going to  be well fed, particularly when it warms up a bit - still only 11 degrees - in mid June, thats crazy!!




I am really pleased that I have provided boxes that have helped to introduce another 6 Redstarts into the world.


Sunday, 5 June 2016

Yorkshire dales bird treat

Pete took me to his secret cuckoo spot this morning, he said "just stand and a cuckoo will land in a bush". Yeah right, the bush was about 12 yards away!!!!

We heard cuckoos in the hour or so before one showed up. I was absolutely amazed to see a cuckoo land initially about 40 yards away, then it moved into the bush that Pete said it would.  I was gobsmacked.

I got loads of photos of it . Cheers Pete mate
Then it was up to see some Peregrines.


The Location is well known and the young are almost ready to fly.  They are fantastic to see no matter how many times I come up to see them.

The day was topped off with a fantastic Redstart.




Monday, 23 May 2016

Ring Ouzels in Weardale

I had intended to go to two or three locations today and started off by trying to find some Ring Ouzels,  well, it never turned out that way.
I went to the a Ring Ouzel location and immediately heard a male singing his heart out. It was perched above a quarry wall on a fence post.  I continued up river hoping for some more accessible Ouzels, but found none.
So back to the original bird and a female was also showing now too.
I sat down and watched them from about 60 yards away, when the male flew right over my head and landed behind me somewhere, the female followed.  I waited.
Sure enough both birds returned above the quarry then dropped down onto the cliff face - I lost them - surely they were feeding young birds still in the nest.
Eventually I returned to the car which was parked on a grass meadow, I sat in the car with the scope set up outside the car and the Ouzels both came down to hunt for worms on the meadow - there was no need to walk miles up river - they were feeding by the roadside.
This is just a selection of he shots I got of the male, the female was more wary than the male who was quite bold - at least for a Ring Ouzel.


I never did go to my other two planned locations, I spent hours watching these two collect food, time and again they came back to the meadow to collect worms, grubs and catterpillars.  So the Redstarts will have to wait for next weekend

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Red Backed Shrike - Holy Island

On a short break into Northumberland, I checked out the bird reports and noticed that a Red Backed Shrike had been seen in Embleton, so we tried to find it without any success- we just didn't know where to look.
The next day we travelled up to Holy Island again I checked out the bird reports, only to find that a Red Backed Shrike had turned up there as well.
After a chat with some other bird watchers we found the Shrike in the garden of a vicarage, which meant we had to view the bird over the garden wall at the back.
This was probably just as well, as it ensured that photographers kept their distance and the Shrike remained undisturbed for at least 3 days.
The bird was finding plenty of bees to feed on, although I did see it chasing a goldfinch.
I am happy with the shots that I digiscoped, and others with dSLR's got good shots too, but obliviously not as much zoom that I managed with my digiscope set up.
We also went to see a Bluethroat that was reported on the island, and although I did see it briefly I did not manage to get a photo of it, this is where the guys with the dSLR's beat me. But it did show very briefly and is a first for me in the UK.
However down at Hartlepool over the same period a Red Spotted Bluethroat turned up and put on an unbelievable show, and people got great photos of that.  Just shows that you can't be in two places at once.  I was happy though


Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire