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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

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Teesdale / Weardale Dec 12th

Decided to go up the dales for a change and went straight to the area where the Black Grouse show most frequent. I found the males straight away 11 of them sat on a wall 120 yards away. I tried some distant scope shots but only moderate results. I got farmers permission to walk so far down his drive and got to within 80 yards or so and got half decent shots. Then I had a drive round the back roads and noticed a lot of pheasants, and want I assumed initially to female pheasants on the verge of the road as I drove past they flew up, and I noticed the female black grouse - very close. They flew onto a wall in full sunlight and I managed to get my scope out and got some great shots from about 15 yards - brilliant!

I then drove over the moor to Weardale and had a look at Tunstall Res where a Black Throated Diver had been present for a week or so. I managed to find it and Hillary (photographer) was also photographing it. However it would not come very close. I walked around the lake to the other side but it was very wary even through the woodland it noticed me. Light was also bad on this side so only moderate shots.

Seaton Ponds Dec 5th

Had a ride up to Seaton Ponds area to try and find the Short Eared Owls that had been much reported. Had trouble finding Seaton Pond to start with as my sat nav and map took me down a track which looked like it would get to the area but was gated off at a farm. But eventually found it and was straight on to the owls, which were sheltering from the wind in the hedgebacks to north of the road. Too far to digiscope! However after a while I spotted another sat on the hedge near a farm, I went to the farm road and luckily it was a public footpath which enable me to get closer, managed to scope 4 photos from 60 yards away, before the farm dogs scared the owl and me off.
Happy, I went down to Hartlepool to sea if Great Northern Diver was there, however no luck as yachts were in the harbour. A quick look down to Saltholme was less fruitful as a Bittern had been reported, went to check it out and after 2 hours I gave up as a storm was building. - Got this nice Kestrel though.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Jacksons Landing Hartlepool and Saltholme

Took a flexi day off, and decided to go to Hartlepool, if there were no birds of interest around then the sea would provide good photos as there had been a good north wind blowing for a couple of days.
On the way I stopped off at Crookfoot resevoir where immediately I saw 2 female smew thought they were very skittish. Then had a look for the Little Owl at Pudding Poke Farm. It was playing hide and seek, popping in and out of its hole, manage some nice pics with my camera from the car.

Then down to Jacksons Landing, to see if anything had taken shelter from the rough seas. There were 6 Red Breasted Mergansers and saw a diver in the middle of the harbour - it was a Great Northern Diver and same as last year it swam round and round the harbour occasionally coming very close. Managed to digiscope it a few times, also got some bum shots as it dived.

Then down to Saltholme where someone immediately said there was a Hooded Merganser close to the Reception building. I had a look saw how close it was and quickly went back to get my scope. What a great find this was - although the light was fading and the wind was blowing making the tripod vibrate - still I got a couple of decent shots of it. What a great day it was!!

Clara Vale - Sat 28th Nov

I went early to Clara Vale hoping that I would be first in this small hide, and arrived just after dawn. Too late already 2 in there which means its almost full. Managed to squeeze in and set my scope up and waited for a Kingfisher to show - and waited and waited.
Bits were starting to turn blue, when a kingfisher finally showed after a couple of hours, but was at far end of lake 180 yards away - I put the scope on full zoom and took a couple of pics ok but not brilliant, the guys with there Canon 400 lenses didn`t have a hope of getting a shot.

Eventually the Kingfisher worked its way up the pool and eventually landed on the closest perch about 8 yards away and was immediately chased by another kingfisher which turned up out of the blue then dissappeared. But the Kingfisher did retun and we all got some great shots - except the guy who killed his batteries.

A bullfinch landed in some long reeds about 40 yards away which also made a great pic.

Had a quick look down to far pastures and saw 6 snipe and a buzzard being mobbed by crows over Thornley Woods
Fairly quite at Thornley Woods although there were a couple of redpoll in the tops of the trees and a fly through sparrowhawk.

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire