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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, 29 May 2011


Went for my first visit of the year to my favourite location today, I deliberately leave this place undisturbed until May, this wood really attracts some birds and today was no exception.

My first surprise was a bird that was sat on an old dead tree, when I got my bins on it I saw it was a Cuckoo. There was little cover between me and the bird so I set my scope up quickly and quietly and got a couple of shots - not ideal as the clouds were bright white behind it. I edged closer keeping tight against a wall - about 30 yards away now - took another couple of shots

Then closer still - its unusual to get this close to a Cuckoo. 25 yards I set tripod up and my shutter release jammed - I had to put my hand up to the camera - and the bird saw me and flew - moving your hands is like waving flags at a bird or animal. I moved out from the wall and a female Cuckoo had been sat on it - she flew too - I never saw her until that moment. - I'm well please not only to see the Cuckoo but to stalk so close to it was rewarding too

Other birds in the wood included Buzzard, about 10 Spotted Flycatchers, at least 2 Pied Flycatchers heard, Green Woodpecker - heard then seen flying away - typically. This place is so productive at this time of year.

Not sharing it though - lol.

Saltholme and Greatham Creek

I called in to see kingfishers at the Tees Barrage, and the male was passing fish to the female, I tried for photos but the wind was playing havoc with the scope and all pictures were blurry - its easily over a 100 yards to where they were, and it doesnt look like you can get closer without disturbing them. I went to see if I could find Spoonbills again this week after they were reported from Wednesday, but again no success - I think they must come here on mid week specials and go back home at weekends.

Then I called into the Phil Stead hide at Saltholme trying to get out of rain and wind - saw a Greenshank and a fox there.

A Little Egret was feeding at the far end of the pool, the wind was ruffling its feathers up and made it look quite stunning, shame it was so far away.

Then went up to Greatham Creek, still some Avocets sat on nests and Common Terns also sat on nests on the island. The Avocets kept squabbling with each other.

It was very windy and squally, so just went to see the common seals as they were hauled up closer to the road than I have ever seen them before. They were moulting their skins and were forever scatching themselves. Still a nice sight.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Lockwood Beck

After reports of Spoonbills at Coatham Marsh yesterday I decided on an early morning to try and photograph them but unfortunately they must have just been passing through, so I thought I would try for the Osprey at Lockwood Beck Resevoir, as it had been seen all week fishing there. I spent about 3 hours, sat lazily on a bench in the watery sunlight - but typically the Osprey didnt turn up.

I was kept occupied watching the house martins collecting mud from the side of the resevoir, and had some practice taking action shots of them flying in and out. The only other thing of interest was a pair of beautiful Grey Wagtails flitting back and forth to a nest in a wall.

Despite missing out on two rarities, it was really nice and relaxing watching the fisherman catching rainbow trout, and basking out of the wind in the sun

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Shore Lark and Wood Sandpiper

A quick trip to North Gare produce a Shore Lark. Despite a couple of heavy showers the Shore Lark showed quite well feeding on the disused part of the Golf Course, with Linnets and Wheatears.

Then I went down to RSPB Saltholme to see if the Wood Sandpiper was still there, it was, near the new bird hide.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Nightingale - Cowpen Bewley


Went to see /listen to the Nightingale at Cowpen Bewley this morning not really expecting to see it as it been hiding so well. However after 10 minutes I located it sat in a willow tree. It sang wonderfully for nearly half an hour before dropping down into the bush.


What a star and such a rarity in County Durham.

Then went on to Saltholme, saw Yellow Wagtails, Greenshank, Goldeneye, and Common Tern.

Then up to Greatham Creek to see how the Avocet are doing where the Lapwings were bullying the Avocets, because the Lapwings had chick wandering around, normally the Avocet is the aggressor however many of them were still sat on the nests.
Then up to Crimdon Beach where I saw about 40 Little Terns - they were flying really high up to start with calling all the time, then they settled on the edge of the sea for a while before some went to the breeding area. Lets hope they get a chance to breed succesfully this year.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Bollihope and Tunstall

Weardale - Ring Ouzels, Dippers, and Pied Flycatchers

After an early start taking a Dawn Chorus walk around Low Barns (dissappointing number of birds but a good turn out of people), I headed up to Bollihope area first to see if there were many Ring Ouzels about before people started turning up. Saw 6 in total 2 female and 4 male -


probably more females sat on nests somewhere.

Searched for a singing male for ages - I could tell he was in tree right above me but couldnt see it until it flew out and landed 30 yards away to feed. I was stood out in the open and unusually this bird did not mind too much.

I also saw a dipper down by the wood at Bollihope, then onto Tunstall Res. to search for Redstart and Pied Flycatchers. I heard 3 Redstarts and saw 2 but could I heck get the scope on them. On the way out I saw 2 Pied Flycatchers - and 1 posed nicely.

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire