About Me

My photo
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

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Gran Canaria - Part 2

The dunes were proving too hot for both me and the birds in between 11 and 4 as very little showed and I was burning my feet on the sand.
One night we had a little rain and the wind swung to the east, the next morning there were quite a lot of Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Chiffchaffs and various warblers around - I assume on migration, but I still did not expect the migration to hit the Canaries.
I did not see a shrike for the next couple of days - although it would have been there somewhere.
I then saw it on top of the tree where I had photographed it earlier in the week, again I went to climb the dune but it flew 50 yards to another bush, then another where it took a small bird and tried to carry it, but it was dropped and the Shrike did not return to it.  I went to see what the dead bird was and it turned out to be a female Pied Flycatcher.

It wasnt until the last day that I came across a Southern Grey Shrike low down and about 30 yards away.  I decided to stalk this one to get as close as possible to it. I circled around it to get the sun at my back (it had just risen), and I moved closer to it, taking a couple of strides only when it looked away from me, then stopping as it looked back.  I moved to one side so my long shadow didnt go over the bird and spook it. It took me about 10 minutes to cover the 20  yards or so - I was now in a position to get good photos. (If I was digiscoping I would not have had to do this).  I believe the bird had just woken up and had not started hunting yet - I am really pleased with the result - particularly because I had so work had to get them.
 

On my return to the hotel I checked the lagoon out and was surprised to see a Spoonbill sat there, again I used the bushes and sun to give me cover to get as close as possible.

I then noticed a number of small birds in the bushes - Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, Sardinian Warblers and many Chiffchaffs, in the distance what I thought was a Desert Wheatear - but I lost sight of that and then a pair of Whincats were flying from bush to bush.




This final morning was the best of them all - and then there were still the Hoopoes working both the dunes and the hotel lawns.

 

Gran Canaria (part 1)

On a weeks holiday to Gran Canaria I had 2 main target species to photograph, the lovely Hoopoe and the Southern Grey Shrike, anything else would be a bonus.
There is a nice lagoon area at Maspalomas and the first bird that I saw there was a Greater Flamingo - a real rarity for the island, however this one has been there for some time apparently.
After a while I went to the east side of the lagoon where I have seen Shrikes before and again I immediately see a Shrike on top of a tall tree on top of a big dune.  It is hard work climbing up these dunes and in 30 degree heat.  I managed a couple of nice shots, but as always I wanted better. 

There were also Sardinian Warblers flitting between bushes and immediately disappearing.
On the way back from the beach I saw a Hoopoe fly across the lagoon and I made a mental note of the location and time it landed - as it turned out the Hoopoe would be easier than I thought
At the hotel I was sat outside the room and a Hoopoe landed for a moment on the lawn - right in front of me. Wow!
 

So I got my camera out again and did a tour of the hotels lawns - and I found 2 Hoopoes feeding together, and I was able to get withing 6 feet of them. Brilliant. Almost too close as I was looking down on them. So I sat down to get real low and put the camera at ground level - the Hoopoe came closer.  The only downside was that the birds were keeping to the shade all of the time.
I saw the birds take grubs, caterpillars, and cockroaches.




























These results were much better than I thought I would get of the Hoopoe, an interesting thing was when the Hoopoe swallowed something it made a low grunting noise as if to say "mmmmm that was nice". The birds gave me a nice diversion when I was at the hotel. However I needed to get a better shot of the Southern Grey Shrike.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Bollihope Little Owl

I spent this morning trying to get a decent photo of a Green Woodpecker in my favourite location. However although I got some shots of it they are not worth posting. This woodpecker is so elusive and sharp eyed it is presenting a real challenge to get a good shot.



Then I moved up to Bollihope to see if the Little Owl was at home, and it posed wonderfully for me in the sunshine, these are some of the best Little Owl shots I have. These were digiscoped and I have tried a digiscope panarama shot, stitching 2 photos together - I think it has worked well.
 
I also saw 3 Common Buzzards, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tree Creeper, Dipper and Grey Wagtail at various locations

Friday, 7 September 2012

Kingfisher


I decided to have one final attempt to see the kingfishers at Low Barns for the year. Today they showed really well on and off for about an hour and half.  There were 2 flying about chasing each other, however it was mainly the female that was coming to the perches, catching fish and bashing them before swallowing them head first. 

At one point the Kingfisher swallowed a Stickleback then was having obvious problem getting it down, it then regurgitated the fish and continued to bash it on the branch - I asume to remove the spines on the fish.  All of these were digiscoped apart from the flying shot below
 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Little Owl - Weardale

I had a tour of Teesdale and Weardale today, again searching for the elusive Merlin - no joy there. I got distracted with a Green Woodpecker, trying to get close enough for a photo, but I only got poor record shots of it.

  But it was good to see in this location after about a years absence.  Other notable birds were Black Grouse, Ring Ouzel (female), family of Goldcrests, Great Spotted Woodpecker,

and this lovely Little Owl who posed nicely to be digiscoped about 20 yards away - but it was up a height.
Then I spent an hour at Low Barns to see if the Kingfisher showed - which it did for about 2 minutes it dived into the water 4 times unsuccessfully, I think the weed is getting too thick for it now.

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire