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

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Gambia Holiday Part 2

On our first guided trip we went to Brufut Woods with a guide - Modou from the Senegambia Hotel.
When we got to the Woods there was another guide waiting for us, he had the local knowledge to find the 2 birds that we were really keen on finding - the Verreaux's Eagle Owl and the Long Tailed Nightjar
KLASS'S CUCKOO
One of the first birds we found was a beautiful Klass's Cuckoo, its tiny in comparison with our Common Cuckoo, and its green colouring made it real difficult to see.  There were also a couple of Yellow Crowned Gonoleks close by which is a member of the Shrike family (formerly known as the Barbary Shrike), it is stunning.

Everywhere we turned there were new species of birds for us, 4 species of Woodpecker, Palm Nut Vultures, Shikra, Bronze Winged Courser (a real find).
Harrier hawk
Eventually we went deeper into the wood and the guide found the Verreaux's Eagle Owl - there were in fact 3 of them, however seeing them was real difficult as they were about 40 feet up above the lower canopy, we had view through a small window in the leaves.
Verreaux's Eagle Owl
After a break in the shade we went off to find the Long Tailed Nightjar, amazingly the guide went straight to it, word must spread where it roosts. It was typically wonderfully camouflaged and just sat tight as we took photos.
Long Tailed Nightjar

Without a guide there was no chance of finding these last to species, one would just walk straight past.
 Grey Woodpecker

Friday, 29 March 2013

Gambia Holiday

Abyssinian Roller
I have had a week break in the Gambia, not specifically a birding holiday, but of course I had my camera and there were loads of birds around, so who can resist.
I was up with the birds every morning until breakfast, then we either had a tour or took a walk. Then afternoons by the pool or beach. Nice and relaxing.
Abyssinian Roller
The birding was phenominal - I saw 138 species in just a week, many of which  were in the hotel gardens.
The Gambia is well set up for birdwatchers, as most hotels have a guide, also guides are available at the Gambian Bird Guide Association at Kotu Bridge.
To become an official guide they have to train for 3 years and then pass exams, so they are extremely proficient at what they do.
Bearded Barbet
Without the guides a tourist there simply would not see as many birds let alone identify them.
In the Senegambia Hotel there was an Abyssinian Roller hunting most mornings and afternoons, and I swear I could have reached out and touched it, it was so approachable.
Beautiful Sunbird
The hotel also contained many other species such as Blue Breasted Kingfisher, Pearl Spotted Owlet, Broad Billed Roller, Yellow Billed Shrike, Harrier Hawk, Bearded Barbet, Beautiful Sunbirds as well as many others including the abundant Black Kites and Hooded vultures.
Blue Breasted Kingfisher
This is the first of a few posts of photos from the Gambia
All photos were taken using a Canon SX50 bridge camera, as I did not want to risk taking the scope.



Monday, 11 March 2013

More Black Grouse - in the snow this time

I still havent caught the grouse lekking this year, not surprised today, it was just on the limits of not being able to get there. All of the high moor roads were closed.  On the way up here I helped a lady who had put her car into the hedge back - car totalled.  Good deed for the day.

The grouse looked good in the snow and again they came quite close to me. They were kicking the snow out of the way to get to there breakfast.  There was some show of animosity amongst them - but they were more interested in feeding than scrapping.

There were also 2 Kingfishers at Low Barns - a male and female.  The female has been there all winter. But this is the first time I have seen a male there for 4 or 5 months.  A good sign of things to come.

Little Owl - Weardale Quarry

I went up to a site in Weardale that held a Little Owl all year last year, just to see if it had survived the winter or moved on.
Happily after 30 minutes of searching I found it peeking over the edge of a ledge at me, I moved locations to get a better view, but it meant I was further away.
Glad to see it is still there - it has been quite snowy and cold where he lives. These were taken from 80 yards away and the bottom photo was on full 60x zoom on the scope - not cropped.

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire