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, 27 July 2013

Freedom at Last!!

After spending months unable to drive I have been given the go ahead, so at last I can drive myself about. I'm like caged animal being released.
So after I went up to Teesdale earlier in the week with a friend and finding a small population of Whinchats, I returned myself with my scope to get some better shots of them
It was a little windy and there was a heat haze, so conditions were not ideal, but at least it was sunny.
The first birds I came across were a pair of Ring Ouzels which flew from underneath the bracken to the other side of the valley.
A little further on I could hear the young Whinchats calling to be fed. They were all over the place, on both sides of the valley.
I set my scope up as the parents were perched higher up the hill, aware of me they were keeping their distance.
After a couple of minutes they came closer, allowing me to take some nice shots. The breeze had picked up and caused a vibration on my scope.  I soon moved further down the valley to minimize the disturbance.
I then came across a young Grey Wagtail, just starting to get some colour to it. Then Dipper flew 20 yards down the stream and settled in the shadows. I got my binoculars on to it, this also was a young bird.
My attention was then grabbed by a Merlin flying over the path about 100 yards away, it disappeared onto the moors.  This followed two sightings of it on the previous Monday.
I  retraced my steps and spent a few more minutes with the Whinchats getting photos of the male and female and a young bird which happily sat up on a stem.
A great day out, at a difficult time of year for birding
I have decided I need to get a carbon fibre tripod to dampen vibrations - but which is the question??

A couple of shots from Monday where Pete and myself had a good tour of Teesdale.
An early start only met that we were in the early mist and visibility was poor to start, but the Golden Plovers looked great in the dew.

We saw Redstart, Black Grouse, Lapwings, Pete saw a small raptor in a quarry near Cow Green Resevoir - a probable Merlin and we both saw a large raptor flying directly away from us eventually with trees hiding it, it flew over the ridge, we believe it was a possible Osprey, there were loads of Meadow Pipits around too. 
A change of location and we came across a definite Merlin, Whinchat, Ring Ouzel, Red Grouse, Mistle Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, and Stonechat.
While Pete took a walk up a valley in search of more Ring Ouzel, I had to make do with hunting a quarry and found this fella still living there.
 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

More Kingfishers at Far Pasture

On the return trip from Northumberland I called in at Far Pasture to see Kingfishers again, this time there were two, a male and a young bird which had been ringed.
Someone had put another pole in - close to the hide which the bird was happy to use to fish from.
I managed a few decent shots however it seemed to always have its back to the hide.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Farne Islands

Farne Islands -  Northumberland
With the good weather I decided to have a ride up to Northumberland and have a trip out to the Farne Islands to gets some Puffin and Tern shots.
Its the first time I have actually landed onto the Farnes and it was great.

As soon as you land you are attacked by the Arctic Terns, I wore a hat as advised but they ignored it and went straight for the ear - and they do hurt a little.
There other attack method is to poop on you, although I escaped relatively poop free, some people and cameras were covered in it. So be warned, those people with expensive large lenses, there is a good chance your camera will be hit, so use covers.
There is no need for a telescope here as the birds are so close.
 
There were so many photo opportunities, the puffins were flying in off the sea like bullets, with beaks full of sandeels, racing to the burrows before the gulls could rob them.
One of the real challenges was to get flying shots of Puffins carrying sandeels. First you had to spot the puffin flying in from a distance, judge if it was carrying sandeels then get your camera onto it and hope for the best.
I found the best method was to put the camera onto manual focus and set it to infinity on fast shoot with ISO 200 and 1/2000 sec. Fortunately the weather cleared which made it ideal to get fast shots.
 
 
 
Shags were nesting real close to the walkways, providing great shots, they did not stir at all when approached.

 

The boat that I went on was called Serenity - a large catamaran which they do not overfill, unlike some of the other boats - which had up to 50 people on.
A great way of spending an afternoon.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Kingfishers at last - Far Pasture.

After spending a few weeks recovering from my op and resting my leg up, I had a trip up to Far Pasture where a family of Kingfishers had been reported. I have a competition on with a friend, to see who can get the best Kingfisher photos this year, so I had to take this opportunity to see if I could finally get some photos.
There were at least 3 kingfishers around, at one point they were all on the same branch at the far end of the lake at one point 2 birds were displaying - too far to photo though.  However they did come close individually.
I digiscoped the birds and took some with the Canon SX50 to compare  - digiscope wins again.
Its great to see a successful family of kingfishers, as I think local to where I live the first brood nests got flooded out after flash floods on the hills.

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire