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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, 27 March 2014

Golden Plover and Dipper

This morning I went up to Weardale to a place where I was tipped off about some Green Woodpeckers (thanks Dave S).
On the way I watched a pair of Dippers nest building on the river, views of the birds mostly obscured by twigs, so no pictures. Then I walked down the valley, and I could hear a Green Woodpecker really close and after 5 minutes searching for it, it flew to a neighbouring tree. I just about got my scope onto it and it flew, not to be seen again - but I could hear it all the time.  Further down the river another Green Woodpecker started calling, I could hear them both now.  But again I could not see it. They are a frustrating bird, but it makes it all the more rewarding when eventually I get a photo.
There were a number of Grey Wagtails, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest in the valley.

On the way up to the moors  I spotted another Dipper at Wolsingham and I managed to digiscope it from the road bridge over the river, not bad results in the diminishing light.

Then up on the moors I wanted to find any Ring Ouzel, but it started snowing quite heavily so I gave up on that idea, but I did find some nice road side Golden Plovers and Red Grouse.
I beat a retreat when the road started to get covered in snow as they had not been salted.
I nice few hours in what I hope is the last of this springs snow.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Clara Vale - Kingfisher

Clara Vale - Kingfishers
I set off to Clara Vale just after dawn this yesterday morning, mainly to beat the traffic around Gateshead, but also to get a place in the very small hide.
As soon as I opened the hide window there was a Kingfisher sat on one of the poles provided, although there still wasn't enough light to get photos.
Eventually there were 2 Kingfishers showing, male and female - an obvious pair and they showed really well all morning, occasionally disappearing over to the river for up to half an hour.
The female spent all her time eating - filling up prior to egg laying. The male did offer present her with fish but it was quite hidden and unable to get photos of it happening.
Magpies were coming down collecting sticks and mud for their nest, while a Wren foraged among the grass tussocks. There was also a good show of yellowhammers and bullfinch, and a Common Buzzard flew low over the hide.
A nice morning despite it getting too cramped in the hide!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

River Tees - Grey Wagtail and Bullfinch

River Tees at Barnard Castle area
I visited Barnard Castle yesterday and firstly went up Deepdale Beck, there was very little showing apart from good numbers of Wren and Bullfinch, I was hoping for Dipper but there are still workings going on at the junction of beck and River Tees which may be putting Dippers off. 
I then went further down the River Tees and saw 2 Dipper on the far side of the river and a pair of displaying Kingfishers (location noted for later on in the year).  There were also good numbers of Grey and Pied Wagtails on the river, and at least 4 Chiffchaff calling.
I like the Grey Wagtails, they are so brightly coloured at this time of the year.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

I followed up on yesterdays late report of a Glossy Ibis in Middleton St George this morning and found the bird straight away.
I was within 25 feet of the road feeding in wet ground.  First of all I positioned myself behind some wheelie bins but the light was all wrong, so I moved a little further away and used a tree and road sign as cover knowing that I could still digiscope it from this distance without any disturbance to the bird.
I spent a good half hour watching and photographing the bird until it walked over near to a footpath and a dogwalker unwittingly spooked it.  It flew at least half a mile away behind the west of the village.  I didnt try to relocate it.
These are the best shots I have had of a Glossy Ibis and the colours in the feathers when the sun catches them are amazing.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Teesdale Area on a nice spring day

Teesdale - spring has started and birds are displaying.
I got to Langdon Beck before light yesterday morning to get into position before the Black Grouse Lek started.  However when I arrived the Grouse were lekking in the dark, I could just make them out - they were a little closer than usual.  I looked further down the road and there were some more Grouse starting to Lek real close to the road.  So I moved into position opened the window and waited for the sun to come up.  The grouse at this location showed some interest in each other but not as much as the main Lek and they stopped Lekking at around 6:30 am.  I went back to the original Lek only to see that they had stopped there too, and I couldn't see them.  On the way back to the hotel area the Grouse were feeding in the usual space- I counted 48 grouse. It didnt really get light enough for decent photos of the Lek but it was great to watch in the dawn light and the sound was amazing.
So I went to another area and found another 20 or so grouse - male and female.
Early morning in Teesdale in the spring is awesome, the sounds of the Curlew, Grouse, Snipe, Skylark, Oystercatcher and Redshank all singing at once is just the best experience.
I came across a Snipe sat on a wire, so using the car as a hide I opened the car door got my scope onto it and spent about 20 minutes watching, photographing and videoing the bird as it sat and watched other Snipe displaying over it.

Up towards Cow Green Resevoir the Golden Plover were calling all over the place, but most of them were tucked down in the grassy. One bird was not so shy and it stood on a hillock 30 yards away, posing and calling, it looked superb in the early morning sun.
The Skylarks were chasing each other around when they were not singing, again they were quite confiding and posed on tufts of grass or fence posts.
I then drove over to Bollihope to see if the Little Owl was around, it is a sneaky little bird and it does try to hide from you as soon as you pull up.  I have got to know its favourite perches, so after a while I found it peeking around a corner of rock at me.
The Red Grouse moors were being burned in preparation for the breeding season. This has been done before most moorland birds have started breeding so it is good (still not many Meadow Pipits or Wheatear there yet.
A super morning birding in my favourite area. - no pollution, no traffic, no people - bliss.

Monday, 3 March 2014

More Kingfishers

Kingfishers should be finding their territory and nesting soon. This male was playing hard to get flying and perching all around the lake. When it eventually did come to the poles it didn't stay there long.

 I managed a couple videos but at very long range so I am not sure how well they have turned out yet. It was perching at a very weird angle at one point - possibly displaying, but I couln't see a female.
 A nice morning - also saw Snipe, Common Buzzard, Red Kite, Goldcrest and Sparrowhawk fly past.

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire