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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 December 2014

Long Eared Owl - Near RSPB Saltholme

I made a second attempt at getting photos of a Long Eared Owl which has been found near RSPB Saltholme.
 The first attempt the conditions were very poor, really dull with a very strong wind just made the shots all blurry due to slow shutter speed and tripod vibrations.
Today was more favourable with a milky sun shining through and hardly any wind.
I went early and tried to find the owl with no success
A RSPB Saltholme guide came down to set up a watch point, and he got straight onto it - a little bit of knowledge helps
It was still about 70 yards away, but at least it was more visible today.
Guys with dSLRs struggled to get any shots.  But I was getting half decent shots digiscoping.

The foliage between the scope and the Owl was causing a bit of a problem with only a few un-obscured vantage points available.
These photos have been cropped in and darkened slightly
(The sun was shining into the lens which makes the shots lighter than they should be).

I also saw a female Sparrowhawk, and later in the day a single Waxwing turned up near Greatham Creek, but by this time the sun had gone.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Teesdale - First Snow

It had been a cold for a few days and it had snowed briefly where I live, so I decided to go into Teesdale to see if I could get the Black Grouse in the snow.
First of all I decided to drive around the farms road and as soon as I hit the back road I spotted a Black Grouse feeding on the verge next to the road. Too close to scope but I tried taking a few shots through the windscreen - no good. So I drove as carefully as I could (not easy on icy snow). Opened the passenger window and got some good close shots of it.

It then jumped up into the bush at eye level. The grouses back was covered in frost. - it was currently -3 degrees.  A couple of more shots then I left it alone. I found about another dozen Black Grouse - further away. I digiscoped a couple when I noticed a covey of Grey Partridge feeding in the long grass- they kept low though and I didnt manage to get a decent shot.
Further along the road I saw 3 Buzzards - one landed in a tree about 150 yards away. I checked them all out in case any were Rough Legged Buzzards, and although one of them was very white underneath, they were all Common Buzzards - worth a second look though.
I then went to my favourite location where I knew the Black Grouse could be easily scoped while leaving the car behind.
I walked down an icy/snowy farm track and edged carefully keeping cover behind walls, trees and bushes, when finally I could see the grouse feeding - there were 24 male and female grouse.  I got my back against a tree to hide my outline - in full view of the grouse (about 25 yards away) and spent the next 45 minutes watching and digiscoping the grouse. Fantastic.
Finally I edged myself away carefully and left the grouse to feed - undisturbed

While walking back a Hare cut across the road in front of me through a gate and stopped 10 yards into  a field.  Wow, a great chance, the next thing I know my feet went from under me on the ice, I turned to protect the scope hitting the ground, then I was laid on the ground with a stinging pain across my ear and neck. First thing I did was to check the scope, it had come off the tripod and laid on the road. It was ok - my camera seemed ok and it looked like I had protected the scope with my head. My ear was not ok  - it swelled up and looked like I had been playing in a rugby scrum for years and I was dazed not sure if I knocked myself out or not.
I set my scope back up and walked gingerly back towards the car.  I then spotted another Hare - just sat on the track side.  I set my scope up and took a couple of pictures and then edged closer, slowly. Eventually I was stud only 10 feet from the Hare - unbelievably it just sat there eating.

I have never got so close to a Hare, I got the Canon camera and snapped some great shots.
What a great morning in Teesdale, even though I was more than a little bruised. Lol

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire