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

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Green Iguanas

Green Iguanas are quite common around Puerto Vallarta (probably why they named the film " The night of the Iguana - a Burton and Taylor film made here).

They are quite fearsome looking and big too, probably growing up to 4 ft long or more.  The males get this interesting orange colour - a sign of maturity I think.  The head on some of them was also quite blue.

Most of these photos were taken at the harbour when we were waiting for our Whale Watching trip. Despite looking fierce they are vegetarian and mainly harmless and really quite approachable

Yet more Mexican birds

A walk down the beach to a derelict ex hotel site where shrubbery had taken over, provided some excellent views of this young Grey Hawk.  Again it was very accepting of me and allowed me to walk right underneath where it was perching, so I could get the light right. (I think the trick is to avoid eye contact).
It had a couple of attempts to catch something and missed, probably after lizards.
This small area was quite productive for small Seedeaters, sparrows, flycatchers and even some tanagers.
On my final bird walk of the holiday I saw a pair of adult Grey Hawks, but they were on the otherside of the river and rather obscured by foliage
I saw a number of Green Kingfishers on the holiday, all up the river, but this one was perched underneath the main double carriageway bridge, and while I was trying to take the photos the bridge kept moving due to the traffic.

 Even though I saw a few male Kingfishers I never did get a decent photo.

One bird that really was quite common is the Groove Billed Ani which flew around in troops of about 10-12 birds.
They are a kind of cuckoo, even though they do not resemble our British Cuckoo much.
I saw them when I was in Cuba but they were never this approachable
 They kep foraging in the grass - presumably for insects or small reptiles.  I particularly like this shot of the Green Iguana showing their best profiles together.

Friday, 20 February 2015

More Mexican Birds

One of my favourite birds of the holiday is this Golden Cheeked Woodpecker. It is a bird that I really wanted to see even though they are very common.
I saw a number of them on each of my trips out except the first trip.
It is the nicest looking Woodpecker that I have seen. It is about the same size as our Greater Spotted but the Red and Gold head make it look stunning. The female does not have the red on the head.

 Like our woodpecker it will visit feeding tables as seen below, it is also quite noisy which makes fairly easy to locate in the trees.
These Brown Pelican provided a lot of entertainment as the young birds always seemed to be feeding and the fish that they were catching were not small either.
The adult birds are very well marked and they often just sat there watching the young fill their beaks and stomachs
I spent a fair bit of time trying to get diving shots but as they were not diving from a height it was fairly difficult. Am rubbish at flying shots anyway

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A few birds from Puerto Vallarta in Mexico

I left the scope behind for this holiday, due to baggage constraints. So armed with my Canon SX50 I went in search of bird life.
Being pretty much in the centre of the city it was going to be difficult to get much bird life - or so I thought
Research on google maps before I went showed me a river about a mile to the north of the hotel. So a number of my early morning birding were at the river, although the path was a joggers highway there were plenty of birds around.
Yellow Winged Cacique were the most obvious, along with the tiny and busy Blue Grey Gnatcatchers which seemed to be everywhere.

I really wanted to see a Golden Cheeked Woodpecker, which on my second visit I saw 5 at various points on the walk.

A Rose Breasted Grosbeak was a surprise one morning and I manage to get a few photos before it went into denser bushes.

On my final day there I also saw this lovely Yellow Headed Grosbeak on a wire.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Mexico Humpback Whales

I have just arrived back from 2 weeks in Puerto Vallarta  on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, and due to poor internet connections at the hotel I was unable to post on to my blog from there.
Our whale watching trip on the Monday was cancelled due to very heavy rain and poor visibility - it was rearranged for the following Wednesday and because it was an afternoon trip it was more likely that the sea would be a bit rougher - and so it proved.
After cruising for about 4 miles we saw our first Humpback a single large male it was totally against the sun, but still I tried to  get some photos of it. I am quite impressed with the result despite the glare from the sea.

Whenever I see Whales or Dolphins I always find it quite overwhelming and I was jumping up and down with excitement at seeing this magnificent animal.
The whale went for a deep dive and we moved on, after another 20 minutes or so we found 2 Humpbacks, a mother and calf together. These were on the surface a lot more and Oscar our guide said that they were swimming deliberately against the tide to build up the youngsters stamina.  They did keep shallow diving and the youngster would sometimes swim on its side with fin and a fluke showing.
Later 2 males joined them as "escorts" and they would deep dive also.  At one point the youngster swam right up to the boat to observe us.
After 30 minutes we left them alone and found another whale which provided a great show of its huge flukes as it went for a deep dive.
In the distance we could see five whale spouts - perhaps about five miles away, but due to the sea conditions and the fact they were probably deep diving we did not try to  get close to this pod.
To our stern a HUGE whale breached right out of the water showing three quarters of its body length, everyone on the boat gasped at the awesome spectacle as it crashed down into the water.  It happened so fast that I was unable to get the camera onto it, so I just enjoyed the fantastic spectacle.

We saw one further whale close up, which already had 2 boats close to it, we didnt stay long with this whale.

The company that we went with was OCEAN FRIENDLY TOURS with Oscar our guide.  I would fully recommend anyone looking to go whale watching from Puerto Vallarta to contact them as they are excellent and only have the whales interest at mind when on a trip. Brilliant!

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire