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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

Monday, 14 December 2015

Black Grouse - Upper Teesdale

After the 1st cover of snow for the winter falling yesterday I decided to go up to Upper Teesdale, to see what was around.
On the way up there I saw a bird land on a fence post in the distance while I was driving - I stopped the car, got my binoculars onto it and saw it was a Barn Owl, fortunately I had my SX50 on the passenger seat.  A car went past me and the owl, - it took off and landed closer, I got my camera onto it and took some shots, another car went past, again it took off and flew past me. I drove down to a junction, turned around and it I watched it fly up the road then land on a sign post, I slowly drove up to it, took some more shots before it flew off again, I followed and it did the same thing, this time landing on a public footpath sign, I took a couple more pics, but this time I noticed the camera saying "unable to take photo". I checked my camera - NO BLOODY MEMORY CARD IN IT!!!! aaaaargh.
This is the second time I have done this  but never at such an important moment, its hard enough to see Barn Owls during the day, but to have one in the snow would have been brilliant. I was really annoyed with myself. But hey ho!
I moved on to see the Black Grouse.  When I got there all of the Black Grouse seem to be perched up in the trees, I don't blame them - there was about 5 inches of snow and it was -3 degrees.  With them in the trees it was difficult to get a good photo.

I decided to drive around the back road where there are 2 further groups of Black Grouse - I came across 3 birds perched high in some pines, I digiscoped them from about 45 yards. It was getting misty now - it was warming up.

Further round the road - there were 4 female birds and one sat on a fence post. I switched the engine off, coasted down the road and it did not fly, I parked right next to it and took some photos from 6 feet away.
This is quite typical of the birds here in the snow - they do not like to fly.

So despite my disappointing start - I ended up with some acceptable Grouse shots.
Also seen 3 separate coveys of Grey Partridge, total about 20 birds. 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Kestrel


Long Eared Owls

Long Eared Owls - Haverton
On Saturday morning I tried to beat the weather forecast and get some photos of the Owls before the rain and snow came.  It was dry as I set off but once I had located the Owls then the drizzle started which soon developed to heavy rain.
 I persisted and this week there were 3 Long Eared Owls, all sat in the same bush, one fast asleep, one half awake, and the third was alert and watching me, at first it was a little stretched out, (a bit stressed) but it relaxed.
I was there for about 5 minutes and I got photos of all 3 Owls and a bit of a video clip.  Conditions were dark, but at least they do not move and I could set a longer exposure on the camera.
As I left them it started to sleet heavily, and as I got home later we had our first proper cover of snow of the winter.


Monday, 7 December 2015

Mandarin Duck - Low Barns

I think that this is only the 2nd Mandarin Duck that I have seen - wild ones that is.
It has turned up at Low Barns nature reserve near Witton Le Wear,
It is hanging around with the local Mallard population and even taking seed from under the bird feeders.
The most stunning duck that we have in UK waters, it was originally introduced as a captive ornamental duck but now breeds in the wild so the population is on the increase.
Low Barns has been a victim of the recent flooding with the river Wear bursting its banks and flooding into the reserve, many paths have been damaged or washed away, and one bird hide was under about 4feet of water. It will take some fixing.
 

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire