Sunday, 20 September 2015

Dartford Warblers and Dragonflies

Crowded weekends are making it extremely hard to give my new lens a testing. I was able to go out for an hour on both Saturday and Sunday, but not in the conditions I'd like, meaninganother disappointing weekend.

I headed off to Ham Common Nature reserve on Saturday as we were visiting friends at Rockley Park. The bird life was incredibly disappointing with just starlings, wood pigeons, black-headed gulls and a lone Oystercatcher which was too far away for decent shots.

The only real highlight was a Dartford Warbler and a near flying buzzard, but the former was far too close with even 840mm of lens, while the buzzard flew by so quickly I couldn't get a shot of it.

Oh well, there's always next week...

This Red Admiral dropped down about 10 feet in front of me.

A lone Oystercatcher working the beach.

And a cropped shot of him.

Dartford Warbler, a good 60 feet away, so not ideal at all.

And a crop.

I visited Avon Heath today, as it has a hide but it was pretty disappointing.
A lack of budget meant that no feeders were out, so birds were nowhere to be seen. They've also added a huge net as there are bees at the far end of the site and children have started to use the pond for pond dipping. It seems strange why they don't move the bees as the location is now ugly due to netting.

While I didn't see any birds, I saw a few dragonflies, so thought I'd post pictures. Ids would be most welcome. (Thanks to Tim White and Pete Harris for the id help :)

A female Southern Hawker, uncropped from 20 feet away.

Here's a crop.

A Common male Darter resting.

A couple of Common Darters mating.

A male Souther Hawker in flight.

I've been advised to not shoot with the lens wide open as it's sweet spot is apparently F7.1, so I'll hopefully have some better shots next weekend.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Kingfisher Blow Out

I headed down to Blashford Lakes this morning as I wanted to test my new lens and was hoping to get views of a kingfisher. Lots of people had the same idea as the hide was completely packed with just enough room for me to sit down. Once I got there I realised I'd forgotten my tripod, meaning I struggled to get super sharp shots. A couple of Kingfishers did turn up and despite the noise from many of the other lenses, they happily fished for a good couple of hours.

Initially it turned up at the far end of the hide.. I was glad for my 1.4 teleconverter.

This is probably one of the best shots I took and it's barely cropped too. I love the reach of this lens.

I'm a little too high for this shot so he looks dumpier than usual.

This shot was just after he did a little poo. It's probably a little too soft if I'm honest.

This is the first time I've ever been too close to a Kingfisher. It was right at the low end of my lens. Moving back I ended up getting some of the hide in the bottom of the shot :(

Look at the size of this fish! Annoyingly, the focus seems to be on it :P

He  spent a good couple of minutes beating it to death and the other photographers were going crazy with shot.. I still managed this with just a couple of shots at a time.

You'd think that after this he wouldn't be hungry, but he was back about ten minutes later. Greedy bird.

While some of the shots are good I'm still in need of a lot of practice with this lens. I think I need to keep practising and choose an acceptable shutterspeed too. 

My focus was pretty much on Kingfishers all morning, but I did head to Longham in the afternoon. Sadly, many of the birds were far too far away, being 60-70 feet out. No new birds this week, but hopefully that will change for the weekend.

This Reed Warbler was hiding in the reeds.

I quite like this Mute Swan shot, but it might be a little overexposed.

A Black-Headed Gull. I wouldn't want to say how old though.

Lots of juvenile Coots were active.

Adults were rarely far away.

Tracking gulls in flight isn't easy.

A group of distant Tufted Duck.

Lazy Cormorants on one of the floating rests.

Very distant Great Crested Grebes. I must have saw around 15.

I find exposure on Swans really tricky.

A pair of Black-Headed Gulls.