Friday, 30 November 2012

Iscoping, initial,thoughts.

I purchased the digiscoping adapter I mentioned previously in my blog from SBR-Griturn.

I have not really had any decent weather or light conditions since taking possession of the adapter. My initial thoughts are that there are still a few areas that can move and it may be tricky to initially line up correctly.

I also don't like the iPhone case supplied which must be used to fit the adapter to. The case is a pretty cheap looking thing.

From research I have done, it seems no company makes an adapter that allows you to use an iPhone in the phone case of your choice. There are a few Iphone digiscope adapters out there, and if you have to take the phone out of your chosen case to use it, and you don't mind that, the Meopta Meopix seems the best. No moving parts to cause any issue, perfect lens alignment every time. This adapter is only made for the Meopta range of scopes though. However, they make two adapter ring sizes. So measuring the eyepiece you wish to digiscope with may find you dropping lucky. However, I'm sure that if the eyepiece you wish to use has an outside diameter of less than 49mm (the internal diameter of the largest available adapter) it wouldn't take much to build the inside of the adapter up with tape of some sort. They are a bit on the expensive side though at £50.00.

Now, with the advent of the iPhone 5, will there be any new adapters released? None of the existing adapters will accommodate one. However, with a bit of selective iPhone 5 case hunting, the SBR-Griturn adapter may be able to do the job?

Anyway, poor light and a bit misty, tried the SBR-Griturn adapter in the back yard through my Opticron HR66 ED. Here are some of the results.

About 15 yards out.

About 12 yards away
These are pretty good considering the very poor light conditions today. These are straight out of the phone apart from cropping.

Obviously in backyard I am restricted with the distances I can attempt to photograph birds at.

Here are the furthest distances I tried today. About 20 yards.

You can see how dull the sky is.

Then tried a little bit of zoom on the phone.

The SBR-Griturn adapter actually worked very well once set up. It was a little fiddly to get aligned but the end result is acceptable.

I still think this is worth pursuing.


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Roll on the Weekend.

Not been out since the weekends floods. Never seen flooding so bad locally. I would think some of the local angling clubs will suffer losses from their still waters.

Town Centre
Levels dropping now and a cold snap forecast. Plenty of birds being reported locally.

I am hoping the Great Northern Diver hangs around at Shustoke reservoir until Saturday, fingers crossed eh!

Great Northern Diver
Would like that, life tick!


Saturday, 24 November 2012

More Waxwings and a Big Breakfast.

It started off very foggy this morning. I took Taz for a walk along the canal early this morning as it was the only place I could think of that wouldn't be flooded.

Darkness and fog, not easy to photograph with a phone.

The fog still hadn't lifted when I picked Pete up at 8.50am and we headed off intending to look for Waxwings in Lichfield. Pete reckoned we should hang on a bit and give the fog a chance to lift. It sounded like a good idea, so we went to the CO-OP and had a full English and a mug of Coffee a piece. Very nice!

After breakfast, we set off to Lichfield in search of Waxwings. Some had been reported near the Post Office, and sure enough about a dozen were there on our arrival.

I held the iPhone up to the scopes eyepiece and took a quick video to show how thick the fog was.


My second Waxwings of the year, and a lifer for Pete. I tried to get a few pictures but the fog and poor light made it very difficult. These again taken with the iPhone handheld to the scope eyepiece.


To be honest, am very pleased with how these record shots have turned out. Also edited on the iPhone. Opens a lot of birding possibilities.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

New Gadget

I have ordered an iPhone 4S adapter to attach it to my scope. Looking forward to seeing what it is capable of in digiscoping terms. It will be handy as I always have my phone with me. Looking forward to its arrival and the time to put it to the test.



Saturday, 17 November 2012

Mud, Sweat and Tears.

Well, that White-Rumped Sandpiper hung around and I again set out for it on this fine Saturday morning. Friday night had brought heavy showers to the area, so mud was obviously going to be an issue. It was pretty bad.

This was by no means the worst area. I didn't want to get my phone out to take pictures in the really bad mud as I was concentrating on keeping my balance and Sod's law I would have slipped and dropped my phone in it.

Did the hike and on the way down met a guy who must have been there very early,on his way back. He informed me that it had yet to be seen today! He had seen it already in the week and wasn't too bothered. Mild panic swept over me, had it vacated the area?

Anyway, I headed on. In the distance I noticed a large group of birders all suddenly moving in the same direction, even better, all,pointing their scopes in the same direction. I hurried on, stepping up the pace as it looked like Lady Luck was smiling on me.

I arrived, set up,scope and as if on cue the White-Rumped Sandpiper appeared from behind a small island and did its thing.

Poor light and distance involved meant good pictures were not going to happen. So I settled for some poor ones. Record shots.

I did however decide to have a go at a digi-video through my scope to see how that turned out. Video is more forgiving of poor light and it actually turned out better than expected.

The walk back to the car was leisurely and mud filled. I encountered a nice flock of Redpoll and plenty of Goldfinches.

As I cleared the mud and got back on Mill Plantation lane, I couldn't help, but smile at the amount of people heading to try their luck with this bird. It's probably the most people I have seen at Middleton. As many of them asked directions to the White Rumped Sandpiper, I assume it was their first visit. The fact most of them were wearing walking boots rather than Wellies suggested they had no idea of the mud bath that awaited them. I almost went back just for the entertainment value. But, that would have been sadistic wouldn't it?


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Man, it was Muddy!

So, John informed me yesterday that on his visit to Middleton while I was stuck at work, he ticked the reported White Rumped Sandpiper. He then let me know he had had Brambling and my bogey bird, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. I replied to his text messages with a short succinct reply of only two words, the second one being "off!" A good afternoon of ticks though.


Anyway Thursday, and the White Rumped Sandpiper is again reported. I manage to leave work like a Whippet out of the traps at 3.35pm. The plan being a 10 min drive to Middleton and a brisk 10 min walk to the North end of the complex. This i felt would give me about 40 mins before I lost the daylight. On my arrival I met a birder who Informed me he had indeed seen the White Rumped Sandpiper only half hour earlier. Result!


I pulled on boots, put on my coat, hung binoculars round neck and scope on back and we are off. Quick glance at feeding station, No Brambling. Bastard!

Can't hang about, race to use the remaining daylight to see the White Rumped Sandpiper. Remain alert along Mill Plantation for Lesser Spot. No surprise with this one, not a chance. I can't find one when taking my time about it, so the slight canter I was moving at didn't prove to be a winner!


Then as I reached about the two thirds along Mill Plantation stage, my North Pit in 10 mins plan started to hit problems. Namely copious amounts of slippery and past ankle deep mud. This situation remained pretty constant all the way to the North Pit.

End result, it took me longer than anticipated to get to my destination. I had been informed the White Rumped Sandpiper had been showing well in front of some mini islands right in front of the still active excavating machinery.

When I arrived there, I was hot, knackered and aching from the pace I had tried to maintain. I quickly set up the scope and started scanning the area. I reckon it was around 30 mins later, that I had to concede and abandon the search. The light had gone.

So, a complete failure. I started heading back towards the car park at a much more leisurely pace, cursing the rapidly failing light, the mud that slowed me down and the fact birds keep being found while I'm at work.

Just as I squelched up to Fishers Mill, I was cheered up by cracking views of a Barn Owl hunting the grass along the canal hedgerow. I stood a good 5 minutes and watched this awesome spectacle. It made me feel that maybe it had all been worth it after all . Who knows, that White Rumped Sandpiper may hang around for the weekend? Here's hoping. With my first Brambling thrown in, and maybe a glimpse of a Lesser Spot too? Well, if you have to hope for good luck, you may as well aim high.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Where did the weekend go?

A very enjoyable weekend is already a far away memory after a day back at work. Waxwings are starting to be reported in Staffordshire, so hopefully only a matter of time before Tamworth gets a few. I will be keeping a close eye on the Rowan tree opposite my house. It is laden with red berries and just screaming for some Waxwing attention. It's got to happen!


Saturday, 10 November 2012

Birding Saturday

I had a good day. It's started off looking like a failure, but picked up,in the end. I decided after researching where Waxings have been cropping up, that the Town of Belper in Derbyshire was the place to go. It seems that the Rowan trees in front of the Co-Op and Iceland have seen Waxwing action over the last couple of days. My idea was, that if I arrived before first light, maybe a Waxwing or two would put in a breakfast feeding appearance before the Saturday morning shoppers took the Town centre over. At first light, I kept switching between the two venues, but not a Waxwing to be seen! To be honest, most of the red berries had already been eaten, and the ones that did remain were being seen off by a couple of Jackdaws.

Both of these, "hotspots" held no joy.

I even checked out St Peter's Churchyard and a little further afield in the country park. It was a big NO SHOW! At just before 9am, I called off the search. Belper Town was getting busy and news had reached me of a Great White Egret at Willington Gravel Pit, only a 20 min drive away.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Where are the Waxwings?

I really want to track down some Waxwings in the locality this weekend. There seems to have been a big Waxwing influx into the UK this week. Most regular local reports coming from Derbyshire. The Co-Op shop in Belper being the venue tipped to produce. Picturesque? Maybe not, but it ain't gotta be pretty, just produce the goods.

Not what you would call open countryside, but if its good enough for Waxwings, who am I to argue?


I really want one of these beauties.


Monday, 5 November 2012

The Premise is......

The premise is, that Pete and I can record 100 or more different species of bird on Amington Moors in 2013.
This Blog will follow our progress towards this aspirational target.
As is to be expected, the initial entries starting from new years day will be easily collected, with the more common species easily being ticked. However, it will soon become more difficult and ticks fewer and farther between. Then it will be down to seeking out specific species, keeping a watchful eye out for migrants, and a nice dollop of good old fashioned luck. A eye can be kept on current progress by clicking on the "Moors Bird Count 2013" link.

Moors misty morning