Saturday, 27 July 2013

Staffordshire Birding Mega Tick

The day started well. Picked up Pete and we headed off to a local venue Jon had told me about in search of Spotted flycatchers. I have visited The Chase twice with no luck, so had high hopes for this local woodland.

It was cool and dark under the tree canopy. There didn't seem to be much insect life showing and I was going to have to drank the ISO up on the camera to get an acceptable shutter speed. I suppose a grainy image is better than a blurred one.

It took us about a Hour to locate a Spotted fly, I was over the moon with another year tick.

In hindsight, I was a little disappointed yesterday evening that I didn't rearrange my plans and head off to Rudyard Reservoir for the Caspian Tern that was reported several times during the day. So, when it was reported again this morning, I started thinking that maybe I should make the effort. After all, it is a Staffordshire Mega!

So, fuelled with the success of my Spotted Flycatcher, I set off to Leek and Rudyard Reservoir.

I set off at about 11.30am and due to Saturday traffic and several tractors, it took me a hour and a half to get there. I hoped the Caspian was still about. I parked t the visitors centre as I am not familiar with the venue and set off with armed with my Binoculars, Scope and camera. The first thing I realised is that the Dam wall I was now standing on was a good way from where the reported sightings were.

I took this on arrival from the Dam wall. You can't even see the other end of the reservoir. But that distant out of sight bank is where the Caspian was reported. I set off.

It was a fair walk in beautiful surroundings, and eventually I located a grop of birders scopes all pointing in the same direction. A good sign! I joined them and pointed my scope in a similar direction. A quick scan and there about 250 yards out was the Caspian. It was sat on the mud looking very impressive. A life tick.

The view through my Little Opticron GS52 ED was very good considering the distance involved and the heat haze. I didn't feel I was missing out by by not bringing my bigger scope, and the long walk was not spoiled by a heavy scope.

Obtaining a good image through the scope and trying to capture that image digitally are worlds apart. Anyway, I wanted some sort of record shot so I took pictures of it with everything at my disposal.

This is the best I managed with my iPhone through the scope. Not great but you can see what it is.

Then I attached the Panasonic FS10 compact camera to the scopes eyepiece using Opticron's custom push on adapter. A little better.

Finally, I used my scope and tripod to steady my Canon SX40 bridge camera by just holding it on top of the scope. Went into the lower end of the digital zoom and rattled off plenty of pictures. This one being the best of the bunch.

I can't make up my mind if the FS10 digiscoping kit or the Canon SX40 produced the best picture. However, all three ways produced an acceptable record shot of a memorable twitch.


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Cannock Chase

It's a hot sunny Saturday morning and Pete,Taz and I headed for Cannock Chase. We were hoping for Spotted Flycatcher and as the stepping stones area seems to provide a lot of reports of Spotted Flys, we went there.


No sign of Spotted Flycatchers, we did manage a Grey Wagtail and a Tree Pipit.

Taz enjoyed cooling down in the stream.


Once the crowds started arriving, we left. I hope to return soon looking for Woodcock and Nightjars one evening.