Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Belvide Birding WMBC


I really don't know why I don't visit Belvide more often? On the occasions, like today that I do go there, i always wonder why I leave it so long between visits?

A very enjoyable mornings birding and a spot of phonescoping.

Tree Sparrows are pretty thin on the ground in my neck of the woods. It was a pleasure to watch a small flock of adults and juveniles feeding today at Belvide.

I, like all birders I suppose, enjoy seeing a new bird for the first time, or a national rarity. However, as a bird watcher, I really do enjoy just watching the antics of some of our more taken for granted species.

I am a biologist and studied animal behaviour many years ago as part of my degree. Sitting quietly and observing the fight to survive of any species can be very interesting and often, quite rewarding. I soon worked out the best place to point the scope to capture some of the action. I suppose I could of missed some rarity or other while I spent most of my visit watching these fascinating little Sparrows. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my Belvide visit and will be returning very soon. This reserve really has a lot to offer.

Tree Sparrows


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Local Luck

I always enjoy stumbling across Spotted Flycatchers. They really are great birds to watch, flitting off their perch, catching airborne insects, and then, often alighting back on their favoured fly hunting perch again.

In the past few weeks I have seen Spotted Flycatchers in various locations on my travels. There have been a fair few around, but then, late August early September is a good time to look for them. I was very pleased to have my first ever recording of Spotted Flycatchers at one of my local patches last week. Not one, but three Spotted Fly's, and they hung about for a few days.

This morning however I went looking around Alvecote where I know some Spot Fly's have been for a while, in the hope of maybe getting a picture. I took the scope along and even though it was overcast and spotting with rain, I hoped for the best.

I was lucky and found two around the hedgerows.

I attached the phone to my scope and took a few snaps.









Friday, 22 August 2014

Kingfisher Phonescoped.

Sometimes an opportunity presents itself and you try and capture the moment. When a Kingfisher crossed my path and started fishing, I trained the scope of it, attached the iPhone and started taking pictures and some video.
A few people have asked what software I use to edit my pictures, so I thought I would mention what I usually do.
All of my photo and video editing is done on my ipad. I like to keep things straightforward and simple. The majority of my editing is done using iPhoto for pictures, and iMovie for video. There are some other Apps I use, and I will mention these in a moment.
I was very pleased with these results from my phone on what was a rather overcast day.
I also on occasion use an APP called Stillshot, which allows you to capture stills from any video you may have taken. It's a great was of capturing a record shot of small birds that just won't sit still and pose for the camera. The still captures are not the same resolution as pictures from the camera, but they produce a record that displays well online. I took some video footage with the iPhone of this Kingfisher. Here are a few stills I grabbed from the footage using Stillshot.
I use these video captures as stills for the title scenes of my videos as shown below.
It is best viewed in You Tube directly, it doesn't seem to play in HD when viewed via my blog. Click Here
Phonescoping quickly becomes addictive.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

On the Train.

I read recently while researching nature reserves, that RSPB Leighton Moss reserve is only 500 yards from Silverdale Train station. As I have never travelled any distance on a train, I thought this may be worth a look. Initially, I was put off by what I consider to be extortionate fares for train travel. The cheapest I could find was around £100 return. Then, I looked at booking in advance. I booked the ticket 4 weeks in advance, and got a return for £18. That's more like it.

So yesterday was the day, and I boarded the train at Tamworth at 8.30am. A couple of train changes later and I was at Leighton Moss reserve by 11.40am. A very comfortable and stress free journey.

Apparently, all journeys change at Crewe?
Time for a Cuppa on Route.
Silverdale Station.
RSPB Leighton Moss

I had five hours on this great reserve. I hoped to see some Bearded Tits, but not this time. There was however plenty to see. Including two Great White Egrets.

Great White Egret.

Some views around the reserve.

Probably the highlight of my visit was a small heard of Red Deer appearing out of the reed beds in the distance. One of the Hinds had one of this years calfs with her. I watched them for a good while. Obviously, I used the phone through my scope to record the sighting.

I'm sure if I can acquire return train travel at that price again, I will be going back in the not too distant future.

2 mins walk to the Reserve from here.

Scope, tripod, binoculars and the days essentials packed up for the return trip.

That was the best £18 I have spent in a long time.


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Travelling about a bit.

Back from Norfolk and still making the most of my holiday.

Managed to spot a Dipper in the Wyre forest and a few Spotted Flycatchers.



After that, the Peaks for a couple of days, stopping over for a night in a cracking pub in Tideswell. Drank a little too much, a great evening.



Called into Bakewell and picked up a tart, (careful!) I was amazed by the amount and size of the Trout swimming about in the river Wye where it runs through the town.

Day two in the Peaks was spent walking in the beautiful Goyt Valley, and on the way home a slight detour to Derby City Centre to have a coffee and visit the Derby Catherderal Perigrines again. Stunning birds!



Friday I spent at Rutland Birdfair, a very interesting day, and now, I need a rest from all this holidaying!

Rutland Ospreys. Very Distant.

It's becoming noticable that I am using the phone camera more and more. All pictures except the Dipper,(didn't have my scope with me) were taken with my phone.