Friday, 31 October 2014

Phonescoping Record Shots

In my mind there are two distinct sides to the coin when considering phonescoping. One is the striving to get the best picture possible, and the quality of some phonescoped pictures still surprises me. Then, there is getting the record shot in less than ideal conditions. Usually, poor light, a distant subject or a combination of the two being the main obstacles to achieving satisfactory results.

Here are some experimental shots trying to capture a record in less than ideal circumstances.

These Sanderling were about 250 yards away.

I tried the scope on full 50x magnification with a little more zoom on the phone.

Then just to explore other possibilities, I took some video with the phone still at 50x on the scope and a zoomed a little on phone. I then grabbed a still from the video.

As record shots go, I can live with these. The video grab impressed me, I will explore this further.

Video grab of some distant Brent Geese again, in the 250-300 yard region.


Now, these will win no awards, but this Marsh Harrier was in flight and a minimum of 300 yards away! This has demonstrated to me that video grabbing using a phone has a use in obtaining record shots.


Also video footage itself is a nice record of your birding. This method is undoubtedly the way to go with small birds that never keep still to allow a sharp focus. The depth of field of the video is greater than a still photo. The "grabbed" still picture is only about 3 mega pixels, but if it captures the desired target It will keep me happy.

Some video footage captured on this trip. Just a quick example of the footage I grabbed some of the above stills from.

Note: Video sometimes won't play in HD via my blog. You can view direct by clicking HERE.


Update... Just adding one more very rough record picture taken again from a video grab. You can't make much out at all from the actual still photographs. The Surf Scoter was way off shore, I wouldn't like to even estimate distance.

I have added a plate to show what it looks like in all its glory.


Thursday, 30 October 2014

North Norfolk

Making the most of a few days off work I headed to North Norfolk. The area had migrants being reported by the hour a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn't quite as hectic during my short visit. I should of known some good luck was heading my way though when this little chap turned up and introduced himself as I got out of the car at Titchwell.

After a wander around Tichwell, I headed toward Holkham Pines and joined a few birders looking out for a reported Rough Legged Buzzard.

There were two Common Buzzards and three Red Kite in the area that provided entertainment for the gathered birders, but eventually the Rough Legged put in an appearance. My first of the species for me, so I was very pleased.

I was thinking of carrying on to Holkem Gap for the reported Surf Scoter but was told it was very distant and views also hindered by a choppy sea. I decided to give it a miss as other regulars informed me it was a quite a walk and unlikely to provide satisfactory views.

I spent until the light faded in and around Tichwell, being treated to a massive Starling Roost as they entered the Reedbeds for the night. Three Marsh Harriers also put on a great display just above the reeds. The sound of the Pink Foots coming in to roost was amazing, they were also joined by large numbers of Brent Geese.

Without actually intending to, I spent most of the day taking pictures with my phone rather than my camera. I decided to carry on with this and see what I could record in the overcast light through the scope.

I waited until the light had gone before heading off to find food and locate my B&B for the night. Already looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow.

After food, sleep, and a slap up Full English I was back at Tichwell early. Lady luck was smiling on me and I soon had a Yellow Browed Warbler under my belt. Right by the visitors centre too. I had a coffee and decided to go for the Surf Scoter as it was reported again at Holkem Gap. It was a decent walk, but the sea was less choppy today. I got the Surf Scoter, it was with some Velvet and Common Scoter and the views though distant, were pretty good. There were also a couple of Red Throated Diver in the area.

I ended up back at Tichwell with an hour of light left, as I wanted to see the Starlings going to roost again. The Marsh Harriers also put on another good show. The Pink Foots were just noisily arriving again as I walked back to the car to start the homeward journey.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A few thoughts

It's been a while since I have written anything in the blog. Work has been a bit hectic and with darkness creeping ever closer towards 4pm each day, the light has gone by the time I get home, so photography has suffered.

I have been concentrating my spare time into Badger watching for a few weeks now and have had some really good views of them emerging, foraging and even getting playful with each other. This has given me something to concentrate on as the nights close in. It's not all been about the Badgers though, and by the sounds of things while waiting quietly in the darkness for them to emerge the Tawny population seems quite healthy this year.

Badger Sett


I have also been exploring some areas in my locality that I have up until now neglected. This is an intersting walk, and the old brick barn will be checked out again next summer. I'm hoping to get some good Swallow nesting pictures. We will see if the Swallows think it's as desirable for their needs as I think it is.

Now for a bit of a rant. I struggle to understand how dog owners can often have less brain power than their dogs! What is the point of picking up your dogs mess in a polythene bag, to then throw it in the hedge bottom or decorate a gate or fence with it? It's the work of total morons! In my opinion, this practice is worse than just leaving your dogs crap where it deposited it. At least it will relatively quickly wash away after regular rain. To wrap it in non biodegradable polythene then discard it, identifies you as an imbecile! If you can't be bothered to do the responsible thing and take it home, kick it into the hedge bottom out of the way, don't preserve it in plastic and decorate a fence with it! I'm a dog owner that almost constantly has my dog with me, I don't discard crap in polythene bags.

The contents of these bags is I believe, similar to what the people that hung them there have between their ears.


I have a bit of free time this week and intend doing some phonescoping. I will report back on how it goes.

This mornings effort.


All pictures on this page were taken with my phone, it's an ideal camera and I like experimenting with it. A lot of Fungi have suddenly appeared In the fields and I tried to take a few pictures.


Finally, the signs that winter is approaching are very subtle so far this year. It's nearly November and I was walking around the fields in a T-Shirt today. I have however heard the seeping of Redwing overhead at night while waiting for a badger to make an appearance. I have seen a couple of Redwing in daylight on the patch, and on Saturday I saw a solitary Fieldfare. This is the longest period of mild weather I can recall at this time of year for a long time. Today I heard reports of a single Swallow, a Red Admiral and a Hawker Dragonfly, in late October?

It's too warm for this time of year. The usual scaremongering is appearing in the papers. Time will tell.