Sunday, 30 November 2014

A Mild November Morning

I set out this morning on one of the mildest November mornings I can remember for a long time. I though I was making the most of the unseasonal mild temperatures walking around in a thin fleece with my sleeves rolled up, when a guy appeared in shorts and wellies, I had to remind myself it's December tomorrow!

I was out before sunrise and even then it was mild. I decided to take a circular route starting at Tameside NR, taking in two lakes, two rivers and the canal. I took my scope, my phone, my binoculars and set off.


There were quite a few Cormarants on the lake as and plenty of Lapwings on the islands. A few Teal and a Little Egret.

A Giant Puffball Fungi

An interesting find, and the size of a football.

Sunrise on the big lake

I'm starting to take more of an interest in gulls and their various plumages. Photographing them will aid with identification.

I'm going with third winter Herring Gull with this one.

As I walked along the River Tame, I noticed a pair of Nuthatch busily feeding in the rotting bark of an old tree. I set up the scope, attached the camera, and attempted to get some decent shots.

I was pleased with this shot.

Then, as I got to the River Anker I noticed a Barnacle Goose amongst the flock of Canada's. A first for me on my local patch.

Barnacle Goose river Anker
Barnacle amongst the Canada's.

All told, a very interesting mornings walk. I added a female Goosander to the tally on the river Tame while on the return trip to the car.

I couldn't resist a few snaps of this Cormarant in a classic wing drying pose.

All pictures taken with my iPhone. It gets addictive.


Monday, 17 November 2014

Phonescoping favourites.

Looking back over a few of this years phonescoped pictures, I can honestly say I'm very pleased with some of my results. I intend persevering with Phonescoping as I enjoy the challenge and get a real feeling of achievement when I manage to capture a decent picture.

The novagrade adapter has been a purchase that has proved its worth and has allowed me to improve my phonescoping results significantly. It has also allowed for more success with videoscoping with the phone, and opened up another avenue of interest to me.

Here are a few of my favourite captures from 2014 so far.

Looking through my pictures, there are plenty more that I am very pleased with. Phone cameras are improving all the time as technology keeps advancing. What could be possible in the next couple of years?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Twilight Zone


The title of this entry may have you thinking about an 80’s Psychological thriller, but no, I’m referring to the constant depressing half light that stayed with us all day. Undeterred Pete, Taz and I set out on our usual Saturday morning wander around the locality. There were plenty of birds about, but nothing new to report. At the very start of the walk, as we walked along a very high, but still within its banks river Anker, a Kingfisher put in an appearance as it headed downstream.

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A couple of Grey Herons in the first field and a Little Egret at the lake edge. The Swan herd is growing by the week, but the Redwings and Fieldfares were thin on the ground today. There was a small flock of Meadow Pipits feeding at the fields edge.

There was a noticable increase in Cormarant numbers today, with four perched in the dead branches of a distant tree and a couple out in the lake fishing.

Taz  2 

Cor  1

The light did make any type of photography difficult today. I am still seeing what i can get from the phone through the scope, and enjoying experimenting in difficult conditions. All the pictures on this entry are taken with a phone.

A very distant Fieldfare.

Cor  3

And probably my favourite picture from this morning, a Redwing.


We had our usual Saturday morning banter and before we knew it, three hours had flown by and we were back at the car. Looking forward now to getting out and making the most of Sunday morning, I hope the light will be an improvement on today.



Sunday,  and the hoped for increase in light values didn’t materialise. I met up with Jon and we walked around Coton Lakes. It made a change as neither of us had been there for a long time. 

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 Taz enjoyed the walk


There were still floods in places, but the Tame although high, was within its banks. There was also a healthy number of Little Egret in the area this morning.

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 We went to where the Bird hide used to be, but unfortunately there is no sign of it being replaced yet after it was destroyed by vandals setting it alight. We saw at least 14 Snipe in this area.


On returning home, a quick change and out for lunch with the family. All is good on a Sunday.


Now, as long as I don’t nod off this afternoon, I may have a hour or two fishing just into darkness. 

I didn’t fall asleep. Managed about an hour light lure fishing. A perfect mini predator.

Canal Zander.


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Wet Weekend

It’s a bit of a pain when during the week it is dark before i get home from work, and now its the weekend, it's pouring with rain. Pete and I still ventured out on Saturday morning and we decided to have a look on the Moors. There were three Herons in one of the larger fields, and the first big flock of Fieldfare i have seen for this winter. I have seen Fieldfare in the previous two weeks, but either solitary specimens of small groups. It's nice to see a decent, noisy flock of these colourful winter thrushes.

I did one evening last week, manage to get out for the last 35mins of light after work. Apart from a few Herons in the fields and a noticeable increase in Teal and Widgeon numbers, it was pretty quiet.

Teal Blog copy

 The light faded too quickly and I slowly headed for home. I couldn’t resist a couple of moon shots through the scope with the phone on the way though.

Blue Moon blog

Blog moon 


So, Saturday was a wash out, but still had a laugh walking the Moors in the rain with Pete. Sunday was a beautiful morning. Jon and I visited Dosthill nature reserve. It was not fully light on our arrival and we attempted to phonescope a Buzzard on the wires. As the increasing light was in front of us, a sillouette was the best i could manage.


The Tame was running high and coloured after yesterdays deluge. We could see the North Pit from Dosthill bunds, and most of the islands were submerged. It looked like the entrance to the wetland area from the Middleton side was flooded in front of Fishers Mill bridge too. So access from the RSPB car park would have been difficult without wellies.

When the Sun did put in an appearance, it was a glorious morning, in fact it was hard to believe it is November. We messed about with the scopes and phones, just hand holding the phone to the scope eyepiece to see what results we could get at different distances. I like this Swan shot.


The promised RSPB bridge joining the two sides of the reserve has been a long time coming. The footings are now complete to accept the bridge, I hope 2015 will see the bridge in place. 


 I have been using some new photo editing software and a new blogging program for the first time to write this entry. It has taken a while to get my head around it all. Hope it looks ok when i press the “publish” button?  Here goes!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A Few Better Ones.

Sometimes, with practice, even when conditions are not ideal, decent phonescoped shots are possible. There are times when you get a few pictures that turn out better than you expected. Light is the limiting factor in all photography, but never more so than in digiscoping, so to manage some decent shots on an overcast day is a suprise. I get a lot of satisfaction from taking a picture using a phone that turns out to be what I consider a good picture. I am quite pleased with these, taken on an overcast day.