Saturday, 18 April 2015

Local birding hots up.

Spring migration at last came to the patches I like to call my own. Pete and I walked the Moors last Saturday scanning the ploughed fields for Wheatear. No luck there, but Pete picked up a nice male Redstart. It was distant and not allowing us to get any nearer than we were. I tried with the bridge camera, but results were poor.

I went back in the afternoon to see if he was still in the same stretch of hedgerow, he was and I could also hear a second Redstart calling. I tried with the scope and phone to get a record shot.

He was still in residence on Sunday morning, and on Monday, Pete saw two Redstart.

Tuesday evening after work I went for a quick stroll and this time found a Wheatear on the patch.

Pete saw another on Wednesday. I was too busy to get out again in the week.

Today I went out early and had a quick walk around a local lake, I recorded my first Arctic Tern of the year. Home for a quick cuppa then Pete and I again took our Saturday morning walk around the patch. Pete had already had Blackcap in the week, but I was yet to see one. He took me to the area he had seen one in the week and sure enough we soon heard the teck-teck-teck and chattering of a Blackcap. It soon gave good views of itself and my first spring Blackcap was ticked.

Moments later a report came through of Two Black-Winged Stilts at RSPB Middleton. I hoped to make it to see them later in the day. Pete and I finished our walk and I made a few phone calls to see if I could rearrange my day. Everything went to plan and I was on my way.

What a gorgeous pair of birds they were and I spent a good while just enjoying viewing them before attempting to get any record shots. They never came really close while I was there, but I did use the phone through the scope to get some record shots and a short video.

Sometimes video from YouTube won't play in HD via my blog, if the video is poor quality, try this direct link Black- Winged Stilt

These are the first recorded in the Tame Valley since 1987. I'm hoping there is more to come, a patch Ring Ouzle would be great, doubtful, but fingers crossed.

I spent the afternoon setting up the Digidapter again for the Nikon P300 as I had readjusted it to experiment with another camera. I really took my time getting everything lined up before tightening it all down. A Dunnock sat on top of a tree in the garden enjoying the sunshine and I used it as a test subject. I will be out with this set up in the morning.


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Back to the Beginning

I decided to go back to where my interest in digiscoping was really triggered and that was Phonescoping. I had prior to this dabbled with digiscoping using a camera with very mixed results with the usual outcome being disappointment. I eventually gave it up as a bad job. The phonescoping started when I one day hand held my iPhone to the eyepiece of my scope to get a record shot of something I was looking at, the results surprised me and were much better than anything I had managed with my previous attempts using a camera to digiscope. I decided to take this further.

I made a couple of homemade adapters but they were not very robust and eventually fell apart, usually at the most inconvenient of times. I purchased a couple of adapters but didn’t get on with them for a variety of reasons. Then, I stumbled upon the Novagrade Adapter and never looked back. I cannot recommend this universal phonescoping adapter enough, it will adjust to fit most phones and scope eyepieces and only needs setting up once. Before you ask, I receive no financial gain from Novagrade adapters and purchased mine with my own hard earned. I recommend them purely based on my experience using one in the field on a regular basis for around the last 12 months.

Here is the Novagrade Adapter attached to my eyepiece.

IMG 7618

What many people don’t realise is, with most smartphone adapters you have to keep your phone in a dedicated phone case that attaches to the eyepiece adapter. This IS NOT the case with the Novagrade Adapter. You use your phone in its everyday protective case, straight out of your pocket. No swapping phone cases to go phonescoping. To me, this is massive plus point.

Then I just snap my phone into place, still in its everyday protective case.

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If you look back at my blog you will see I took some pictures I was very pleased with using this set-up. Then, I decided to try my hand at camera digiscoping again. I have been more successful this time around and enjoy using the camera, a Nikon P300 to digiscope with.

So, as I mentioned in my opening lines, today I removed the camera adapter from my scope and decided to go out with the Novagrade Adapter, I had forgotten just how much fun this style of digiscoping is, I had an enjoyable few hours this morning and again this afternoon. I have taken some pictures I am really pleased with and include some of them here.

From this morning.






And a few from this afternoon.




I feel these may well be some of the best digiscoped pictures I have taken this year, and all with my phone, I also had a lot of fun doing it.

Now I want to try a different smartphone, just to see how I get on with something other than an iPhone. It will give me the opportunity to show how the Novagrade Adapter adjusts for different phones. Mrs Moocher has a HTC One M8 phone its much bigger than my iPhone 5. I want to take it digiscoping! She seems reluctant to let it out of her sight, so the digiscoping will either be a bit of back garden birding or, I will convince her to come birding and obviously bring her phone along. Looking forward to this.