Woodcock: Seeing them in the Daytime

At Flamborough

by Martin G.

A rare sight! In case your interested… at least 3 Woodcock can be seen again day roosting and sometimes feeding in South Landing ravine, Flamborough.  Just view about half way down road to Lifeboat station and South Landing beach. This post from March 2013, same place

woodcock s landing a 11.03.2013

Capturing a moment… and the details. I guess that’s ultimately why I love taking photos. I have lots of stories of mediocre photography and failed efforts! ‘Digiscoping’ is undoubtedly the realm of bird and wildlife photography I have struggled with the most. Fundamentally the art is to take photos with an ordinary ‘family’ camera by placing the camera lens up to a high powered birding telescope so that the ‘scope effectively becomes a super lens for the camera. I did ‘OK’ about 10 years ago by hand holding a Nikon Coolpix up to my scope. However with new cameras, heralded as the route to new heights of photo quality- I only seemed to get worse despite careful coaching by friends. Honestly, I was ready to give up. It seemed too complicated, the results often poor and seemingly interfering with ‘birding’. More recently however, spurred on by the quality of images and especially video which James Lees (Slimbridge WWT warden) was achieving and with regular encouragements from Paul Hackett and others, I opted to have one more go. Over the last couple of years I feel like I have broken through- a little. For a lot of photography I use DSLR camera – a Canon 7D with 400 f5,6 lens  It does an amazing job. However sometimes the birds are simply too far away. Then the digiscoping kicks in. Furthermore, with digiscoping,  I love that you can do video!

Woodcock at South Landing, Flamborough.

Up to 3 birds are roosting on the far side of the ravine, occasionally coming out to feed. It was a good test being very windy, with variable light from grey cloud and snow showers to odd bursts of sunshine. And the birds were in open or under poorly light canopy. It was too far to get a really nice DSLR shot (see below). I used a Canon S95 Camera taking photos through a Swarovski ATX95 ‘scope. There camera is held securely in place by a gizmo called the DCB ll swing adaptor.

woodcock s landing a2 11.03.2013Woodcock, South Landing, Flamborough (above and top). A lovely looker with American Woodcock-like grey strips.

On Video: Woodcock and Worms

I have several sections of video of both birds which too me look really good! However when I uploaded to YouTube  the compression? of the file just made it look ‘orrible. So I am trying Vimeo (basic) with one section and welcome suggestion on how to get the best out of publishing videos online. Only a few seconds, have a look:


woodcock s landing bird b 11.03.2013Woodcock, South Landing, Flamborough. A more typical looking browner bird which kept to the deeper shaded zones. Amazes me what can be achieved. No it hasn’t one of the notorious ‘half-bills’. In fact the bill tip is covered in mud.


woodcock watching

watching woodcock Illustrating the view and distance  The Woodcock were mid way up the far slope.

In Comparison:

To compare digiscoping with normal photography I include  2 shots of the first bird above, but this time taken with the Canon DSLR and 400mm lens. Acceptable, but heavily cropped due to the distance and I don’t think the results are as good. Also don’t think I cold get anything like the same quality of video!

woodcock 7d c

woodcock 7dWoodcock, South Landing, Flamborough. Upper 2 shots using ‘normal’ technique with Canon 7D and 400mm lens.

Thanks to Brett Richards.

in association with Swarovski Optik

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