I am honoured that Sharon has invited me – amongst others – to continue to post to Martin’s Birding Frontiers blog, following his untimely death after a long courageous battle with cancer. Before I do so, however, I wanted to write my tribute to the great man. It has taken me some time because it has been very difficult for me to put into words just how much Martin meant to me.
It may sound over the top but I make no apology; Martin was an inspiration to me as a birder, photographer and a man. I first met Martin in the late 1990s at Poolsbrook Country Park, Derbyshire when he introduced me to the intricacies of gull identification. By that stage I’d been birding seriously for about 20 years and was no slouch, but Martin’s knowledge far surpassed mine and he opened my eyes. Not only did he open my eyes and expand my knowledge but he inspired me and positively encouraged me to pursue my digiscoping be it video or stills. He recognised my digiscoping skills and his mantra “Be the best you can be” echoes in my ears. To hear Martin say that I was “pushing the boundaries” with my digiscoping is much-treasured praise.
Martin was a real expert in bird identification – he was at the top of his game. Queries were invariably referred to him. Martin was definitely the ” man who does”. It’s no surprise therefore that Birding Frontiers was ground breaking stuff, being interesting and informative with many learned contributors and experts from around the world. I was really proud therefore when Martin asked me to contribute on digiscoping.
I also have Martin to thank for my working relationship with Swarovski which has been beneficial to me in pursuing my digiscoping passion.
Martin will be sadly missed by me and many others but his knowledge and his willingness to spread and share that knowledge will live on through his Challenge books and Birding Frontiers.
posted by Justin Carr. The past few Weeks have been pretty good for birding on the coast from Hornsea upto Scarborough. With a few Rarities and and a good supporting cast of scarce birds thrown in. with influxes of wild geese and Owls.
Here’s a few pics from the last few weeks.
One of the 3 Richards pipits
3 Richards pipits have been a popular attraction at North Landing Flambrough mostly frequenting the same weedy field just east of the car park and at the time of writing still present. Richards pipits in recent years seem to be overwintering in increasing numbers especially on the coast.
supporting cast came in the shape of this one of my favorite birds a Peregrine. i was really happy to capture this shot as it sailed by.
Also manged to capture this Kestrel hanging in the updraft of the cliffs it was a rather breezy day ( we seem to have had a lot of them lately ).
Short eared owl
Apparently vole numbers have crashed this winter this would account for the influx of owls into the UK most notably Short eared owls. if you live near any landscaped pit tips you have good chance of picking one of these stunners up. this bird took up residence on the grassy slopes along North bay Scarbrough and was remarkably confiding, after many dog walkers came and went the owl got up for a fly around then astonishingly came to land about 5 meters away
I have made a few trips to Hornsea mere but as is often the case there the good birds where rather distant and imposible to photograph, a shame as there has been regular sightings of Red necked and Slavonian Grebes as well as Long tailed Duck and a brief Kumlins Gull. i have included the Mute Swan well because i rather like it in the fading evening light.
And last but not least a immature Drake Surf scoter has took a liking to filey bay, on both occasions it to was to distant for anything other than a record shot.
so instead i thought i would post this surfer just to show you you can Digiscope more than just wildlife.
all images Digiscoped on a Swarovski ATX 85. GOOD Digiscoping!!
Posted by Justin Carr.
For us living in the UK its been a grim couple of months weather wise rain more rain and yet more rain. Being a photographer i have more reason than most to like a nice sunny day, they have been rather Scarce lately, but not put of by the lack of light Digiscoping opportunities still arouse on my recent days out Birding.
Goldfinches brighten up any dull day
The above Red throated diver and Shag where in Scarborough Harbour on day when i have to say its a good job the Swaro and the Camera are Waterproof.
And then the Sun came out. YIPEEEEEEE.
Everyone loves Purple Sandpipers
These purple sandpipers where part of a group of around 40 that gather on the Harbour wall off Bridlington Harbour at high tide.
Grey seal pup
Donna nook on the north Lincolnshire Coast is a great place to get up close and personal with these Great Mammals. it was funny i have never seen so many Cameras. lots of people snapping away on there phones and even a guy with his ipad. I love that social media has made us all photographers.
Happy new year to you all, and have a Great Digiscoping year.
All images taken on a Swarovski ATX 85.
Posted by Justin Carr
This week saw two visits to Alkbrough Lincolnshire. Although both days the weather was decidedly inclement to say the least, and as all photographers know not ideal for that perfect image, but sunny days have been few and far between the last few weeks so beggars can’t be choosers. Now even though the weather was foul photographic opportunities where plenty, after a popular Bearded tit post from a few weeks ago I thought I would have another go at them the they didn’t disappoint. I also had a nice surprise too in the form of a rarely seen mammal (well by day anyway).
male Bearded Tit
Same bird as adove
I am no expert on bats but believe it’s not unusual to see Noctule bats in Daylight but its only my second record.
It gave great views for nearly half an hour as it fed sometimes passing by at close quarters.
Some other shots below.
Water Rails are opportunist birds with small rodents ans even bird on the menu, but this one has to make do with just a slug!!
Little egret avoiding an attacking Lapwing.
All shots as always Digiscoped on a Swarovski ATX 85
Posted by Justin Carr.
I recently took a trip to Alkborough, Lincolnshire with my good mate and long term birding partner Chris Robinson. Alkborough is a Nature reserve on the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Trent. Anyway after a short walk from the car park towards the first hide it was obvious there was plenty of Bearded Tit activity in the reedbeds next to the path. Birds where calling from all around us but seeing them wasn’t easy as it was a very breezy day. Eventually though I managed a few record shots of a single male as it clung on to the tops of the swaying phrag. Not really happy with the shots I got, I knew another trip there was on the cards and the weekends weather forecast was ideal for Bearded Tits, high pressure = no wind. Fast forward the weekend!!
Also showing well was Common Snipe which showed well in front of on of the hides.
And last off I experimented with maximum magnification 65x on the Scope.
For me maximum magnification is not ideal it creates a far too soft image, I would rather use the lowest magnification then crop afterwards, but that’s just my opinion. Try experimenting for yourself!!
All images Digiscoped on a Swarovski ATX85.
Gulls are a bit like Marmite for birders. Love them or can’t be bothered with them, but I am sure most would agree Little Gulls are are fab birds full of character, and if you are like me there’s no bigger buzz than finding them on an easterly blow in Spring on an inland stretch of water.
But for us lucky soles that live in Yorkshire we are treated to a spectacle of thousands of these dainty gulls that congregate every Autumn at Hornsea Mere. Here they can offer fantastic views as they feed close inshore and a few take time out to rest on the boating jetties. The day I visited weather conditions where perfect for water walking in the same way Leach’s Petrel’s do. I really enjoyed spending a couple of hours with these fabulous Little Gulls.
All images Digiscoped on a Swarovski ATX 85.
Last Sunday saw me arrive at Flamorough before the sunrise ( not the norm for me ). It was a clear starry morning soI headed for Thornwick Pool to wait for the sun to come up. The next 6 hours or so where spent in the great photography hide, part of the mutli-facted new vision of Flamborough Bird Observatory. Anyway back to business. As it got light I could see there was a juvenile Knot present. Ss it got lighter the bird came to within a few metres of the hide.
The shots below shows images taken from before the sunrise through to the harsh light of midday for me its interesting to see the effect the light has on how the bird looks.
just as the Sun is rising
Knot doing a Turnstone.
in the golden light
Harsh light of late morning
I hope Iv’e inspired all the budding Photographers to get up early just once in a while the results might just be worth the effort.
All images taken a Swarovski ATX 85.