Category Archives: Digiscoping

Give us a Coues’s….

Justin Carr

After a relatively poor day at Spurn, where a Firecrest was the only highlight, I decided to call in on my way home, for a recently found Coues’s Arctic Redpoll….

As it was too close to warrant driving past, I decided to try to brighten a dull day by calling in at Water’s EdgeCountryPark near Barton-Upon-Humber to see and hopefully digiscope this recently discovered Coues’s Arctic Redpoll.

Fortunately, I was successful on both counts and here are some of my record-shots of the bird.

 

Coue's Arctic Redpoll © Justin Carr 2014

Coue’s Arctic Redpoll © Justin Carr 2014

 

Coue's Arctic Redpoll © Justin Carr 2014

Coue’s Arctic Redpoll © Justin Carr 2014

 

and a little bit of video:

 

Coue's Arctic Redpoll © Justin Carr 2014

Coue’s Arctic Redpoll © Justin Carr 2014

Coue's Arctic Redpoll © Justin Carr 2014

Coue’s Arctic Redpoll © Justin Carr 2014

Good digiscoping

Justin

Photoskills…

Looking after the Lincolnshire Bird Club (http://www.lincsbirdclub.co.uk) website has resulted in a steady number of emails asking the “I saw an interesting bird in the garden” type question…. I expect that the Birding Frontiers website gets its fair share….

Take a look at this attachment that dropped into my mailbox at the beginning of last week (March 2014) from Eunice Horspool…

Lincs Thrush

It’s certainly an interesting picture, which made me look twice and then twice again! (I can 100% guarantee that there is NO photoshopping or editing to this photo, what you see is straight off the camera-phone) .

For the record, Eunice has emailed me before, including recently in February 2014 with the following photograph. (I think Eunice would be the first one to admit her photographic skills need working on…)

EHorspool_3

However, this bird turned out to be a Glossy Ibis, present at Chapel St Leonards, Lincs for approximately two weeks in February 2014 and enjoyed by many birders!

So, back to the original image.

I carefully wrote back and asked if there were any other images of the bird, which had ‘recently’ turned up in her garden…. and got the following two images (!) clearly showing two very different birds….

EHorspool_double

At this point a local birder (Nige Lound), visited the site,…..

 

….and found a rather ‘chestnut’ fronted………….

 

…………… female blackbird!

So, why is the original image so wrong! With digital cameras getting common place, I guess we can expect more ‘funny bird” photos, and with it more photographic artifacts of JPeg compression (which is clearly making the original picture look so so odd), or maybe in-camera sharpening and wrongly set features are to blame in this case?

The following image was taken by local Lincolnshire birder Andy Sims. The picture was taken on the Lincs coast last autumn (2012), using a bridge camera, with the white balance accidentally ‘wrongly’ set, and the result is a chiffchaff with a blueish tail! There was never any question that this wasn’t a chiff, BUT if this had been the only photo supplied by a non-birder, it would be a more tricky ID.

BTChiff

Unfortunately, no matter how much you spend on a camera, not one of the manufactures have come up with a little button labelled “40 year experience”…….

However, I mustn’t complain, over the year I have had a couple of results by following up ‘funny bird’ emails, here are two examples…

Email 1. I think I have an American Cuckoo in my garden?

RSC_Cranwell_2002

Resulting in a 1st winter Rose-coloured Starling….

Email 2. I would like to report, what I believe is a “MEGA” feeding under my garden bird table.

WTSparrow_lincs

Resulting in a white-throated sparrow (which unfortunately only the garden owner saw BUT fortunately photographed!) and was accepted by BBRC in 2010…..

Andrew Chick March 2014

Bempton produces the goods!

Justin Carr

A trip to Bempton RSPB yesterday provided excellent digiscoping opportunities of a rarely seen plumage of an uncommon species

I called at RSPB Bempton yesterday, the highlight of which, was close-up views of 15 Lapland Bunting in cliff-top fields, four of which were singing males. Here are a few of my digiscoped shots…….

Lapland Bunting at Bempton RSPB © Justin Carr 2014

Lapland Bunting at Bempton RSPB © Justin Carr 2014

 

Lapland Bunting at Bempton RSPB © Justin Carr 2014

Lapland Bunting at Bempton RSPB © Justin Carr 2014

 

Lapland Bunting at Bempton RSPB © Justin Carr 2014

Lapland Bunting at Bempton RSPB © Justin Carr 2014

The above were taken with a PANASONIC GH3 with 20mm lens on a SWAROVSKI 80 with 30x wide lens.

Good digiscoping

Justin

A digiscoping challenge and an interesting haircut….

Justin Carr

Having woken early this morning, I decided to take the short drive from my house to Doncaster Lakeside hoping to catch some early spring passage and hopefully digiscope a few birds

After awhile a 70 or so Sand Martin dropped in and as I am always up for a challenge I began taking a few shots as the Martins passed my position at the lake’s edge. Here are the best of my efforts……

Sand Martin at Doncaster Lakeside © Justin Carr 2014

Sand Martin at Doncaster Lakeside © Justin Carr 2014

Sand Martin at Doncaster Lakeside © Justin Carr 2014

Sand Martin at Doncaster Lakeside © Justin Carr 201

And finally……..

Sand Martin at Doncaster Lakeside © Justin Carr 2014

Sand Martin at Doncaster Lakeside © Justin Carr 2014

I also noticed this Tufted Duck with a semi-Afro…..

Tufted Duck at Doncaster Lakeside © Justin Carr 2014

Tufted Duck at Doncaster Lakeside © Justin Carr 2014

All the above were taken with a Panasonic GH3, with a 20mm pancake lens and a Swarovski 80 with 30x wide angle eyepiece.

Other birds seen during the hour and a half to two hours before I had to leave for work included  a Woodcock flushed by a dog from one of the shrubberies , 13 Meadow Pipit and 2 Siskin all moving north.

Good digiscoping 

Justin

Some shots from a trip to North Yorks

Justin Carr

A few shots of a Dipper taken this weekend in North Yorkshire

 

Dipper gathering nest material © Justin Carr 2014

Dipper gathering nest material © Justin Carr 2014

Another of the same bird © Justin Carr 2014

Another of the same bird © Justin Carr 2014

And another © Justin Carr 2014

And another © Justin Carr 2014

And finally..... © Justin Carr 2014

And finally….. ©    Justin Carr 2014

All the above were taken with a Panasonic GH3, with a 20mm pancake lens and a Swarovski 80 with 30x wide angle eyepiece.

Good digiscoping 

Justin

 

 

Norfolk Parrots

Steve Blain
A rare opportunity to go birding in some sunshine this winter meant looking for Parrot Crossbills, but such fantastic views got in the way of doing some digiscoping!

Check out that bird top-left – a bill like a macaw!

It was my first chance to get out in some sunshine for weeks so I headed up to Norfolk.  The flock of Parrot Crossbills at Holt Country Park were the main object of my desires so we headed there first.  We heard them as soon as we got out the car – but they headed off over our heads and away.  That was the last we saw of them!  After a couple of hours we decided to move on.

The divers off Stiffkey were distant, but were in good company with a handful of Long-tailed Ducks, a Slav Grebe, a Black Brant type, and a spanking Med Gull.  Unfortunately none of this stuff was very digiscopable!  As it was now lunchtime we headed back to Holt to try and find the Parrots again.

As we pulled up in the car park we glanced over to the clearfell and could see a group of birders stood in the middle.  A quick look at the bare pine above them and there were crossbills!  Hastily getting the scopes out and zooming in a little revealed their gloriously humongous bills!  We hurried over to the group of birders.

The group of 15 Parrot Crossbills were all teed up on the dead pine and would occasionally drop down to a small puddle to take a sip of water.  Of course I missed them coming down to drink every time as I was too busy actually looking at how huge the bills were.  Some of these birds were approaching ‘Macaw Crossbills’, not merely Parrots!  Sometimes you have to forsake getting images for the pure pleasure watching a bird up-close brings.

Part of the flock of 15 Parrot Crossbills, Holt Country Park, Norfolk, 22nd February 2014. All taken with a Nikon V1, Swarovski ATS 80 HD, and 25-50x zoom eyepiece.

Digiscoping at feeding stations

Justin Carr

Feeding stations are an excellent place to hone your digiscoping skills…..

I recently visited Tophill Low Nature Reserve, primarily in an effort to digiscope the Otter family that has recently been showing well on the North Marsh. Within 15 minutes of sitting down in the hide, bingo! A mother and two pups appeared. Unfortunately, they quickly disappeared and did not return, so I was unable to photograph them.

As the light was excellent for photography, I decided to make the best use of it and went to digiscope birds visiting the nearby feeding station. Feeding stations are a great place to hone your digiscoping skills for a number of reasons. Firstly, birds tend to be more numerous than in the wilder environment. Secondly, they tend to be tamer than elsewhere. Thirdly, they provide a good variety of species. 

The advantage of digiscoping over SLR photography is that it produces a better focal length ie 1200+mm compared to an average of 400mm for an SLR. 

There are a number of things to bear in mind when digiscoping at feeding stations.

1. Keep at an adequate distance so as not to cause disturbance to the birds, if too      close you will probably destroy the advantages gained by using the station. I would suggest 5-6m.

2. Watch the station for ten minutes or so before going near your equipment. This will give you a good idea of which branches and other perches the birds are using as the approach and leave the station. 3. You can then focus your scope and camera on the most used perches. Although it is easier to digiscope birds on the feeders, the images gained are not as good as when they are approaching or even leaving the feeders.

3. Even if the feeders still show in the photograph of a bird on a nearby perch, you can in most cases crop them out afterwards.

4. Take as many shots as you can, the more, the better. I took about 200 shots at the Tophill Low but I have deleted the vast majority of these.

5. Never forget that practice makes perfect. Don’t get discouraged if your early shots aren’t as good as you would like. Keep at it!

6. Try getting close-up shots of parts of birds these can provide some stunning images.

7. And finally, try to capture the birds looking directly at you rather than side-on, this makes the images more intimate. Most photographs do not need to show every feature of a bird, there are far more interesting shots to      be obtained.

Here are some of my results from Tophill Low using these techniques…..

Goldfinch at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

Goldfinch at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

 

Coal Tit at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

Coal Tit at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

 

Coal Tit at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

Coal Tit at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

 

Blue Tit at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

Blue Tit at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

The above were taken with a Panasonic GH3 camera with a 20mm pancake lens and Swarovski 80 with a 30mm wide angle lens.

 And a close-up…..

Pheasant close-up at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

Pheasant close-up at Tophill Low © Justin Carr 2014

Happy digiscoping, 

Justin