Sunday, 27 October 2013

Garden Birds

The weather here in the West of Scotland has been cloudy and wet so I have not been going on any outings lately. There is little point in travelling to a place and having to put up with poor light and generally miserable conditions.

I have been setting up my spotting scope to watch the birds at the feeders in my garden and trying to improve my digiscoping.

As it is fairly mild for this time of year, there has not been a large number of birds at the feeders. In the cold winter months of December and January, the numbers will increase. The most frequent visitor to the feeders has been a Coal Tit, but some House Sparrows have also been attending.

Coal Tit
Coal Tit

I subscribe to an excellent blog written by an American called Suzanne and she recently included photographs of a small bird which she called a Chickadee. It looks very similar to a Coal Tit.

Coal Tit on left and female House Sparrow on the right

For a number of years, House Sparrows were in decline but their numbers have been increasing.

Robin Redbreast

With Christmas just around the corner many shops have started selling Christmas cards and calendars. Many of them will have pictures of Robins on them.This is because in Victorian Britain wore red tunics as part of their uniform and were nicknamed 'Redbreasts'. At Christmas time postmen were more in evidence and so the robin ‘redbreast’ began appearing on Christmas cards as a representation of the postmen.

The birds are portrayed as being sweet and fluffy but in reality Robins are aggressive birds and will fight to the death is another Robin enters its territory. However, they look nice at Christmas so we can forgive them a little bit for their aggression.

Hopefully, next weekend will be better and will allow different birds to be spotted and photographed. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Digiscoping Birds - Some Photographs

The weekend weather for the past few weeks has been cloudy and wet so there were not many opportunities for outdoor activities. The rain on Saturday was very heavy but today it did become brighter around mid-day so I went to my local bird pond to catch up with the new feathered arrivals.

Many birds migrate from Scandinavia to the UK over the winter for the slightly longer days and milder weather. I took my spotting scope and my SLR camera and tried to get some shots of the birds. Using a scope requires good light but I was hopeful the light was bright enough to get some decent photographs.

Digiscoping equipment
The first few photographs of the Robin were taken in my garden. Robins are great birds top photograph as they are not shy and are entertaining.

The other photographs were taken at my local bird pond. The water levels were quite high so there were no waders about as they prefer shallow waters. However, there were many Whooper Swans who had arrived for the winter from Scandinavia. Photographs of them can be seen below.

There were also a group of  Cormorants sitting on a platform on the water. One was stretching its wings so I took a few photographs of it. There were also some heron but they were quite far away. However, I did manage to get a photograph of one sitting high in a tree overlooking the River Clyde.

The photographs came out quite well. The main problem with digiscoping with an SLR camera is that the autofocus does not work on the camera so the focus has to be done manually. It is also useful to use a remote shutter control to minimize camera shake.

Hopefully, there will be sunnier days so that I can improve my digiscoping technique.