Thursday, 29 August 2013

Quick Ireland Over-view.

I must apologise for the lack of posts recently. But to be quite honest there hasn't been all that much to speak about.  With most resident birds molting at this time of year they aren't as showy as usual, and at the best of times they still can't always be called showy.  I have however done my best to at least have a couple of images to post.
 Well I'm still in Ireland, and around the land bird life is thin.  So, like many wildlife photographers do at this time of year I have spent a...small while photographing butterflies.   Well perhaps not a small while as such.  They are about the only thing I'm photographing so small doesn't do the amount of time justice.  Although I wouldn't say I've got any good images yet.
 The problem I've had most is backgrounds and perches.  But on a rare occasion I have had a bit of luck with where they choose to land.
 I've mostly been focusing on Small Copper and Silver-washed Fritillary Butterflies, as I won't get another opportunity with these for a while as the city isn't usually ideal habitat for them!
 Anyway I won't post loads of butterfly pictures....yet.

Surprisingly I have managed a few bird photos.  But I think putting emphasis on the few would be a good idea.  Unless you count the day I took several hundred images of Fulmar.  But I will save the details of that for another day.

I did also spend a while getting covered in mud stalking Black-tailed Godwits and got within 15 foot of a Stonechat.  But I think that too can wait until I am back in England.

 I will however tell that I have managed a few year ticks.  Taking me to 159 for the year, so close to 160.  Tantalisingly close.  But hopefully the 160 tick wont be far off.  My life-list though still stands stead-fast on 170, at least that is a nice round number.  But to reach my end-of-the-year goal I still need another five ticks.  I really need to get the last few fairly common ones I haven't yet got, so hopefully it should be possible.
  I will also forewarn you to expect...hmmm......about three more Ireland blogs, or maybe four? -sorry.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Wildlife Watching Supplies Camera/lens Cover Review.

For a wildlife photographer being able to shoot in the elements is vital to get eye-catching shots.  You must however protect your equipment.  This is why I always keep a camera/lens cover in my bag when I'm out photographing. I personally use a camera/lens cover from Wildlife Watching Supplies, made in Britain with fine quality Proofed Polycotton in camouflage colour on the outside and uniform olive-green water-proof nylon on the other.  The end is elasticated so that it fits snugly on the lens hood covering the whole of the lens, at the front there is a drawstring to cover the camera's LCD screen.

I've used this camera/lens cover for a couple of months now and have been constantly impressed by it.  Shorty after I got it I was in Ireland for a week So when the inescapable rain came, instead of staying indoors I went out to test it. I spent around an hour wandering around the countryside getting completely soaked.  When I got back inside however the lens beneath the cover was bone-dry.  The same couldn't be said for me.  I noticed that rather than being absorbed, the rain slides off the cover, but a constant soaking can get into the polycotton. This is no trouble though as it dries surprisingly quickly and doesn't get through the waterproof nylon beneath.

Not only does the cover protect your camera/lens from the elements it also camouflages it and breaks up the outline helping disguise the camera.

The only downside to this product is that it reduces control over the zoom.  If you use a prime lens however this will be no problem, I for one use a zoom lens for the versatility it gives.

The camera/lens cover by Wildlife Watching Supplies is a must have for all photographers, it folds up small so won't take up much space in your bag, but most importantly it keeps your equipment safe from the elements.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wait a Min -smere

I have spent the last week camping, hence the lack of posts of late.  I will not however bore you with the obvious discomfort of sleeping for a week on an air bed, but instead I will bore you with a ton of photographs.
 Well the campsite was in Suffolk, could we resist visiting Minsmere?  We couldn't.  And we picked the perfect day for going, and this time I am not being sarcastic about it. Really I'm not.
 Maybe this picture will help you to believe me.

Curlew Sandpiper is that?  Yep. Well from the East hide I got 5 life-ticks, I know, I hardly dared believe it.  The one the other birders got most excited about though was a Wood Sandpiper, showing well but far away, very far away.  Typical rare bird behavior, well if it's a rare bird that I see typical behavior. But regardless of this I enjoyed it extremely, again no sarcasm there.
 We missed a Bittern from that hide -typical- so moved on to the aptly named Bittern hide where 30 minutes provided us with brief flight views of a Bittern -not so typical- then another flight view 20 minutes later.  After another hour or so my father asked whether I wanted to go to one of the other hides. I said we should wait a little longer -hence the title- and that paid off as soon, the Bittern came out of the reeds only 20-30 meters away!  Ah, the satisfaction of finally seeing a Bittern when time after time I had failed.

As though to treat me for my perseverance -if you can call it that- this Bittern didn't just show for a few minutes and then disappear, it showed for well over 80 minutes and was still there when we left -unbelievable.

I mean could you hope for better views?  Well I suppose that if I could have been eye level.....
 I must confess to being slightly trigger happy, I took  well...ah...about 500 images of the one bird...ahem.  Worth it though.

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