Thursday, 16 February 2012

It's winter...

Our long weekend in the Solway this year [3-6 Feb] coincided with a spell of very cold weather, when temperatures struggled to get above freezing. It was cold, often windy, and one day vey wet - but we didn’t get any snow, and fortunately found plenty of good birds to compensate for our frozen fingers and toes.
One thing that took my mind off the weather was trying out my new camera. It’s a ‘bridge’ camera – in between a compact and a DSLR. I decided I needed one because sometimes conditions just aren’t suitable for digi-scoping. It’s going to take me a while to use it properly but my first efforts suggest it’s going to be useful. This shot of Turnstones on the beach just outside Stranraer was taken at a fair distance, and not in particularly good light conditions. To the naked eye the birds were really just tiny brown shapes, but the camera picked them up clearly (try clicking on the photo to zoom in even more)...

It also seems to reproduce colour well – this glowing sunrise, taken from Port Beg Cottage, was spectacular...


The Panasonic was in use again last Sunday [12 Feb] at Pitsford Reservoir. The thaw still hadn't set in and much of the water was frozen...

...but that encouraged birds to congregate around the relatively small areas of open water, this pair of Goldeneye for example...

Happy though I am with my new camera, I still love digi-scoping with my super little Sony Compact – which comes into its own when you want to take video...
Further round on Pitsford we found this Mallard [I think!] with unusual blonde plumage. My first thought was that it's a hybrid, but I later wondered if might be a leucistic bird (i.e. lacks the pigment melanin) – but whatever, an attractive bird.

video


Nearby was a pair of Smew, both sleeping on the water when we first spotted them. Eventually the female decided to get out onto the ice...
video

After which the devoted little drake took to patrolling up and down in the water in front of her, occasionally displaying, and keeping guard while she rested...

video