Saturday, June 30, 2007

juv Swallow and Cuckoo

a couple more flight shots of the local Cuckoos, still feasting on the drinker moth caterpillars, and a fledged juvenile Swallow in the same area

AF Swifts and good light

with little on offer to photograph of late I took advantage of some nice light on Friday afternoon to have a go at some feeding Swifts---the birds were moving very fast and often in all sorts of directions with little stalling so it was a real test of the camera equipment (and my handling ability) to get them in the frame and sharp and with a decent pose (the latter often a matter of luck)---exposure was about 4000th second at f4 at ISO 320 on the Canon 1DIIN and Canon 300 2.8 lens---I use the Image Stabiliser on mode 2 and the settings on manual exposure, A1 Servo and 45 AF points---Swifts are always a challenge but a few results were pleasing; I particularly liked the shot with the insect above the Swift in the next frame it had already been caught and eaten so fast was the action

apus action

with the Canon 1DIIN and the Canon 300 2.8 lens AF is nice and fast and tracking is good against the sky but even so with birds which are moving erraticlaly like these Swifts I reckon on only about one shot in seven being sharp! note in the last shot the bird is either blinking or taking a quick nap

Swifts again

a few more with varying poses--in the third shot the bird is closing on a flying insect

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

a few more Cucks

Cuckoo gathering

Mark Bannister alerted me to an evening gathering of Cuckoos in a local reedbed where 3-4 birds had been feeding in recent days---tonight there were four birds present with at least one male singing occasionally; the birds perched in hawthorns and a small elder around and in the reedbed watching for prey then swooped down into the tops of the reeds emerging every time with a large brownish grey hairy caterpillar with yellow spotting on the sides; these appear to be Drinker Moth caterpillars which are climbing the reeds to pupate (info via Roy Harvey)---the gathering of adult Cuckoos seems to be related to the abundant food supply but I have not yet looked up how unusual it is or if it is a regular occurrence prior to their southbound migration---these rather poor pictures show some of the action

more Cuckoo action

two of the four Cuckoos

a bit wet

we have had 100mm of rain locally this week and things are a tad damp---a local road note the cr roof in the water on the left; East Halton pits where Great Crested Grebes were swimming in a gras field today; Thornton Abbey Skiter Beck, this is usually a very large field and NO tennis today on the local courts--rain stopped all play

Sunday, June 24, 2007

more Peregrines

the weather forecast was poor but I wanted to try and get some shots of the juv Peregrines before they started to disperse--in the event I was not very succesfull but this interaction between a juv and the male just as it started to rain heavily was a nice observation

juv on gargoyle

this juvenile was perched for a long spell on this prominent gargoyle until the female brought it a pigeon in the last pic

adult peregrinus selection

flight shots on a dull day