Hooded crow

This is one of my favourite images from a recent trip to Romania. It is taken from an improvised lie down hide at the waters edge. Canon EOS 1dx. 800mm lens. 800 iso. 1/25ooth at f5.6

The birds were surprisingly daring, hovering just above the water to try and grab a mussle being washed in on the surf.

Hooded crow, Corvus corone cornix, single bird feeding on mussels in water, Romania, July 2017

House sparrow

House sparrow, Passer domesticus, single young bird flying from a cherry branch, Warwickshire, June 2017

Olympus Em1-Mk2. 300mm f4. 3200 iso. 1/4000th f5. From a hide and again using the Pro capture mode at 60 fps, else it would have been a picture of cherrys only.

Sand martins

Sand martin, Riparia riparia, two birds mating, Worcestershire, June 2017. From a portable hide.

Olympus EM1 Mk2. 300mm f4 lens. 1/4000th at f6.3. 1600 iso.
Taken using the Pro-capture mode at 60 fps. This means holding the release button half way down so the camera is taking pictures at 60 fps, but not writting them to the SD card. When the button is fully depressed it starts writting to the card and includes the 14 images prior to you pressing the button. Means you can sleep on the job and still get the moment.

 

 

 

 

Reed bunting

Common reed bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus, single male singing, on reed, Warwickshire, June 2017

One of the easist birds to do in song. In this wet meadow there are no high bushes. They can only sing from low vegetation and if you see a Reed bunting on a perch singing three times then put up a hide and within minutes it will be back and ignore the hide. I choose a two tone backgrownd as I prefer two colours to one. Canon 1dx. 800mm lens. 800 iso/ 1/800th at f9. Hide and tripod.

Brown hare

European brown hare, Lepus europaeus, single hare running, Warwickshire, June 2017

 

I have tried the hares backlit before on the same field and always enjoy doing so. Canon 1dx. 800mm. 1/2500th at f14. 800 iso.

With the Canon gear they do react to the sound of the shutter and turn away from me. I am sitting on a stool in the open, but with my back against long grass. When I use the Olympus Em1 Mk2 they come much closer as it is totally silent. So far with the Olympus I have always been flat on the floor and am amazed how close they will come.

European brown hare, Lepus europaeus, single hare on field, Warwickshire, May 2017. Olympus Em1 MK2. 1600 iso/ 1/250th at f6.3. 300mm f4 lens.

I have been lying down from 18:00 hours to 20:00 hours in my favourite hare field. The field has little vegetation growing as it was recently harrowed and has a nice ridge in the middle of it that the hares often run along. When you lie flat on the ground they take no notice of you and come very close. It is just very uncomfortable and two hours is my limit unless I am in a hide and can turn onto my back from time to time.

 

 

Avocet

Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta, Single bird in water, Bulgaria, April 2017

Canon EOS 1DX, 800mm lens 1/3200th at f13. 800 iso

No need for a hide in the Burgas wetlands of Bulgaria. The Avocets are tame enough to just lie down at the waters edge and they come close enough along with other waders.

 

Green woodpecker

Green Woodpecker, Picus viridis, single male bird on grass, Worcestershire, April 2017. Canon 1dx. 800mm. 1/1000th at f8. 1600 iso. From a hide.

I have never had much success with Green woodpeckers on the ground. I have done them on the nest, but rarely feeding on the grass. Last spring I got lucky and did them well for the first time and again this spring. I was actually waiting for a buzzard to come in when this bird landed.

Little grebe

Little grebe or dabchick, Tachybaptus ruficollis, single bird on water wing stretch, Worcestershire, April 2017

Olympus Em1 Mk2. 300mm f4 lens. 1600 iso. 1/2500 at F5.6

This is taken using the Pro Capture mode and is the second time I have switched it on. I was experimenting and trying to test the setting when this grebe reared well out of the water. At first I just keep my finger half depressing the release button thinking I was capturing it. Just as it started to lower itself I had doubts and fully depressed the button. Fortunately it caught it on the 14 frames prior to me pressing the button.

What I am confused by is that the EVF does not have blackouts when using Pro Capture. Their is a slight tremor of the image, but not the constant flicker or blackouts that you get in other modes. It makes it much easier to follow a bird in flight without the blackouts and if it can be done in this mode why not the others. There must be a disadvantage to using Pro Capture, but I have not found it yet and why do they not call it Pre Capture.

Then I read that the newly launched Sony A9 does 20 fps without any blackouts or tremor. The constant viewing of the image will make it much easier to follow action. I expect all mirrorless cameras will have this in the next generation.

Mistle thrush

Mistle thrush, Turdus viscivorus, single bird on grass with worms, Warwickshire, April 2017

Taken with the Olympus Em1 MK2 and the 300mm f4 lens. 400 iso, 1/1000th at f6.3.

I am getting used to the many settings on this very complicated camera. Like most things complicated it is working out which settings you can ignore and most of them you can. It is so wonderfully light to carry around that I am much more likely to do so than I am with my Canon gear.