Little-ringed plover

Little-ringed plover, Charadrius dubius, single bird in display flight, Warwickshire, March 2019. Olympus Em1 Mk2. 300mm f4 lens plus 1.4 extender. 3200 iso. 12,800th sec at F5.6.

I would not have attempted this picture with my old Canon gear. With Olympus anything is possible. In fact over two sessions in a hide I only had three opportunites to take this picture and I got it on the third attempt. It was taken at 60 fps using Procapture with the focus set manually in front of the bird using Peaking to assist the focusing. No extra noise reduction has been done.

It is by far the most amazing camera I have ever used. If you have ever seen LRP’s in their display flight you will know how fast they move.

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Eider duck mating

On the way back from Islay we called in at Seahouses to photograph the tame Eider duck. I take more and more video clips these days, but there is always the dilemma as to whether to shoot stills or video. When the female showed she was ready I had plenty of notice and time to choose either. I am glad I went to video mode as they turned their backs on me and it would have made a poor stills picture. I love the calls of Eider ducks, especially the sound the male makes as it dismounted.

Olympus Em1 MK2. 300mm f4 lens.

Barnacle geese

This picture sums up a very cold, wet and windy week on Islay in February. We saw a lot, but photographed little on the island. However, on the way north we spent the night at Glasgow and a long session at Hogganfield Loch for tame Goosander and Goldeneye. It has changed a lot since I was last there, but was still very good for photography.

On the way south we stopped at Seahouses for half a day with the Eider duck displaying in the harbour, whcih was equally successful.

 

Barnacle goose, Branta leucopsis, flock backlit, Islay, Hebrides, Scotland, February 2019. Olympus Em1 Mk2. 300mm lens plus 1.4 extender. 400 iso. 1/2000th at F5.6 handheld.

Green woodpecker

At this time of year Green woodpeckers start calling a lot and I have noticed over the years that they call from the same clump of trees that they will later breed in. This telegraph pole is close to the nest site this pair have used for the last two years and I have seen them land on it a number of times. Today was sunny at last and I wasted a few hours sitting in a hide hoping they would land there again.

Olympus em1, 300mm lens. 400 iso.

Green woodpecker, Picus viridis, Single female on telegraph pole, Warwickshire, January 2019

Photographing jays

I have been spending a lot of time learning video. It is a complex subject with so many settings I do not understand. I have had to change the video editing software I was using as my old one could not cope with 4K video. I am now using Cyberlink PowerDirector 17 which I am finding easy to get to grips with. This clip I have put together tonight in a couple of hours. Dealing with sound is the hardest part of the whole process.

Eurasian jay

I wanted a few pictures of jays taking acorns off the floor rather than from logs. The floor is a raised platform covered in leaves. I placed an obvious perch above the platform that the jays would land on and see the bait below them.

Eurasian jay, Garrulus glandarius, single bird on ground with acorn, Warwickshire, December 2018. Olympus Em1 Mk2. 40-150 f2.8 lens with 1.4 extender. 800 iso. 1/500th at f4.5.

Common buzzard

Common buzzard, Buteo buteo, single bird on dead pheasant, Warwickshire, December 2018. Olympus Em1 Mk2. 300mm f4 lens plus 1.4 extender. 1250th at f5.6. 400 iso

I have been baiting buzzards in a new field for about 2 weeks. The hide is half hidden behind the bank of a small pond and puts the lens at ground level. Next time I might move the bait a bit closer to the hide to reduce the amount of out of focus grass in the foreground. What I really want is more than one buzzard coming in so I get some displaying and fighting that they are prone to doing.

Buzzard

Ring ouzel

Ring ouzel, Turdus torquatus, Single male on berries, Wales, November 2018

Olympus Em1 Mk2. 300mm f4 lens plus 1.4 extender. 1/640th at f5.6. 3200 iso.

In my twenties I would go to the Elan Valley in Wales to find their nests, but they have not bred there for some years as far as I know. In the autumn they do pass through and feed on the few rowan trees found in the car parks. The valley is a wet place with 70″ of rain a year and I felt that 35″ of those fell while I sat with them for two days. At least I was in the car.

Redwings

Redwings and fieldfares are not so easy to get close to in the early winter when there are so many berries available. They start off eating the rowan and sloe berries, before turning to hawthorn later in the year. It is worth effort trying to get close to them on sloe, because they really struggle to eat the large berries. Taken on the Olympus Em1 Mk2 with a 300mm lnes and 1.4 extender.