Saturday, 21 June 2014

New toy

I went over to Southampton, to the London Camera Exchange at Civic Centre, yesterday for a new camera bag and maybe a new (secondhand) lens as well. As it happens I left LCE with no new bag and no lens, mainly because I couldn't find a bag I liked and there were no lenses I wanted (s/h Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L). Instead, I've somehow ended up with a secondhand Canon 1D Mark III with only 6300 shutter clicks on it. I've always wanted a 1D-series DSLR but, given that new models (the latest is the 1Dx) command huge prices, they've always been out of my financial reach. The 1D3 is a bit old now, having been released in 2007, but it's still a very capable device and so far I am pleased with the results from it.
I've not seriously tried it on wild birds but here's the pup and my aunt's pet gander, Mr. G. The shots were with my 100-400mm zoom.

And a quick shot of Queen Mary 2 in Southampton yesterday. I always like photographing 'Her Madge' as she's an impressive ship (had the pleasure of a short cruise on her in 2012, she's fabulous, inside and out). The photo was taken with the 24-105mm zoom.

The one major disadvantage of this camera is that it is heavy, very heavy. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014


A Bullfinch is an unusual garden visitor. Not a crippler, definitely not rare by any means, but not that common now so it's nice to see and such a pretty bird, too. When I took the photo a few days ago it was just the male about, but yesterday he was joined by his Mrs.
Apols for bad image, it was into the evening, it was cloudy and the light - what there was of it - was going, plus I was trying to handhold my 100-400mm zoom and the ISO was set to stupid hundred.


As a Southampton FC fan I am more than a tad irritated - no I'm not, I am actually completely pissed off - by the national rags trying to sell the entire first team. They ought to learn not to make stuff up and, not only that, realise that keep repeating rumours, lies and conjecture (with the occasional arse-covering reverse-ferret), won't make it any more likely to happen. Knock it off, tossers.

Monday, 19 May 2014


Turnstones at East Cowes a couple of weeks ago

Monday, 21 April 2014

Back home

I'm back from Australia and it was a great trip, even if I didn't do as much birding as I intended (I went to an astronomy event and all-night observing meant that the days were spent not doing much, especially in 30°C heat). I will have a few photos to put on here though, once I've processed them.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Blogging via email

Because iPads (and, to be fair, not just iPads, tablets in general) are generally useless for everything except browsing the net, collecting email (it's happy to receive them although its ideas differ from mine about sending them), reading electronic books and listening to music, if I want to update the blog during the three weeks I'll be away I'll have to use email. Blogger doesn't have an app (why?) which would make life a lot easier and the regular browser interface is practically unusable in Safari.

I think I can add photos, so I'll attach one to the email and see what happens. The photo is of a Rainbow Bee-eater from my previous visit to Australia. I hope this works, so far the Gmail mobile site isn't great while the mobile app is plain old shite!

I am setting off tomorrow and will return home on 9th April, unless idiot politicians get us all nuked over Crimea...and the moronic willy-waving over that land-grab is getting ever more serious.

It seems as if email blogging works okay although I have to go in and edit out all the email-related crap.

NB - I've added in old imported posts from my old travel blog, these relate to my previous trip to Australia and SE Asia and can be seen under '2009' (links on right). The formatting's a bit screwed but I'll sort it out at some point.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Culver Down

Photos from Culver this morning, on a glorious warm early spring day. As usual, click on them for largest sizes.


Herring Gull



It looks as if one is getting an earful from the other, but there was no sound and it was most likely part of their courtship display as the left bird appeared to be begging.

Meadow Pipit

There was no sign of the reported male Black Redstarts on the cottages, or on the fort either, where I've seen them in the past. A quick visit to the little housing estate in Sandown also drew a blank and I think Black Reds are avoiding me this year!
Skylarks were singing, a sure sign of the approaching season and Chiffchaffs were calling from scrub. After an hour, Culver was getting crowded as more people arrived (although, to me, more than about half a dozen people is 'crowded'!) so I left.

Glossy Ibis pics

This was the first opportunity since Sunday to get another look at the Adgestone Glossy Ibis and hopefully a closer view than I had last week. The Ibis was feeding on a field adjacent to the marsh, and I was able to get a few photos at the long end of my 100-400mm zoom. They are huge crops because the bird just wasn't close enough to get better ones, but a lot better than Sunday's woeful extreme range effort.

Click for the largest size

Following the Glossy Ibis visit, I then went up to Culver in the hope of some early migrants. There weren't but I did get a few photos of common species which will be in the next post.