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Friday, 26 February 2016

Bullfinch, fishing Grebe, Cetti's Warbler and birds in flight with the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary lens!

My week has seen me taking advantage of some rare bright conditions and trying to capture some 'bird in flight' shots.
   I wrote last year on this blog about the difficulty with 'BIFs' (Birds in flight) and trying to photograph them here;

Mastering BIFS!

When I wrote this I was using a much smaller Nikon 70 -300mm f/5.6 lens.
I am now using the much much bigger Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary lens, and getting BIFs is even harder with this meaty bit of kit! The biggest problem being the weight! As regular readers will already know, I don't like tripods, I always hand-hold, so holding the camera steady and focusing on a fast moving bird with such a heavy lens on my camera is a real challenge!
   The payoff is that there is the potential for some really nice BIFs with this lens, if you get it right!
Luckily, I practice as often as I can, and my 'hit' rate is slowly improving!
   RSPB Greylake is a great place to practice! This week the Chaffinches were kindly hovering for a couple of seconds near the bird tables. With this lens you have to stand almost halfway across the car park to get them in shot!
  From the hide I managed flying a Little Egret, Shoveler and Wigeon.

Also this week I managed shots of a Bullfinch, a Great Crested Grebe with Bullhead fish, a Cetti's Warbler and a few other bits and bobs!

Here are my shots from the week, starting with my BIFs!

Hovering Chaffinch

  ^Above^ - Hovering Chaffinches, all female apart from a male at the top!

Little Egret

  ^Above^ - Little Egret at RSPB Greylake.


  ^Above^ - Shoveler at RSPB Greylake.


  ^Above^ - Wigeon at RSPB Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Snipe at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Lapwing at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Small Starling murmuration at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Carrion Crow at Greylake.

Marsh Harrier and Buzzard

  ^Above^ - Marsh Harrier mobbing a Buzzard at Greylake!

  ^Above^ - Black Headed Gulls at Apex Park in Burnham on Sea, Somerset.

  ^Above^ - Winter ducks at Greylake, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler.

  ^Above^ - Flocks of Golden Plover and Lapwing at Greylake.

On Sunday I went to Sand Bay to try and photograph Dartford Warblers that had been seen there, unfortunately the weather was so cloudy, cold and windy, the Dartfords stayed mostly out of sight! I only had a couple of brief glimpses as they darted between clumps of Buckthorn & disappeared inside! I will have to return on a sunny still day......if we get one soon!!
    I had to content myself with the resident Stonechats, a lot more hardier species! They didn't mind sitting out in the open in the biting wind at all!

  ^Above^ - Male and female Stonechats at Sand Bay.

On another pretty miserable day I had lunch at Chard Reservoir, where I captured some Cormorants. They seem to be getting ready for the breeding season!

  ^Above^ - Cormorants at Chard Reservoir.

I stopped briefly at Chew Valley Lake on a seperate day, and managed to capture this Great Crested Grebe capturing a Bullhead fish! Quite unusual considering I was at a still lake, and Bullheads are usually found on fast flowing rivers!

Great Crested Grebe and Bullhead

  ^Above^ - A fishing Great Crested Grebe at Chew Valley Lake.

  ^Above^ - Not to be outdone, this female Tufted Duck also caught a fish at Chew Valley Lake!

Whilst working near Castle Cary I passed 3 or 4 Bullfinches, a species I don't see very often unfortunately! Managed a couple of snatched shots through my van window!

  ^Above^ - Bullfinches at Castle Cary in Somerset. (Female 2nd top)

Cetti's Warbler

  ^Above^ - Cettis Warbler at Greylake..... very hard to photograph and was shooting into the sun, but still chuffed to get!

  ^Above^ - Male Chaffinch at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Moorhen at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Lapwing at Greylake, love the subtle colours on it's wing!

  ^Above^ - A rare 2 headed Teal at Greylake...... hehe!

  ^Above^ - A more common one headed Teal....  ;)

  ^Above^ - A sleepy Teal.


  ^Above^ - Beautiful male Wigeon at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - A female Wigeon having a good stretch at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Snipe at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Male Shoveler at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Lapwing, Snipe and female Wigeon at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - A distant Great White Egret at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - A closer Little Egret at Greylake!

  ^Above^ - A Dunlin at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - A Redwing at Castle Cary.

  ^Above^ - Mute Swan at Apex Park.

  ^Above^ - Reeds at Greylake.

  ^Above^ - Pretty stuff at Greylake!

  ^Above^ - Spring is coming! Daffodils at Apex Park.

Thought I'd finish this post on a colourful note!

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