Monday, July 16, 2012

Cheeky robins / Elusive squirrels

Question, how do you photograph a soaking wet robin that randomly flies right up to your cup of coffee and steals cheese from your sandwich a mere 5 centimetres from your hand?

Answer, you don’t when your lens has a minimum focusing range of 20cm, and when your not expecting the cheeky git to steal your sandwich. You do however get some blurry shots that aren’t anywhere close to amazing, but do at the same time paint something of a picture ;) Who says you can’t bird in the rain!

By the way, a tip for amateurs like me, the forests are currently providing good views of freshly fledged jays. I found myself in the company of 5 screaming individuals in Blarney last week. Usually these guys are not so easy to see. (Still can’t get a good picture though)

Also, it seems June is a great month for spotting red squirrels. Last month gave me three random sightings, one on Fota island, one in Rostellan wood and one in Blarney. Each one was entirely random whilst I was looking for butterflies so I can only imagine how many I missed by not looking up. Seems county Cork remains one of the red squirrels ever shrinking strongholds!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fast food for songbirds

It’s been a while since my last post, summer in Cork city is not generally the best time to photograph big birds, and small birds tend to be hard to approach. The feeder in the garden however has remained in constant use. Mostly it is populated by chaffinches but great tits, blue tits, coal tits, house sparrows, starlings, wood pigeons, collared doves, magpies, jackdaws, robins, blackbirds and song trushes also approach on occasion.

With this in mind I decided to stand the camera outside in the garden with a lead to my laptop inside so that I could take photos remotely without scaring the birds. The pitfall of course is that autofocus (though accessible through my software) doesn’t really work on fast moving songbirds, so it can take a while for a bird to sit at just the right distance. To add to the experiment I then worked in some software that acts as a remote sensor so that I wouldn’t have to be constantly present, it works great! Below are some of my results. With any luck I will capture some of the newly fledged younglings next week!