Welcome to Justin Carr's website....
It has been set up with the aim of giving other
wannabee digiscopers and photographers tips and advice on how to
improve their photography.
I offer digiscoping workshops and classes on improving your editing skills as well as information and reviews on new digiscoping products.
I think it's all here, but if it's not please get in touch and ask me personally!
Thanks for checking me out!
A bit about Justin
I am pleased to have the backing of Swarovski Optik who have given me a great deal of support over the years.
Swarovski are by far the most popular brand of sporting optic in the world and with good reason.
In my opinion they offer the highest quality optics on the market with outstanding build quality and with an after sales service that's second to none.
For that reason I wouldn't use any other brand.
My name is Danny Porter. I have been digiscoping for over 10 years and run a popular website called Danny's Digiscoping.
I am a brand ambassador for Swarovski optic, and I consult with them on digiscoping products and represent them at trade shows across the UK .
I have run one-to-one courses for the last 5 years, and I also organise group days for beginners with Suffolk wildlife trust and WEX Photographic.
I have an extensive knowledge of most camera-to-scope set ups and advise free of charge through email, phone, and video calls.
I see my role as an educator of those who want to learn more about digiscoping.
Please email me HERE
Yorkshire Coast nature (YCN) is a small independent Nature tourism company. Every member of our team lives locally and is passionate about wildlife. We believe strongly in eco- tourism with a direct benefit for wildlife and provide annual grants to nature conservation organisations. so when you use one of our services you can be assured that you are helping wildlife.
Yorkshire Coast Nature offers a variety of activity tours, events, and workshops. We provide everything from short tours aimed at those interested in specific areas, species or photography to longer holidays on which you can experience a wide range of species and varied landscapes of the Yorkshire coast.
Everyone is welcome,
from beginners to the more experienced. In order to give you the maximum personal attention, as well as to minimize disturbance to wildlife our longer tours cater for small groups only. We are also happy to arrange bespoke tours for individuals and small groups - just contact us with your requirements.
Contact us HERE
Whether you're a beginner or a more experienced digiscoper I am confident you will get a lot from one of my one-to-one workshops. I offer the basics right through to more advanced techniques like getting in-flight shots.
I am pleased to introduce my good friend Danny Porter aka Danny's Digiscoping. He too is a very experienced digiscoper with over 10 years' experience. Together we cover most of England; I cover the north and Danny covers the south. Between us we are never too far away!
Discounts are available for group bookings.
Check out Danny's Site!
10 years ago the village of Kidlington in Oxfordshire was the home of a well twitched Scops owl, unfortunately it tended to only give its self up after the sun had set. it was easily picked up by its distinctive sonar like call but seeing it was a different matter. A torch was a must to stand a chance of seeing this Rare tiny owl/
Unfortunately on my visits the owl was well hidden in the tree tops, Close but no cigar.
Fast forward to present day
News broke of a of a Scops owl in Ryhope Co Durham and showing well!!
this birds day roost had been found. This Sounded Good.
A quick phone call to Andy Whitehead and we where on our way.
Bingo!! after the many wasted hours for the last one, this one was on show as we walked up
I also recently was Invited by Swarovski Optic over too their factory in Austria, it was a fantastic couple of days with a bit of time in the classroom to learn more about the Company and a tour of the factory to see where our scopes and bins are made. in between our busy schedule i still found time for a spot of birding mainly around the Hotel with highlights being a few Firecrest, Black Redstart's and a rather nice Wallcreeper, shame none gave themselves up for the camera. I did manage a few pics though.
The Alps above Innsbruck Stunning!!
Now once in a while you drop on a bird that simply blows you away, rewind to the Great Snipe at Spurn a few years ago. Most people i guess will only have the arse end of one flying away, the spurn bird had a liking for walking over peoples boots. it made for a very memorable bird.
This years Migfest (best yet) at Spurn gave us another unforgettable bird.
This Wryneck gave many people an insight into how this amazing little woodpecker feed's, gleaning aphid's with its crazy long tongue from plants.
Click here to edit text Once n a while a bird will stick in your mind forever, i am guessing this Wryneck will be on of those birds.
Now every once in a while conditions converge to produce a good passage of an enigmatic Seabird that breeds on remote Island'sin the North Atlantic, Leach's Petrel. and one of the best places to see them is New Brighton on the wirrel. friends and i managed to catch up with a few of these cracking birds. Only one came close enough to get a shot.
All Bird images Digiscoped through a Swarovski STX 85.
For those that have never been to Canary Islands i would say Fuerteventura is the must visit Island for any birder looking for a great Family/Birding Holiday you really do have the best of both worlds. But a word of warning most of the best birds are Desert birds so population density is generally pretty low, So be prepared to be patient and even if it looks birdless give it time in one spot.
Here i will give you a run down of my birding side of the week with directions to the sites i visited. Most of these i found in the Crossbill Guides Canary Islands-1, I found it an essential inexpensive companion (around £20) for the week. But i did a bit of my own exploring too. Also car hire is useful but not essential as most of my Birding was within a 20min drive from base in Corralejo so Taxi could be an option.
First morning saw me up well before first light and a 40min drive to the headland El Tostin on the North west coast
After nearly an hour sat in the Car sat in total darkness there was finally enough light to scope (well just) straight away a Cory's shearwater flew past at really close range, then another and another. it was clear they where streaming through. A count had to be done, timer counting down and five minutes later and an incredible 300 had gone by.
I estimated in 1.5 hours 4000 shearwater's flew past. other than a Single Gannet and a few Sandwich Tern's that was about it. I was using the first morning as a bit of a recce.
Time to move on. I headed south to the Desert plains about 4k south of Lajares.
The top of the triangular route below is where Many of the of Desert birds where seen over the week. i decided to pick this spot and work it thoroughly, as according to the Guide most of the good birds could be seen here.
Anyway back to the first morning here, other than a small group of Trumpeter finch around the farm just off the FV-10 not much of note
The area directly in the middle is the Golden triangle.
Next morning back to what i shall call the golden triangle for first light, Almost straight away i picked up a dark shape in between the low not more than 80m in front of me after a few seconds the dark shape reared a head, and the penny dropped Black bellied Sandgrouse and not just one but 5 Amazing!!
after much searching other than a few Bertholot's pipits not much else. But i felt i should persist with this site as it looked perfect for all the Desert birds.
the best was yet to come!!
A video grab of two of the Black bellied Sandgrouse.
Desert storm part 3.
Do Houbara's really exist?
I was starting to think maybe i wasn't destined.
Up and out before the first glimmer of Light and back to the same site
The first bird in half light, once again just a dark shape, Barbary Partridge. A new Bird, unfortunately no pics as the light was so poor. Then a short drive further along the track to a good vantage point and after only scanning for 10 mins BiINGO!!
Then while filling my boots with this Superb bird i heard a call i didn't recognize, i took my eye away from the scope to be graced with the sight of a Cream colored Courser running around in front of me. And i thought this Desert birding was supposed to be hard work ; )
Now with most of the Desert birds in the bag there was one major absence, and the Island's only endemic species the Fuerteventura Chat. So a quick consultation of the Crossbill guide had me driving a few kilometers to the north to check out a barranco (Spanish for in lay mans terms for vegetated gorge) this is the Chats preferred habitat. But despite extensive searching no sign, on the up side Spectacled warbler and most surprisingly Barbary Falcon was added to the trip list.
So with the chat in mind, Next day i headed to Los Molinos a reservoir, regarded as the best place on the Island for birds, i have to agree. viewing from the dam over the Res produced a group of some 40+ Black winged Stilt's and also a small number of wader's including Greenshank and Common Sandpiper.
A short walk along the south side of the Res to the barranco produced the target, a Splendid pair of Fuerteventura Chat's, unfortunately the female didn't sick around but the male i guess holding territory was a bit of a poser.
all i had to do was sit and wait for it to come back too its favorite perch.
The picture to left shows one of the Barranco's a favored area for the Chat as well as Spectacled Warbler
With the Endem in the bag and with family commitment's calling time to set of back. but on the way back to the main road from the Reservoir is a farm that the Crossbill guide gave as a good site for Lesser short toed Lark.
Around the complex where we stayed were a few Plain Swift, now if you think our Common Swift fly fast these birds are like Usain Bolt compared to our own Swift. Have i said i love a challenge ; )
Quite a few hours where spent Seawatching. Now having been to the Canary Islands before i had idea of what expect
Cory's Shearwater's and lots of them, but i didn't expect quite Soooo many and so close, i did a count i set the timer on my Phone to 5 minutes touch go and........
5 mins Later 300 Cory's had passed, yes you read right 300 Cory's in 5 mins. Eat your heart out Porthguarra.
When you get offered a lift for one of the worlds most attractive Ducks you cant say no, The Ythan Estuary in Scotland is home to many birds with a large Tern colony and a sadly declining colony of Common Eider. And in with its commoner cousins is a resident and rather splendid Drake King Eider.
Just as Stunning (well almost) one of the many Common Eider present.
And the better half.
Tern's where in abundance feeding literally feet in front of us, too good an opportunity to miss.
Sandwich where the most abundant, with a few Common's (below) mixed in.
We also had time to spend in the Highland to take in amazing scenery and some of its special breeding birds.
This close encounter with this pair of stunning Slavonian Grebes was bitter sweet, Amazing yes to see so close up, but sadly there where young present a real shame for one of Britain's rarest breeders
As we made our way to the higher moors the rain really started to come down, hey ho make the most of what's given to you. This Image of a Curlew i think looks all the better for the rain. i am sure the Curlew would disagree.
Here are a few more images from a great few days.
It was a pretty good couple of days Birding.
Another bird fest a few weeks later with a trip to the Farne Island's.
for those that haven't been before this small archipelago of the Northumbrian coast is home for the breeding season to many Hundreds of thousands of Seabirds, giving visitors the most stunning views.
And Photography opportunities were plenty.
Click here to edit text Everyone's favorite, Puffins are on the want list for everyone, but they where on my list for a different reason, i wanted a flight shot!!
And also the obligatory Puffin with Sand eel Shot
And a couple more flight shots.
I quite like the above image it shows the interaction between the Guillemot coming into land and the birds on the
All image's Digiscoped through a Swarovski STX 85.
Sorry its been a while since my last update but as you all know Spring is a hectic time as birder and photographer.
well its been a rather productive few weeks with highlights being finding a Broad billed Sandpiper at Spurn and Spending the day with the guys from Sony Camera's at a wildlife event at Park Camera's. But there was a whole lot more stuff going on.
An unforgettable day was spent with my good friend Gary Loader. The images below are the results of a fab day with a rather obliging Cuckoo.
What next Mmm, well everyone loves Black necked Grebes and Yorkshire holds a Nationally important breeding population of these stunning birds and a local reserve gave me a chance to get some stunning images. i just need to say no disturbance was caused to them as the images where taken a public footpath.
Click here to edit text A trip to Padley Gorge in Derbyshires for redstart's and pied flycatchers proved successful but not in the way expected with this pair of splendid Mandarin Duck's. unfortunately the target species whern't so obliging.
i though i would just throw this Grey Squirrel shot in as i quite like it.
Sticking with the pretty bird theme these Kingfisher's should now be feeding well grown young possibly ready to leave the nest, but i went the young would have been just a twinkle in their fathers eye.
All images taken through the trusty Swarovski STX 85.
A pilgrimage to Scotland was a must for a great many birders in days gone by, but in recent year's has been demise in a short break birding break up North. I guess cheep foreign flights might have something to do with that.
I hold my hand up i have been guilty of saving my pocket money up for short birding breaks abroad but my regular birding fiend's, had never seen the Scottish specialties.
So we took a long overdue trip North of the border.
here are some images from a great few days away with good friends, good birds, good food and a few beers.
This Drake American Wigeon in Inverness gave us some cracking views in the stunning morning light.
The car park around the ski lift on Cairngorm is a fabulous place to get up close to Snow bunting's, they tend to favour the picnic area to the left of the car park, where seed is put down for them.
My mission was a flight shot!!
Cairngorm, this is what Snow Bunting's have to put up with. Surely there must be an easier way to live.
Crested tits are on the wanted list for all birders visiting the Cairngorms and winter is probably the best time to see them as like most of the tit family readily come to feeders. Destination Loch Garten.
We spent an hour or so watching these cracking little birds, truth be told i could have spent the whole morning there.
What a privilege it was.
Findhorn valley above is i am sure you will agree a stunning place, but its also a great place to sea both our Eagle's. we where fortunate to get some pretty good views of Golden Eagle.
The picture above is a hillside full of Red Grouse. I can only guess they form large flocks here for protection, protection from the Eagles.
On our way home we called in for this wintering Ring billed gull at Stathclyde Loch, Glasgow. Not a great shot but it show a good comparison with the Common gull
With people feeding the duck's and gull's at the Loch this Goosander had become pretty tame, Normally you can't get within 30 feet of them, but i struggled to focus because it was at times too close. Shame the light wasn't up to much.
This Winter in my opinion has been one of the best winters for birding in the UK for many years especially for Rarities.
For those that can remember think back to winter 95/96, i really think this year can hold its own against what for many was a winter full of Twitches.
well back to recent history from this winters bumper crop. Here are some of my favorite shots from the last few bird filled weeks.
Pole position for best bird goes to this White billed Diver on the River Witham in Lincolnshire.
Sticking with the Diver theme, Scarbrough Harbour is a great place in winter (bit of De ja vu, i think i have said that before) there always seems to be something of interest. This Great Northern Diver has been present for weeks and gave fantastic opportunities for Pics.
The Black necked Grebe above is one of two present in the harbour for their second winter.
Left: This Dipper was in its usual haunt at Troutsdale, the light was poor so i thought i would take advantage and slow the shutter right down to give this interesting effect on the water. taken at 1/10th sec.
Forge valley on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park is always a great place to photograph common woodland birds this Blackbird was taken at one of the feeding stations.
And back to Scarbrough i have taken quite a few in flight shots of Fulmar before but i just love the light on this shot.
Digiscoping doesn't always have to be birds this sunrise was looking out over the North Sea.
Now i don't know about you but i have never managed toget really close to Goldeneye in the past, so when visiting a friend at spurn to ld me of one that comes to within metres of the hide on kilnsea wetlands i couldn't resist. And disappoint it did not!!
All images taken on a Swarovski STX 85.
Over the last week or two trawling through Social media i have come across many interesting blogs with a few doing a year ending review. So that gave me the idea to do a review well sort of.
What i have done is come up with my top 10 favorite images of the the year in reverse order, Hope you like.
Also back for their second winter Where two black necked grebe's, this one was pretty obliging.
i took this image at forge valley Scarbrough back in February. i rather like it. for me the back ground makes it. the color of the back ground match those of the bird. so for this image the surroundings are more important than the subject.
Question: what was the first thing you looked at in this image. for me it was the eye. now the last image was what surrounded the subject, but this image its the eye has you from the start.
I love the light on this one. Nuff said.
The Farne Island's are in my opinion the best places to see and Photograph seabirds in the UK. This Summers trip was as always superb, with great opportunities for photography, But out of all the images that day this was my favorite as it was taken from the boat on the way over. quite pleased it as it was taken through the scope handheld.
I guess most people won't realize that you can digiscope to get some really detailed up close images like this four spot chaser taken at RSPB Old moor
Peregrine's are fantastic birds Royalty of the Raptor world, so i was over the moon to get this flight shot. It was. a real challenge but made easier as this bird made numerous passes over its clifftop haunt. I think with Raptor flight shots its always better to get the shot like this as they bank over, So to get it in focus as well was most satisfying
birders love Autumn and Little bunting's are on the radar as a self found bird in the UK for most of us. Well I've chosen this image well because it was a self found at Spurn Bird observatory. and it did show rather well
I've been trying for many year's to get a good shot of these little beauties. This Autumn my wish came true!!
Just when we thought that was it for the Megas, deepest darkest Derbyshire gave many of us one more tick for 2016.
the tiny village of beeley just outside Derby saw many hundreds of birders descend from far and wide to get views of the Cracking Dusky Thrush, Most of the time it was pretty mobile but with patience gave itself up to give some good photographic opportunities.
Immature male Black Grouse.
With both Grouse in the bag (not literally) Dipper was the next target.
As Autumn drew to a close some good birds still lingered, and one of the Eastern Black redstart's of the Autumn was too good looking to miss. In fact i made two trips to to see Skiningrove's little Stunner.
Eastern Black Redstart's breed in Central Asia, and until recently they where classed as a Mega rare bird in the UK.
This Autumn however has changed all that with possibly a dozen or more scattered up the east coast. I guess we will in the future be graced with this little gem in ever increasing number's, especially when the Autumnal winds blow from the East.
Also present where a handfull of Donnock's feeding among the sea defense rocks, also a few robin's, Rock pipit's and a pair of Stonechat's mixed in for good measure.
I have seen my fare share of Grey Phalarope's in the past but never tire of them, Birds full of character and also they tend to be pretty Human friendly. True to form this one at Top hill low Nature reserve did not disappoint.
All images Digiscoped through a Swarovski STX 85.
Then the last two weeks would be a vintage brew. The first two weeks in October 2016 will i am sure for many be one of the best periods for Rare birds in living history. i was fortunate enough to witness this "MEGA" event. The east coast of Yorkshire from Flambrough to Spurn saw a spectacular fall of migrant birds from the East, with Lots of common, Scarce, Rare's, and a hand full of Mega's mixed in. I am sure the last couple weeks will go down in British Birding history.
Top of the tree was Britain's second Siberian Accentor at Easington , coming hot on the first a week previous on Shetland. because of work commitments i had to wait till the day after to go, it goes without saying the night before was a real nail biter. this little gem never moved more than a few feet from its favorite mossy foraging spot. It was Estimated £12 Million worth of optics was focused on this one bird on its second day alone, Pretty amazing.
The other Mega Sibe off the Mega fall was Britain's fourth Eastern Crowned Warbler. This super smart philosc graced Bempton RSPB three days favoring a small copse adjacent to the crammed overflow car park. It thrilled observers showing down to 15 feet at times,
Click here to edit text The next best bird was this Little Bunting, Special to me because it was a self find picked up on call as it flew in to church field Kilnsea.
The Red Breasted Flycatcher was in the same tree as the Eastern Crowned Warbler all be it on a different day.
Click here to edit text One of the most notable event's of the period was the what can only described as a Yellow Browed invasion, i guess i saw some 20+ with odd ones giving fantastic opportunities for photography.
And the back up birds!!
This Ring Ouzel was most unusual as it wouldn't fly off at half a mile range.
Click here to edit text I don't think i have ever seen so many chiffchaff as i have in recent weeks. one day there must have been 20 at least in the crown and anchor car park Kilnsea.
Also in the Crown and anchor carpark where 2 very confiding Siskin, as is often the case with newly arrived migrants.
The Canal scrape at spurn has to be the best place to see Jack Snipe in Britain.
And last but not least a cracking juv Stonechat
As always all Images and video taken through a Swarovski STX85
Early September saw two friends and i take a 6 night break in Northern Spain with the main aim of seeing brown bear and wildcat but more importantly for me to visit Elstaca de Bara for a spot of Seawatching, this headland on the north western tip of Spain is fast growing a reputation as being the best place to see migrating seabirds on mainland Europe. It did not disappoint, it wasn't just the huge numbers but the close views they gave.
below is an estimate of the numbers from the best day we had.
Cory's Shearwater 3,000
Great Shearwater 50
Sooty Shearwater 3,000
Manx Shearwater 1,500
Long tailed skua 35
Pomerine Skua 12
Arctic Skua 30
Sabine's Gull 12
Commic tern 6,000
Sandwich tern 2,000
Pretty impressive in a 12 hour watch. In case you where wondering what the weather conditions where frequent showers with strong NW winds
And here are a few record shots
One of the family party of Black Redstart's around the Observatory.
And now too Somiado National, park for those that have never been its a truly stunning place with mountains and meadows, with a few good birds and a family party of brown bear's
Just to set the scene Someado day break.
i must apologize for the quality of the video above but the Brown bear was a long way off.
Spanish yellow wagtail.
This Hoopoe caused a stir with the local Wheatear
All in all not a bad few days away, and as always all images Digiscoped on a Swarovski STX 85
by the way we didn't see a single Wildcat even though we spent many an hour looking. Hey ho that's how it goes sometimes.
O no not thornwick pools again ; )
I know i always go on about thornick pool being the best place to photograph waders in the UK , but in my opinion it is, all you need to do is make yourself a member of the Flambrough Bird group and pay an extra £10 (for life bargain) for a key to the photography hide.
On my way home i made a small detour to North Cave Wetlands where a rather obliging Spotted Crake was still present
lucky for me the bird was showing as i walked up.
all images Digiscoped on a Swarovski STX 85 with a TLS APO 23mm.
Recent weeks the Wednesday teem an i have been on our travels, with the Rarity filled months of September and October still yet to come, july and August are the start of the wader season. So our target year ticks where our long legged friends from farther afield. Here are some shots from my travels with friends.
This Black tailed godwit was one of many at Frampton Marsh RSPB target was Broad billed sandpiper alas as is often the case way too far for a decent shot.
And to finish off a few flight shots!!
Click here to edit text Trick of the trade when Digiscoping Hirundines wait till the Juv's fledge, they fly slower, makes it easier to get on.
All images Digiscoped on a Swarovski STX 85
Autumn kicks in
Its been a bit quiet of late, that short Summer lull. but now as we reach the end of July its clear that for birder's Autumn has well and truly kicked in, with waders mostly adults making their way south. Also another group of birds on a birders want list in the Autumn are Seabirds with birds like Cory's and Great shearwater's, being i guess near the top of the list, with Sabine's Gull being not far behind.
So it was good to get one of these Seabirds on the year list without having to sit for hour after hour on some bum numbing clifftop looking out to sea scrutinising every passing bird.
Sabine's 20 miles from home BOOM!!!!
This Cracking bird gave its self up to many a happy birder over its week stay at Carr vale reserve in Derbyshire. I guess a county tick for many.
I also recently took a trip with good friends with the Whitby Whale watching company, they run boat trips out of whitby most days between July and October with Great sucsess. Unfortunately we had only Harbour porpoise on this trip (a little early in the season for minke and the larger Whales) Hey ho more time to spend Digiscoping my favorite subject.
The challange today to get a shot Digiscoped from a moving and rocking boat,freehand (no trypod). The shot below was made easier with the use of the STX (Straight) rather than the angled ATX, Much easier to get on your subject.
Bob Usher below showing how its done, Note the camera mounted upside down on the scope this alows the STX to sit comfortably in the palm of your left hand this allows you thumb and middle finger to do the focusing, leaving your right hand to do the operating of the Camera. Oh and if you have a balancing rail fitted it doubles up rather nicely as a carry handle for the scope
All bird images taken on a Swarovski STX 85.
Now spring has made way to summer and most of the migrants have moved through,and with breeding birds busy rearing their young many birders turn their interest to the smaller things.
Four spot chaser Dragonfly
All images Digiscoped on a Swarovski ATX 85
My good friend Danny porter and i recently held a Digiscoping workshop on the Amazing Farne Island's. Most of you i guess will know something of the farne's probaly just from seeing it on Springwatch, but let me say too those that have never experienced them, its like Britain's Galapago's!!
Its one of the few places you can get within a few feet sometimes inches of birds that are you sometimes forget are wild.
One of the things i noticed was the only birds that had any young where the Black headed gulls, all the other breeding species seemed to be on eggs still.
Its pretty amazing to see so many Auks so tightly packed together, a little different to Bempton cliffs.
Puffin's have got to be the hardest birds to Digiscope in flight as Paul hackett rightly knows ; )
Its pretty amazing to see Eider sat on her brood not much more than 3 metres from the path.
Not everyone was content with our presence as Danny found out.
Also below are some great images from Bob Usher and Andy Whitehead.
Arctic tern Bob Usher
Sandwich Tern Bob Usher
Arctic Tern Andy Whitehead
Arctic Tern Andy Whitehead.
A brilliant day was had by all
All images Digiscoped on a Swarovski ATX 85.
A forced day off work. There wasn't a lot about, with cold Northerlies in late may i guessed birding on the east coast wouldn't be great/productive so Bempton it was then.
Now the wind direction at Bempton really makes a difference to how well the Gannets perform, with inshore winds the birds tend to hang in the wind over the clifftop giving great views and amazing photography opportunities.
Click here to edit text I also recently took Andy whitehead out for a second lesson, Andy is new to Digiscoping and photography but i could see he took a lot in from his time with me a couple of months ago. i am sure you will agree from his images below that he appears to be a natural. Hats of to you pal keep up the good work.
All images taken on a Swarovski ATX 85.
Click here to edit text
Click here to edit text
Not so grim up north!!
The forecast was not good, the Lincolnshire town of Cleethorpes looked a promising option for our regular day out birding. A Shorelark had been present with a few Snow Bunting thrown in for good measure, but the forecasters had got it spot on, rain and more rain. A rethink was needed...
Shorelark and Snow Bunting, Hartlelpool. Forecast good.
It did not take long to locate the target species, both present on rough ground just south east of the Jewish cemetery.
Rare Bird Alert was reporting a Green-winged Teal and a Smew at RSPB Saltholme, so we headed there with the sun still shining.
For anyone who has never visited Saltholme it's really worth a visit.
Both the Teal and the Smew were present but the teal was too distant for photos. Also present was a small group of Barnacle geese.
Another good day.
All bird images Digiscoped on a Swarovski ATX 85.
Click here to edit text
Back up to Scarborough for a vagrant duck and more.
Scalby mills in Scarborough's north bay has long been a favorite spot for wigeon so it is no surprise that its rare American cousin should turn up. When I arrived the tide was well out as was the wigeon flock. But the tide was coming in so I didn't have to wait long for the birds to come closer, unfortunately not close enough to get anything other record digiscoped shots.
From there I took a short drive round to Marine Drive to have a look for the resident peregrines.
It didn't take long to pick up the male sitting on the cliff. This pair, as far as I know, failed to rear any young last year so fingers crossed for better luck this year.
My attention then turned to sea to check for the possibility of a diver or grebe. With a quick scan through the bins I noticed that the regular pod of Harbour Porpoise was close inshore, so I thought I would try to get some scoped shots. Now, for anyone who shoots with a conventional SLR set up, you will know it's not easy to get an in-focus shot of breaching cetaceans. Trying to digiscope them is even tougher! I have to say it's one of the trickiest things I have done. The problem is you don't know where they will surface and when they do they're not up for long. Then you have to manual focus - pretty damn quickly! It's the first time I have attempted to digiscope these wonderful creatures, so I am pretty happy with my first attempt. Why not have a go for yourself? It's a challenge and for me that's what it's all about; pushing the boundaries of what people perceive to be possible with digiscoping!!
Next stop Mediterranean Gulls up at Holbeck. Now I wanted to do a bit more experimenting to do some hand-held scoping. When I say hand held I don't mean holding the camera up to the scope without an adapter. No, I mean holding the scope in one hand (left hand) and operating the camera with the other. I can tell you that you soon realize the weight of a scope and camera doing this! Anyway, back to Med Gulls. Granola thrown down as bait but no Med Gulls just a few Black-Headed Gulls to practise on.
What to do next (bit of head scratching)? I know Forge Valley again!!
With my bird-feeder fix out of the way it was time to head home enjoying a late treat in the form of a Barn Owl flying in front of the car. Quick pullover, scope and camera set up just in time to capture the bird before it disappeared over a hedge.
All images digiscoped on a Swarovski ATX 85.
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Friends and I had an amazing day's birding on the Northumbrian Coast on the 12th feb. The day started off bright and early at Birling for the Arctic Redpoll, that showed well but not close. This bird was part of a flock of some 30 plus Lesser Redpoll with one or two Mealy thrown in for good measure. The birds favoured a set aside field adjacent to the south west corner of the golf club.
Back in the car and we journeyed to Widderington where a sole Waxwing had taken up residence in a single hawthorn on the A1068 2/3 of a mile north of the village. It was great to catch up with this splendid species which has been a bit of a rarity this winter (2015/16).
From there we headed for a wintering Long-billed Dowitcher at Cresswell pond (note if you're coming in from the north the road is closed just before you get to the pond so the only way to get there is through Cresswell village and head north.
The day ended as the sun was setting with brief flight views of 5 Snow Buntings near the Jewish cemetery.
What a day BOOM!!!