All images © Peter Garrity

GREY CATBIRD

19, 20 & 21 - 10 - 2018 Trevescan, Lands End, Cornwall

As news of this MEGA rarity spread and it seemed to be a stayer, a hastily arranged weekend away in Cornwall seemed a good idea. Watching Birdguides all week to make sure the bird was still present was a little nerve-racking but with fingers crossed and the Old Success Inn at Sennen Cove booked for three nights we set off early (6.15am) on Friday 19th October.

A long drive (6 hours) followed, although I found my foot gradually exerting more pressure on the accelerator the further south we got. We had some "gen" from Roy Twigg who advised the better location at the site and it was seriously exciting as we entered the field arranged for parking at 12.45.

I left my wife in my slipstream as I quickly got the gear set up and legged it around the other side of the farmhouse. It was surprisingly warm but the cloud had rolled in and the light was poor. After what seemed an eternity (about an hour) the bird appeared briefly near the farmhouse. I captured a few images quickly but the bird was partially concealed.








Another longish wait with a small group of birders followed and I moved 80 metres further south down the track where the bird had been seen well earlier. I lost a little confidence and the shout went up that the bird had appeared near the farmhouse again. I went back and positioned myself at the edge of the group of birders. The bird showed again and then moved towards the hedgerow. Myself and one other photographer moved further down the track and fortunately the bird appeared again directly in front of us and started calling. I was closer than expected, with 500mm and 2 x TC and tripod set up, which seemed clumsy at the time. With a relatively low shutter and wide open aperture I wasn't really expecting much but I was happy with the results and managed a very short video.

























Within two hours I had got the bird and the images in the bag so was chuffed and we headed off to Sennen to relax and plan our weekend itinerary which would obviously involve a few walks around a number of well watched coastal beauty spots!

As the light was looking good for the next few days I decided to visit the Catbird before breakfast on the Saturday and Sunday. Arriving before dawn, I thought I might be the first birder on site but was very wrong! Being the first weekend the field was packed with cars and birders and I have to admit it didn't make for relax free birding and photography, with the crowd vying for position and the usual noisy chit chat with the inevitable anti-photography establishment present in good numbers. During these short periods before breakfast the bird did not show Kindly for me and I only captured a few distant or grainy/concealed shots. I did get an amusing video though (apologies to the birder in the background). All in all it was a great weekend, with lots of conversation and myself and Mal had some nice walks and good meals in the various cafes & pubs.















LITTLE OWL

24-07-2018 Green Moor

My first early morning session in the hide, moving location to avoid cattle in the main field. A rather large Bull finally convinced me to move! Just got a few shots and a short video of what I believe is the female.












LITTLE OWL

15-07-2018 Green Moor

Following a chat with the farmer he gave me permission to set my hide now and then so another evening session resulted in confirmation that three owlets were present; great news. I managed to get a few shots of an owlet being fed and also recorded a few videos. I am putting together a short film in the future so keep an eye on the blog.




































LITTLE OWL

12-07-2018 Green Moor

Wonderful news that my Green Moor Little Owls are back with at least two, possibly three owlets. I spent an evening in position just by chance and got a few nice sunset images of one of the adults hunting from the usual trailer.












NIGHTJAR

02-04/07/2018 - Sheffield Moorland Edge

A tip off from my friend Roy led me to an area of moorland near Sheffield to observe a churring Nightjar that had perched on a post at dusk.



I initially used a wifi set up for my 1DX camera/tripod/500mm lens + 1.4 TC, and remote controlled the gear from the roadside via my iPhone  My first visit was unsuccessful when I gave up at 10.30pm and annoyingly just when I dismantled the tripod, the bird appeared on the post.



My second visit was more successful and the bird arrived around 10.15pm. The sun had dropped behind the post and I was positioned facing the post with the light fading behind. I therefore had to overexpose by 3 stops. Here's the result.



On my third visit on the 2nd July I decided to use my camouflage netting and manually control the camera and at the last minute decided to position myself on the better (sunset) side of the post. I got down into the bracken and waited until around 10.20pm. I got around 9m from the post and only used my 500mm lens at F4. I had to use manual focus as in low light the autofocus was not reliable. For some unknown reason my video setting had shifted to FHD and not 4K which was disappointing although the result was good enough. See below.






Another visit on the 4th July with similar positioning and settings but using 4K this time. I think these results were the best although it would probably have been better if I could have used autofocus.






I took a number of stills from the videos using Final Cut Pro but the quality can not compare with images taken directly with the 1DXmkii.


Taken on 02-07-2018





Taken on 04-07-2018











SPOONBILL

25-06-2018 RSPB Fairburn Ings

Adults and 4 chicks at the nest on a red hot day. One parent regularly leaving the nest for more nest material and also to gather food for the young. Distant images and video.
















OSPREY

10 & 11-06-2018 Wigtown Bay Area

Another fruitful visit to the viewing platform and parents were both present, the Male EP bringing in food. Two chicks confirmed.