Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Blue tit

Blue tit
Originally uploaded by Dave IOW


Originally uploaded by Dave IOW

Great spotted woodpecker male

Alverstone hide

Was a lovely day so took the wife off to the hide.
Lots of blue tits, great tits and chaffinches as usual. Saw my first great spotted woodpecker, managed to get a quick pic, what a beauty he was. Heron in the distance, heard a green woodpecker laughing, but couldnt find him!! Good day :)

Monday, 14 February 2011

Off into the country :)

Finished work early, so off walking along the cycle track to Alverstone.
Managed to find the bird hide. Was a nice surprise, nice and comfortable, with a great view of the feeders. Could have done with a bit more sunshine to brighten up my photos and help with my shutter speeds and depth of field, roll on spring!
Added two more birds to my life list, a coal tit and a teal.
Happy days!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Im learning a new language... bird calls!!

I have decided to try and memorise the calls of some common birds, to be honest it would be easier learning mandarin (not the duck!).  The call of a great tit (teacher, teacher) is easy to remember, wish they were all as simple! So far I think I could recognise about a dozen birds, only another couple of hundred to go lol...
Any tips for learning calls, or dont you bother?

What is your best sighting, and what would you like to see?

As the title says, what is your best and most wanted sightings?
Ive only been birding for a few weeks, and have only managed to get out about half a dozen times, so its a bit too soon to say what is my best sighting, but a brief view and a snatched picture of a goldcrest on my first outing was pretty special. Im looking forward to getting another look at this beautiful tiny bird.
My first look at a lapwing was special too, although it was from quite a long distance.
As far as most wanted birds, I would love to sight a flock of waxwings, so dont forget to tip me off if you see some on the Isle of Wight!!

Latest pics

Robin singing

Great tit and grub

Blue tit
Robin, Taken in Chichester

How do you record your sightings?

Being a newcomer to birding, I was unsure of how best to document my sightings.
I bought a journal, and decided that I would log everything I saw. After my first day birding, I decided that I would prefer to document my sightings with my camera, as I love taking photos. As I am new to birding and am not always sure what I have seen, I prefer this method, so I can take my pics, then go home and study my books to confirm what birds I have actually seen.
I have also bought a PC application called "Bird journal" which enables me to log my sightings, upload pics, and keep track of my records. I would recommend this highly. It is available at :   and before you ask, I am NOT getting a commission!!
How do you list your birds, and what do you document?

Photographing birds in winter...

Anyone who has tried to photograph birds in winter and suceeded has my utmost admiration.
I currently use a Nikon D40x camera body with a 55-300mm zoom, and bulit in image stabilizer for birding. Unfortunately my budget will not stretch to over £1000+ for my most wanted 500mm Nikon lens!!
My strategy for taking pics is to use aperture priority, and set it to the maximum setting, off the top of my head I think mine is f5.6, so I can achieve the fastest shutter speed possible. One drawback is that I have only a very narrow depth of field on my focus, so have to be sure that my autofocus sensor is pointing to the part that I want to be in focus. Add to this the low light of winter, the usually small subject matter, the fact that most birds are very fast moving, and usually hide in trees, so my autofocus gets confused, no wonder its so tricky to capture a great shot. I try to use my iso setting on a low number 100 or 200 if possible, but often have to set it at 400 or more if the lighting is poor, just to keep a reasonable shutter speed.
My first results were ok but nothing special, but as I adapt my usual photography methods to those of a birder, I am getting better results. Will hopefully upload some pics soon.
Any tips gratefully received...

Welcome to my blog!

Hi, and welcome to my new birding blog.
I have recently discovered the joys of getting out in the fresh air and spotting birds, (the feathered type!)
I have always had an interest in the outdoors and photography and have now combined the two things with my new found interest in birds.
Look back and see how I get on.