Spotflys

Posted on 9 July 2016, 19:50

Just a brief post to talk about today’s wander up the county with my buddy Mark in the search for some Spotted flycatchers which Mark had done well with a few Summers ago.

Breeding Spotted flycatchers – Spotflys – seem to have a real proclivity for old cemeteries, but for whatever reason, I’ve never found any local to me.

A few years back though, Mark came across a breeding pair in a cemetery not far from Wooler in North Northumberland, and we had a tip-off that they were back, so we packed out cameras and made the trip north (with the intention of doing an afternoon on the Farne Islands before the Puffins disappeared for the year).

The Farnes part of the day didn’t happen, but although the weather was pretty grim (regularly up in 6400 ISO light), the Spotflys were pretty obliging (albeit with a lot of sameness to the pics – this is a tiny selection from the several hundred images I took):


Spotted flycatcher


Juvenile Spotted flycatcher


Spotted flycatcher


Juvenile Spotted flycatcher


Juvenile Spotted flycatchers


Juvenile Spotted flycatcher

There were other birds there too – again, busy feeding young – like this Song thrush:


Song thrush

All in all, a fun way to spend a few hours, even with the rain and crappy light. I spent most of my time at 560mm, handheld (7D Mk II, 100-400mm Mk II, 1.4x converter), and again I’m hugely impressed by the lens – on the 7D Mk II, it just doesn’t miss.

Now, although we didn’t get to the Farnes (it’d have meant leaving a lot earlier than we’d want to, given the plethora of photo opportunities these birds were providing), but we were invited to drop in to an HM Coastguard “awareness day” at Newbiggin, to photograph the Bristows/Coastguard Rescue Sikorsky S-92A Helibus rescue chopper, which was dropping in to impress the natives.

To be fair, Newbiggin isn’t the first place I’d choose to photograph this thing, but – given that it’s based at Glasgow Prestwick Airport – beggars can’t be choosers, and it would at least present another opportunity to test the lens’ image stabilisation at slow shutter speeds:


G-MCGG, Sikorsky S-92A


G-MCGG, Sikorsky S-92A


G-MCGG, Sikorsky S-92A


G-MCGG, Sikorsky S-92A

Again, the lens didn’t disappoint – these are at 1/100 (1/60 for the last one) for rotor blur, and I didn’t get a single out-of-focus pic in the series of about 50 that I took.



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