31.10.07 | Colour on the canal

You never know what might turn up in the most urban of surroundings.

I had a nice surprise this week. I often take a lunch break at work and have a quick walk down by the Trent and Mersey canal , a few hundred yards away from our offices. It's in the heart of the city of Stoke on Trent but it is amazing just what wildlife turns up.

I noticed a splash of colour in amongst the Mallards and to my surprise noted that a male Mandarin had turned up. The sunlight showed up its amazing plumage and I couldn't resist turning up the next day equipped with my Canon EOS 400D and 70-300mm lens to get some shots, the duck swam straight up to me and enjoyed the round of bread I intended to entice it with. It was very territorial, chasing off any Mallard that dared to come close.

It's not the first time the canal has been brought to life with colour, on more than one occasion I've seen urban Kingfishers perched on the concrete banks.

Just shows that if you live in the city you can still be treated with some wonderful wildlife.



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Trent and Mersey Canal


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Mandarin


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Mandarin




28.10.07 | Bates Wood

I took a break from the decorating and made the most of the bright sunshine this afternoon.

I've been decorating the house for weeks now and when I noticed the sunny weather this afternoon, I thought enough is enough and decided to visit my local nature reserve of Bates Wood.

I only went for an hour but I had a great afternoon. Although I did have a major disappointment - a Green Woodpecker was sitting on a fence post about 50 feet in front of me - it would have been the perfect picture, but before I could find it in the scope it flew away - that's digiscoping for you. You win some, you lose some

Bates wood offers some great views of the Cheshire plains and the conditions today were really clear. Jodrell bank, approx 25 miles away was crystal clear. Take a look at these pictures, one at 22x zoom the other 68x zoom on the Olivon scope and 3x optical zoom on the Ricoh GX100.

Other sightings included Jay, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard. Digiscoping opportunities were low so I took a few shots of some Mute swans plateau for practice. There were dozens of dragon fly darting about and I managed to get some macro shots of the Common Darter variety.

I love this time of year, the colour and the crisp, clear conditions make walking and digiscoping a real pleasure.



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Bates Wood


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Mute Swan


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Commom Darter Dragonfly




07.10.07 | Digiscoping in the Dales

I spent this weekend in the Yorkshire Dales with Michaela and my folks.

We all spent Saturday in York, but on Sunday we spent time further north in the Yorkshire Dales, visiting a stretch of water called Leighton Reservoir, situated near the beautiful village of Masham.

I managed to sneak half an hours digiscoping before moving on! The water levels were very low and the bird life quiet, but on the opposite side of the road on a hillside cloaked in bushes and trees, there were lots of Linnet and some Redwing. Both were darting about and were very hard to get a glimpse in the scope. I did manage to get some shots of a Redwing, although a considerable distance away, I took one with the Olivon T90 ED scope set at 22x zoom and one with the scope at full 68x zoom. The Ricoh GX 100 was also set to maximum 3x zoom. I was pleased with the results that my set-up gave, even at this massive magnification, I think I captured a worthwhile image - see results opposite.

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Leighton Reservoir




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Redwing - 22x zoom


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Redwing - 68x zoom




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