Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The first of my holiday walks around my patch was delayed this morning, as I was waiting in for an eagerly awaited parcel to be delivered, this came at the exceptionally early time of 07:50. The parcel contained a new camera lens, a 150-500mm Sigma zoom lens, all paid for by a rather nice windfall I received from the taxman earlier this week  ;-)

So off I went new lens and all, into some bright weather, which soon turned cloudy and dull, useless for photographs, but I did get a few test shots with the lens while the sun was out. ( see below)

I spent just over 5 hours out this morning, and found a very good total of 49 species, which should of made 50 if the Kestrel had turned up, like it has done every previous day of this month!  That said, just about everything else that could reasonably be found was found. Flyovers from both GREYLAG and CANADA GEESE were the first seen for a while, but relatively few species were seen going over, just BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULL traversed the sky, along with two flocks of FIELDFARE, each containing 50+ birds.

I was pleased to hear a LITTLE OWL calling from the Greenhouse Copse early in the walk, and even more so when at just gone 11am my first TAWNY OWL (67, 61) of 2012 hooted from the Scrubby Woods over by the lakes. The lakes themselves were now only 60% frozen, and on the small amount of open water a GREY HERON was fishing, three pairs of MALLARD and two MOORHENS were also seen as well as a COOT, was this one of the pair that were seen before the lakes totally froze I wonder?

Little else of any real note was seen as I walked round, as i said, most of the regular birds turned out, the best being SISKIN, REDWING, YELLOWHAMMER, LINNET, SKYLARK, BULLFINCH, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST and COAL TIT.

A bit of courtship was seen by both a pair of STOCK DOVE, and a pair of SPARROWHAWKS, both over the Wet Woods, where below them the Blue bells are pushing up now, turning the monotonous brown leaf litter a shade of green. SPRING IS COMING  :-)

Here's the first photo's using my new lens, test shots really as I try to ascertain the best camera settings to use with it, although I'm pretty pleased with the initial results  :-)

SONGTHRUSH I wasn't going to keep this one, as i chopped its feet off, but I like the way I caught it singing, so it's a 'keeper'
Songthrush - with feet!
This DUNNOCK was about 7 Meters away, a bit of a twiggy photo, the 500mm lens got in good and close on the birds eye though :-)
I wasn't so happy with this ROBIN shot, it was only 3 Meters away, maybe a slightly smaller aperture would have made it a bit sharper
These CANADA GEESE shots I was a bit more pleased with, at around 50 meters and flying fast, I think the lens did well, a bit more practise needed still though :-)
Canada Geese


Rohrerbot said...

Wow! Excellent shots! Have fun with the new lense. I've got to work on my aperture settings. Some of the pics that I think turn out don't. Great shots. I know it's pretty exciting getting a new lense to play with. For me, it's like seeing everything for the first time. Have fun on your holiday.

Warren Baker said...

Thanks Rohrebot,
All I need now is some decent light! :-)

Anonymous said...

Great first time shots with the new lens, Warren. Me, i`ll stick with the point & shoot jobbies ;-)

Warren Baker said...

Dean, You do pretty well with it too!

Alan Pavey said...

Super start with the lens Warren and well done with adding Tawny Owl.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Coo - wish my taxman was that friendly!!! Nice work on it's first outing too.
Hoping to get a converter for new camera to take it to 1584mm equivalent - just gotta persuade Wifey in the absence of a rebate...wish me luck!



Marc Heath said...

A new lens eh. Some nice shots with it already Warren. I will expect some stunners now then!

Marianne said...

Ah, you have joined the Bigmos club! Nice photos! Rob uses this lens for most of his birding photos and always stops down to f8 as that seems to be where the lens is happiest (good light helps!)

Warren Baker said...

I soon found that F7.1 or F8 was what the lens seemed 'sweet' at. Lots to try out with it yet though :-)

Pete Woodruff said...

Excellent Song Thrush pics Warren....lovely bird.

Steve Ashton said...

Nice start with the new lens Warren, The Thrush photos look very good. 500mm is always handy when out birding. Good luck.

Mike H said...

Some nice shots with the Bigma Warren, can I ask what body do you mount it on?

Wilma said...

Maybe the absence of the sparrowhawk contributed to the presence of some of the others you encountered! ;-)

Warren Baker said...

Mike, I mount the Bigma on a Canon 50D

ShySongbird said...

Well I think they are all lovely photos, Warren. You certainly know what you are doing with the new lens! Lovely to see the Song Thrush, one of my favourite birds.

What a great way to spend your rebate -:) Just be careful the devils don't ask for it all back again next year though, they are past masters at that!

It is exactly the same lens as I have, the one that doesn't get used very often because I find it so heavy! You obviously had no such problems. Were you handholding it or using a tripod? I have wondered about the Canon 100-400, I think it is a little lighter but am worried it would be still too heavy for me. Is that the one you usually use? If so I would be really interested to know how you feel the weight of the Canon compares with the Sigma.

Warren Baker said...

I use the new 500mm lens hand held, I am lucky enough to be fit and able to do that! I can see that it may be a problem for less able photographers though :-(.

The other lens I use is the Sigma 120-400mm, this weighs only slightly less than the 150 - 500mm one.

I thought about getting a Canon 100 - 400mm L. But having already got a lens that size i didn't think it was worth all that extra cash, it's twice the price of my new 500mm lens! I think it is a bit lighter though :-)

Christian said...

Congratulations on the new lens Warren! Some good news from the taxman eh?

Looking forward to more shots from this kit.