Tuesday, 11 March 2014

I only had until 09:00hrs to make a patch visit today, as I had to be back home for a parcel delivery, so i decided to spend a couple of hours walking the fields and paddocks of Migrant Alley, then doing an early morning sky watch from my seat there.

It wasn't long after 07:30hrs when a chorus of chainsaws broke the silence, they came from the College sports pitch, adjacent to Migrant Alley, where a headland of mature trees were being cleared to make way for the new secondary school being built there, with that will be a rugby pitch and a football pitch on two of the fields at Migrant Alley, this maybe the end for my patch, as it's on these fields that most of the really interesting birds turn up, I will have to see whats left and how disturbed it would get, but with hundreds of school kids about, it doesn't look promising.

Anyway, despite the racket being carried across the fields by a chill wind, I watched the grey skies for any signs of migrant activity. Nothing arriving was noted, but SISKIN, LESSER REDPOLL, FIELDFARE, REDWING and MEADOW PIPIT were all seen heading purposely NE. Three CANADA GEESE headed over towards the lakes, and two GREYLAG GEESE flew south. A single LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL flew west, while 21 BLACK HEADED GULLS with 3 HERRING GULLS tried to feed on the sheep pasture, but were eventually forced to move on by the disturbance there.

I walked a circuit of the fields, not finding much, the ROOKS were collecting food out among the sheep, maybe they have young already ?  A dozen JACKDAWS joined them as did around 20-30 STARLINGS, 2 SKYLARKS got up and sang before dropping back into the pasture again. The LITTLE OWL was seen as I passed by the Greenhouse Copse, where a pair of BUZZARDS flew out from their presumed roost.

I walked home via the Greenhouse Grounds, where LINNET, PIED WAGTAIL, KESTREL, and a couple of Meadow Pipits were the best on offer, but there was plenty of activity from the regulars too, DUNNOCK, WREN, ROBIN, GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, GREAT TIT, BLUE TIT and LONG TAILED TIT were all busy feeding. There were far fewer BLACKBIRDS than normal though, and not one Songthrush.

Back home the parcel eventually arrived, it was a Canon 400mm L prime lens, not mine, but a friend had it delivered to my address so I could try it out, before he collects it at the weekend, very kind of him  ;-)

I took it up to my garden shed, to get some bird images, but the light was so bad it was not fair to compare the results from it to my 500mm Sigma, especially as the Canon 400 lens has no Image stabilization. The best of a bad bunch were these two shots below, hopefully some sunshine this week will enable a better comparison of the lens. I will then make my mind up weather to get this lens or the 100-400mm zoom that i tried a couple of weeks ago  :-)
It auto focuses really rapidly, even in the poor light. F5.6 @ 125 shutter speed
Lesser Redpoll. The shutter speed of 100 was too slow, making for soft image.


Pete Woodruff said...

Impressed with the Canon lens, and impressed again with the Nuthatch image....What an excellent friend you have there Warren.

Marc Heath said...

As Pete says, that's some friend to let you use that. I agree with the soft image. My Sigma 150mm arrived today. Just maybe I can get out briefly tomorrow to try it out.