Friday, 18 January 2013

Purple Sandpipers

Out birding again yesterday and starting to see the real benefits of teaming up with a more experienced bird photographer. We had set off before dawn with a plan and target list for the day. The weather forecast was good and with a brilliant sunrise the day looked promising. However, having located our first target, a Shag at Eastney Point, heavy clouds started drifting in from the west and it looked more like pending snow than the promised sunshine.

The Shag disappeared into the harbour before we were able to get record shots and we moved on to Southsea Castle. The target here was Purple Sandpipers and it proved to be our only photographic opportunity of the day albeit under an ever darkening sky.

700mm   ISO400   f8   1/200sec

700mm   ISO400   f8   1/100sec

I was not very happy with the quality of these pictures and thought I would show a better shot below taken at Brighton Marina last year. It was only when I looked at the picture information that I realised that this was arguably taken in worse lighting conditions. Sometimes its just to easy to blame the light when its actually the guy that presses the button that is at fault.

700mm   ISO800   f8   1/125sec

The plan for the day was then revised and we set off to visit some of Dave's favourite birding places on Portsea Island, Langstone Harbour, and Chichester Harbour. We managed to log over sixty birds for the day but the real benefit for me was in finding out about the best places to visit, where to park, the impact of the tides, how to avoid the dog walkers, and the best places and time of day to optimise the lighting.

We finished off in fading light on Pagham Harbour north wall with a Short Eared Owl hunting over the fields.

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