Thursday, 21 November 2013

Sacre Bleu!

As I have mentioned previously, if possible, I try to record any ringed birds that I see. With the camera it is easy  - photograph the rings and when post processing crop as heavy as necessary to read the information - simple! However, in the past I have been known to grumble about how long it takes to receive a reply - never again.  Late Tuesday evening I searched the Euring Website for the particular project that rings Med Gulls with white rings prefixed 3 and found the e-mail address for Camille Duponcheel. I constructed a report:

Mediterranean Gull: White Leg Ring 3K50
Sighted: Lepe, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Date: 19/11/2013 10:34 UTC Position: 50.79N   1.34W  Nat Grid Ref SZ462 987
Picture attached,
This was sent at 2157, imagine my surprise as I downloaded my email the next morning to find a reply timed at 0511 - astounding service. Most of the ringing groups request that you keep the database output confidential but it is OK to give an extract.
Mediterranean Gull/ Mouette Melanocephale 3K50 was ringed at Antwerp, aged >3CY, on 22/04/2006  and there have been 11 subsequent sightings. This bird obviously likes the Hampshire coast as 9 these have been in the county.
Whilst waiting for the Lesser Yellowlegs to show, I did some experimenting with the camera, for birders the following shot of a Dunnock is quite unremarkable, it is a bit washed out, the depth of field is ridiculously small and there is a fuzziness to it. But I took it with the Canon 1D MkIV coupled to stacked x2 and x1.4 extenders and the 500mm f4 lens. The camera is tricked into believing that only a x2 is connected so it behaves as a 1820 mm F8 lens that autofocuses - albeit a tad slowly. I am hoping that this will prove useful to record birds when sea watching. Shot at f8 1/320s ISO 800. Post processing - cropped, noise reduction and sharpening. 

Today's outing was a visit to the WWT at Arundel, with the weather set wet, windy and cold, our reasoning was that the hides would afford some protection as well as the chance of a bird or two. Especially as there have been recent sightings of Spotted Crake, Bittern and Bearded Tit.

Before parking at WWT we had a quick visit to Swanbourne Lake, just in case there was something out of the ordinary. Not this time - plenty of Black-headed and Common Gulls, a disappearing Grey Wagtail, Tufted Ducks and a multitude of Coots.

On to WWT where we visited each hide in turn but despite loitering around we found very little, the birds were doing exactly the same as us - sheltering from a bitter north-easter. Back to the Visitor Centre via the boardwalk and the Wildfowl collection. I couldn't resist a photograph or two of a couple of colourful residents - very smart individuals indeed. The best part of the day was the steaming mug of tea in the restaurant.


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