Winter Visitors to Wales 

Fieldfare


Redwing


Bohemian Waxwing


Bohemian Waxwing


Bohemian Waxwing


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Canon 500L f4 IS USM Lens - A real world review! 


We rented the above lens for a couple of weeks while visiting the US for a few of our birding trips. This lens is *many* thousands of pounds to buy and I would highly recommend renting one to see if its right for you before rushing out and buying one.

The first thing you notice about this lens is that its big. Very big! Its pictured below with our 400L IS USM lens that we take with us pretty much everywhere. There's no way you can cart the 500 around with you for general outings its just too heavy and cumbersome. Thanks to the IS it is possible for some people to take a few shots hand held with this lens but its better suited to a tripod or monopod for any prolonged period of use.


Canon 500L lens show with a 100-400L IS USM lens

Its size and weight is really the only criticism you can give this lens. In all other areas it is truely unbelievable. Being an f4 lens it focuses very quickly and has excellent light gathering ability. We were able to get a respectable shutter speed even in poor lighting conditions where our 100-400L lens really struggles.

Having a 500mm focal length this lens is great for getting that bit closer to those elusive little critters and I can understand why it is a common choice for more serious wildlife photographers.

Unquestionably the most impressive thing about this lens is the image quality. Even with average lighting conditions images are crisp and sharp with excellent colour. It really does take things to a whole new level of perfection.

So would I recommend this lens? Absolutely! Its fantastic!! However it won't be for everyone so be smart and try before you buy!

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Bohemian Waxwing 


Heading back from the US today. I'll hopefully add a number of blogs for our trip over the coming weeks (including a review of the Canon 500L IS USM lens that we rented!) but here's one of my favorite pics to wet your appetite.

-Mark-

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Springtime down at Pagham Harbour 
Hi folks,

First post in a long while. We moved house at the end of last year and since then seem to have been far too busy to take many pictures. The following were taken at Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve while on a short break. Enjoy...


Wheater (F)


Mark's Pics. Click to enlarge..

Wheater (M)

Oystercatcher

Grey Heron

Reed Bunting

Pipit

Buzzard

Turnstone

Greenfinch

Blackcap (F)

Dunlin

Common Sandpiper

Whimbrel



Whitethroat


Jen's Pics. Click to enlarge..

Whitethroat (m)

Whinchat (m)

Swallow

Greenfinch (m)

Kestrel

Robin

Willow Warbler

Blackbird (m)

Orange-tip Butterfly (m)


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Skomer Island at Last! 

Puffin in Flight


Guillemot

Puffin

Razorbill

Skomer is a small island off the South West coast of Wales famous for its bird collonies and wildlife. Unspoiled by civilization Skomer is and will remain a protected area of outstanding natural beauty managed by the National Trust.

Having tried unsuccessfully to visit last year and again a month or so ago this year it was beginning to look like we were going to miss out again. However on Thursday last week all came good and we finally managed to make it to Martin's Haven on a day when the boat was able to cross and get a seat (seats are limited and available on a first come first served basis only).


The Boat & Skomer

For any bird enthusiast the excitement begins before you even dock on Skomer with large numbers of Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills fishing in the waters surrounding the island. They'll also be there to greet you as you climb the steep stairway that leads you up the cliff face when you dock.



We decided to head clockwise around the island sticking pretty much to the coastal path which unfortunately meant we didn't get opportunity to check out the various lakes and hides on the island. We'll check those out next time :) and in any case there was plenty to keep us excited on our chosen route.

At this time of year the island really is Puffin paradise with them showing up pretty much everywhere! Ignoring the Puffins just for a moment one of the first treats that we had having just started out was a Short-Eared Owl!


Short-Eared Owl

OK so it wasn't a great photograph but its the first one we've ever seen and we actually got a pretty good look at him through the bins! :)

The next landmark that we arrived at was "The Knapp"; a place where you can expect to have Puffins quite literally at your feet. The path takes you straigh through their collonely with burrows on either side and you can stand and watch as the adults come back from the sea with their beaks full of Sandeels!



Also at this point you can see a large number of Razorbills and Guillemots, Fulmars and Kittiwakes.



We moved slightly away from here and found a quieter spot to sit and eat a spot of lunch before continuing our trip around the island.



To be continued...

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