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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Damn, the snow has gone!

Yes, I took an exceptionally long time but all the snow has now gone, I weep. This year I managed many wonderful sub-zero hours in my buzzard spot and was rewarded with 5 or 6 birds who consistently came to feed, all be it later in the day :| As they have now moved on, and the foresters moved in to cut down plenty of trees, I moved too.

Back to the songbird feed for woodpeckers and the now plenty red squirrels. It has to be said that most of my reds are grey or black, but definately red. ;)

For a while I had a resident bank vole too, but he vanished and I wondered why with all the food about. Then this fellow popped his head out of the vole hole.

...and of course, it would not be spring without a bit of bambi and faline.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Winter blues

Unlike most people my winter blues begin when spring arrives. I love winter, I love waking up to a foot of snow and digging the car out. I love sitting in my hide unsure about what might happen, but knowing my forest friends may appear for the small gift of food I give. So here is my winter round-up, 2 months ago I was worried I would have little to show for my buzzard addiction, in the end I got more than I bargained for but not quite what i wanted... ho hum.

I was inundated with GSWs too.

Then this one arrived, and disappeared again

and there was always plenty of small stuff about

I thank my lucky stars that I am able to take pictures like these five minutes drive from home.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The 5DmkIII, a quick review.

In short the 5DmkIII allowed me the space I needed to get stuff in the frame, where the 1.3x crop of the 1DmkIV was too much the 5DIII took over. I would love to say it is fast and amazing but the 6fps are just a touch too slow, the buffer is a touch too small and the batteries do not supply enough power to the AF module so it is not as snappy as the 1D series.

That said the AF is customisable, accurate and comprehensive. Really quite impressive, I can only dream of what the 1Dx is capable of. 6fps is probably enough for most situations but these buzzards of mine are quick and I miss having those inbetween frames you get at 10fps. But OK, the 5D AF is accurate enough to nail you important shots, the unfocussed ones are down to user error. Me basically.

I was shooting at ISO400, so I will not coment on IQ just yet but the images are full of full frame goodness and at ISO400 there is no noise to speak of.

It is a very balanced camera, at long last a 5D which is useful for more than just snaps.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Snow business

The snow persists, sometimes melting, sometimes falling but generally sticking around. Means my buzzards are still hungry. All taken with 500f4, sometimes TC, 1DIV (at least I think so)...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lessons learned.

This years buzzard campaign has taken some getting off the ground. First of all the foresters started cutting down trees right next to my baiting spot. Then the snow left us. Then it came back, so I started again. I built new perches, but that just meant I did not see any buzzards. One lesson learned is to setup your perches in advance, any changes to them will take time for the buzzards to get used to. They just don't trust anything.
It would be nice to have a permanent hide, but that is not possible around here, the forests are public access. Which is why I also had dog problems, I leave meat out too late in the afternoon, good chance an unruley dog will sniff it on the wind and be at it. I have remote camera images too, dog walker scratching their heads at the pile of chicks and bones. So I only leave frozen meat out now, less aroma to be carried on the wind. Which is another thing, frozen pulped up meat takes alot of hacking at, means the buzzards stay put if the block is heavy enough. When I have mice or rats, I freeze them to the block with water so they cannot be snatched.
Third lesson, stay put. I arrived and put up my Ameri-step hide at 6am. Dawn is around 7.30am. Usable light is about 8.30am. Buzzards sat in the trees all around from 8am onwards. They flew around, they sat, they squabbled over perches. But they did not feed. at 11.30 I was seriously considering a hot shower. Then came noon. Six hours I had to wait for the first buzzard, but then another three dropped down. It was quite a sight and not one I have ever witnessed, even when i had a deer carcass.
4th lesson. Get a decent hide. I now use an Ameristep hide, it is a big too tall but the camo pattern is top and the insides are painted black, blocking any visible movement inside the tent. Like I say it is a big hide, means I can put a foldaway chair in there, with a backrest... gotta get comfy if you are sitting and waiting for 6 hours at -10°C or less.
There will be more images to come, watch this space.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Firefox is the one.

Due to my outdated installation of IE at work I have been lax in my blog posting. Time at home is always short and processing restricted to shots for upload to stock sites. But to recap the past few months here goes:

After the snow in November we holidayed in Martinique and Guadloupe:

When we got back it was warm and mild, I still had a queue of visitors at the feeding site:

Xmas in the UK saw absolutely no short eared owls and practically nothing of interest. I did manage a day or two with these wild kestrels though.

Finally the snow arrived in Bavaria but the buzzards are not playing ball, very few came down but my usual suspects are still in residence.