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The Great British Bird Hunt

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What lens did you use to get the Kingfisher shots strider? (which are fantastic btw)

EDIT: Ahh read the equipment thread, it's a 600mm prime is it not? Do you use a tele with that as well and what body are you using it on?

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It's the mk1 600mm prime with a 1.4 tc. I've been advised that the lens is sharpest at 7.1, so will try and test those settings next week.

I have to get off my arse and find some new locations as my bird tally is woeful this year.

Still using your canon 7d but am planning to get a 5d mk3

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Awesome! The shots look great, keep going! I've just picked up a 7D mark ii and the 100-400mm lens. First day using it on Saturday and I lucked out and got some kingfisher shots at my local nature reserve Martinmere. Sadly I didn't have the reach to get any really good shots but one of the other photographers in the hide let me use his 1.4 tc after the kingfisher had gone turning the 400 (560) into effectively a 800 on the crop camera. What a difference! Will definitely be purchasing one soon.

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The reach is amazingly useful. I'm at 840 but it's higher due to the 1.6 crop factor of the 7D.

It's a heavy fucker of a lens and certainly can't be used the way I used to go out but in terms of reach it's phenomenal. The closeups of kingfishers were a 10% crop if that from around 20 feet away.

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EDIT: You've posted again since I started writing this. I meant this post.

Looks like the post about the Patchwork Challenge is missing a hyperlink? Love the Redwing - spotted one once in my in-laws garden, but never since.

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to do a monthly record of all the birds I see in my garden, now I've finally got settled enough to buy a new feeder station (niger seeds, seed mix, peanuts, fat balls). Funnily enough, I got very excited today when I saw... a female blackcap. Spotted a male at a National Trust property just outside York too a few days back too, so it looks like they're definitely overwintering this far North. One of my more recent birding books suggests that the UK summer birds are still going to Africa/Med for winter, but now Eastern European birds are wintering here!

Other than that, I've seen lots of tits (insert own joke here) - great, coal, blue, one of willow/marsh (who knows which) - plus dunnock, robin, wood pigeon, blackbird, magpie, jackdaw and crow. Nothing seems interested in the peanuts, and I'm fairly sure the holes in the niger feeder were too small, so I've expanded them a bit with a stanley knife. I'm hoping for gold/greenfinches on the niger seed, and I've ambitiously bought a large enough nut feeder to accommodate a great spotted woodpecker, although what I'd really love (and have no chance of getting) is a nuthatch.

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Yeah, I loved cats as a kid/teen, but as I came to appreciate birds I went right off them.

None of the trees in our garden are mature enough for hiding snacks - I just have a feeding pole stuck in the lawn, in front of a big old privet hedge (which I was happy to find is RSPB approved) and a 7ft high, arm-thick trunked magnolia, which the birds all use as a staging area for their brief flits onto the feeder. I'll check out the recipe though - might be fun to make them with my daughter.

Might dig out my m43 Olympus 70-300mm and try to get some pictures, although I'm worried that my back neighbours will see me with various bits of optical equipment from their upstairs windows and get the wrong idea.

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Might dig out my m43 Olympus 70-300mm and try to get some pictures, although I'm worried that my back neighbours will see me with various bits of optical equipment from their upstairs windows and get the wrong idea.

I can imagine. When I spotted a Black Redstart on the porch of a busy building opposite me, lots of people were angrily knocking on the window as they must of thought I was trying to take dodgy pictures. I pointed to the ledge, made a flap flap sign and gave them the thumbs up. Seemed to work okay :P

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We've added some new feeders to the garden and they've proved very popular - one is a fatball container designed to only let smaller birds have access, and there's always a variety of colourful little winged devices pecking away at it. And occasionally a determined, upside-down squirrel completely oblivious to the ball we've left on the nearby table, but in general fatballs seem successful - I'm certainly seeing more types of bird than I imagined. We have a more traditional seed feeder for the larger birds, which presumably gives them a path of least resistance that leaves the fatballs for the little ones.

I haven't worked out a good way to try to get shots of them yet, but I'll see what I can do about it.

I also bought my wife a really nice little bird book from our daugther for Xmas. Let me see if I can remember what it was.

[...]

I'm pretty sure it was this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Our-Garden-Birds-Matt-Sewell/dp/0091945003/. Definitely by that author, anyway - wonderful illustrations and little personalised paragraphs about the nature of the birds. For all I know he's a reviled figure among the bird crowd and a notorious liar, but it looked like a useful and enjoyable book to me.

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I can imagine. When I spotted a Black Redstart on the porch of a busy building opposite me, lots of people were angrily knocking on the window as they must of thought I was trying to take dodgy pictures. I pointed to the ledge, made a flap flap sign and gave them the thumbs up. Seemed to work okay :P

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Rowan, If you are taking an interest in the bird life in your back garden why not take part with your daughter in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch?

It only takes up an hour of your time on the last weekend of January and comes with a nice selection of birds to look out for etc. It's also critical in helping us get a better insight into where birds are appearing/disappearing about the country.

https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdwatch

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We did this, so thanks again for the reminder. Well, my wife and daughter did it, because we only had one set of binoculars. But I was central to the whole process because it was me who let the cat in fifteen minutes after they'd started.

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Nice update strider, always a noteworthy event happening across a Bullfinch!

Nice Little Egret too, I'm assuming you are scrutinising any and all white heron-type birds incase one is a Great White Egret? Probably only a matter of time such is the rate they are colonising Britain.

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There are normally Great White Egrets a 15 minute drive from me at Blashford. The best place to see them (along with Bitterns) is Hamwall in Somerset. Might try to get there again this year. Little Egrets are everywhere on the south coast as they started breeding in Brownsea Island. It's amazing to think they were a genuine rarity in the seventies.

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