28 Jun 2014

28 June 14 - First Attempt At Digiscoping The Middlebere Spoonbills

It was about 19:30 before I got back to Poole Harbour, after the drive around the Cranborne Chase looking for birds & other wildlife. Rather than head home, I opted for another couple of hours at Middlebere as the tide was perfect for a rising tide in the evening. The rising tides are always good here as Middlebere Creek is one of the last places on this side of the harbour to flood, thus allowing good views from the hide. Additionally, the local Spoonbills often gather here in the evening, although I've seen them fly off to roost elsewhere before dusk. The tide was higher up than I would have liked and I reckon I would already have missed many of the Waders. Although a party of 24 Black-tailed Godwits on the grass indicated their numbers were still increasing (compared to the 8 seen a few days earlier). But tonight it was the Spoonbills who stole the show, with 7 birds feeding together & occasionally preening each other.
Spoonbill: They were quite a way down the creek & closer to the RSPB hide this evening, so the Canon 7D & 400mm lens was struggling a lot in the evening light at that range
Being well down the creek, gave me a chance to try out the PhoneSkope adapter I've just bought for these situations. I had thought of trying to make one, but decided against that. I figured if it was loose & the IPhone fell off the scope & broke the screen, it would cost me more money replacing it in the long run. Also, I would end up having several trial & error sessions before I got the focal distances correct. So here are the first results. They photos aren't great, but given the distance, I'm fairly happy with the results in the circumstances. They would have been a lot worse had I tried to massively crop & enlarge the photos from the Canon set up. The weak point is the IPhone camera as my scope is a Leica 25 - 50x APO Televid 82 scope. Very nice optically & was the best large scope on the market a couple of years ago (before Swarovski brought out their latest scope).
Spoonbill: 2 adults given the bill pattern & the yellow flush on the breast of the right hand bird. All the Spoonbills I was seeing back in May were immature birds, so perhaps these 2 are newly in from the continent
Spoonbill: They can obvious get to some places themselves
Spoonbill: But for the places they can't reach...... it's good to have friends
Spoonbill: Clearly, this bird is bored of posing for photos or perhaps just giving an opinion on the quality of the photos
Incidentally, one of the Spoonbills present was the same colour-ringed individual that was present on 28 May at Middlebere. The colour ring details are:-
Left leg: Yellow over Red over Metal
Right leg: Red over Yellow Flag over Green
Spoonbill: A close up of the colour ringed bird
This looked to be the Spoonbill I saw on Brownsea on the 21 June (but I only realised that was coloured ringed when I saw the photos & the photo isn't clear enough to be 100% certain). I have sent the details off to the Spoonbill coordinator, but only received a reply saying he is away & very busy at the moment. If anybody has quicker connections to be able to check the history of this bird please leave a comment on the blog with your email address. I won't publish the Comment, but will respond privately by email to establish more details on the colour ringed bird.