Geese, Waders and Rutting Deer.

As stated in the previous post, She Who Will be Obeyed and I spent a week on the North Norfolk Coast doing a spot of bird (and mammal) watching.

It was great to see the `usual` waders present at the various reserves but I can`t help feeling the numbers of individual birds continues to decline each year. I am sure we used to see far more Redshanks and Curlew in past years for instance. Perhaps even these hot-spots are now cooling a little as so many species slip onto amber and even red lists....

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One species that seems to have a more promising future is the Egyptian Goose; a growing population can be seen at Holkam Hall. If not present on the lake then they can be sought in the fields adjacent to the park.

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The other attraction to the hall is of course the deer. The fallow deer were rutting and provided some great photographic opportunities in spite of the misty rain. I particularly like this shot - called `Don`t Look`...

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In conclusion;in spite of changeable weather, North Norfolk provided a great week of walking and bird-watching. We may re-visit next time in late spring.

Bluetails, Marsh Harriers and Seals on the North Norfolk Coast.

Last week we visited the well-known area (among bird-watchers) of North Norfolk between Hunstanton and Cley to see what might `be about`.

The weather was typical for England in the Autumn but there was some sunshine and the new Canon 70D with 100-400mm Mk 2 lens provided surprisingly good results even at `stupid ISO`s` when necessary!

We stayed in a new-build cottage in Wells about 5 minutes walk from the quay-side in the hope of watching pink0footed geese fly overhead in the evening; this was not a success as I suspect the combination of light winds and warm weather had delayed them. However, the walk through Wells Woods certainly yielded results as walking over to see what all the activity was about near the path I found myself in the perfect position to grab some shots (in the murk of the woodland on a very grey afternoon) of a life tick - the red-shouldered blue-tail! (I confess I hadn`t even heard of the species until I had overheard a group of twitchers talking that morning)!
The photograph was taken at over 4000ASA but with a little post-processing in Lightroom 6, it was OK; I remember 100ASA slide film...

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We had hoped to see birds on the sands but it was if the whole of the UK was walking his/her dog...

The third day was sunny and clear so we decided to take the boat trip from Morston Quay out to look at the seals at Blakeney Point. There were only a few animals on the shingle beds but they provided ample photographic opportunities of the `ahhh-bless` sort....

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The bonus on walking back to Blakeney Quay after the boat-trip was the closest sightings yet of a Marsh Harrier among the boats. I`m glad I decided to pull-back and include the boats rather trying to zoom in/crop on the bird alone.

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We like to walk along the sea defenses to Cley Windmill; I wander just how many images of that wind-mill have been captured over the years?

Next: geese, waders and deer....

Returning to the Fold: Canon 70D and 100-400mm MkII lens and 1.4x TC MkIII

There has been something of a lull in activity on this blog.
This has been due in no small part to a lot of heart-searching about my decision to go over to Olympus a couple of years ago.

Don`t get me wrong; it IS a very GOOD system but I was troubled by yet more delays regarding the promised 300mm f4 lens and the addition of IS to it - even MORE expensive AND heavier!

To curt a long story short; I have now spent NO MORE than I would have done buying the 300mm lens from Olympus by trading-in my stuff to WEX and buying a Can0n 70D, 16-135mm EFS lens, 100-400 Mk 2 lens, and two tele-converters! The total weight of this kit is no more than all the Olympus stuff either - and just TWO lenses!

Tests with the 1.4x TC so far have been very satisfying and I will now test the 2x TC; I believe this will be just as good as the Swarovski telescope AND it will have image stabilization. (I shall clearly use a tripod still)!

I have not found the live-view useful as I need to wear strong spectacles to see the screen close-up although the aoutofocus works well. (NOT as well as the Olympus though of course). I shall almost certainly use the viewfinder and manual focus; enjoying the benefits of the image stabilisation however which IS needed even with a `scope in any kind of breeze!

Here is a picture from Titchwell beach late in the afternoon using the 1.4x Mk3 and 100-400mm Mk2 lens...

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