Digiscoping – Spotted Flycatchers

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by Steve Blain

I’ve been rather side-tracked this summer with surveying Corn Buntings, but I did pop along to my local churchyard to see its Spotted Flycatchers. There were two pairs with at least one of them feeding young.

Spotted Flycatcher, Nikon V1, Swarovski ATS 80 HD, 25-50x eyepiece

In previous years I have had a wonderful photographic relationship with these birds. They would often fly-catch from the gravestones just a couple of meters away, seemingly oblivious to my presence.

Below are a few assorted shots from a couple of visits this summer and a few from last.  The light was always best in the evenings so short visits after work made the most of it and kept disturbance to a minimum.

Spotted Flycatcher, Canon S90, Swarovski ATS 80 HD, 20x eyepiece

They can be difficult birds to expose for – often a bright bird on a dark background of deep Yew tree shadow. Here spot-metering off the focus point managed to achieve best results (see images below). However an eye had to be kept on the results as sometimes my camera under-exposed the flycatcher and made the images look dull.

Spotted Flycatcher, Canon S90, Swarovski ATS 80 HD, 20x eyepiece

Spotted Flycatcher, Canon S90, Swarovski ATS 80 HD, 20x eyepiece

Even though flycatchers are stationary for a few seconds at a time, panning after them, focusing and pressing the shutter often resulted in a missed opportunity. Sometimes it was better to just watch which perches they favored and pre-focus the scope on them. All you then had to do was do some slight adjustments to the positioning when a bird alights, and gently squeeze the shutter-release to nail a shot. Not rocket-science but a smooth gentle action was needed to keep vibration to a minimum after focusing, and before you can be confident of a shake-free shot.

Spotted Flycatcher, Nikon V1, Swarovski ATS 80 HD, 25-50x eyepiece

Sometimes, the quieter summer period can give you a chance to hone your skill. And these Spotted Flycatchers made a great summer project!

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3 Responses to Digiscoping – Spotted Flycatchers

  1. Liz says:

    Fantastically clear shots. Very impressive captures.

  2. Love the bokeh in that second shot. Marvellous

  3. Pingback: Save Scottish corn buntings | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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