Blackbird, Collared Dove and Coot

Well I may include something else as well, but I’ll start with the birds. They are all very common, but the light was nice and I’m still enjoying getting to know the new gear. I have to say I am amazed at just how sharp the lens is. Anyway, here’s a fine blackbird (male) who was hanging around Falmer Pond today.

Blackbird (male)

Blackbird (male)

We also have a good colony of collared doves locally. They are naturalized natives (they’ve been around the UK for about 50 years), but they are everywhere now. More delicate than our standard pigeons, they are pretty birds with beautiful red eyes.

Collared dove

Collared dove

Just one shot of the coot, caught as it was descending the bank into the pond. Again, the light was lovely.

Coot

I can’t resist posting at least one rat shot, but the rest of today’s will be added to the December rat album.

rat

rat

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Lots More Rats (and a robin)

More fun with the local rat population, but to reduce the burden on this page I’ve created a new gallery: Falmer Rats December 2014, so just a sample here.

rat

rat

rat

rat

The robins are also very active at the moment. This one was hopping around at the edge of the pond.

robin

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Red-eyed Blackbird, plus lots more…

I had a good day with the camera today. It started early, with a group of very cooperative rats down at the edge of Falmer pond. There were 5 or 6 running around, but the best group shot I could manage was this one.

Three rats

Two more photos rats posing nicely for the camera.

Rat on tree stump

Rat perching on a tree stump

rat on grassy bank

Rat on grass bank

That was early morning, but by lunchtime the sun was properly up and I took the opportunity to add a 1.4x extender to the 100-400 Mark II lens. This gives a whopping 560mm lens, which combined with the crop sensor of the 7D Mark II gives an equivalent reach of just shy of 900mm on a full frame camera. That’s one of the reasons the 7D is so popular.

So with that kind of weaponry, what did I get?

Lots of photos of pied wagtails…

pied wagtail

Pied wagtail on the roof of St Laurence Church

Pied wagtail

Several photos of mistle thrushes, but these are my favourites…

Mistle thrush

Mistle thrush

Mistle thrush

The star spot though was an (un)common blackbird. At first glance there’s nothing particularly startling about it, but if you look closely the eye ring on this bird is red (not yellow), and the beak also had a red tint to it. I’m not sure just how unusual this is, but it was the first one I’ve seen.

blackbird with red eye ring and beak

Blackbird with red eye ring and red tint on beak

Using the extender limits you to the central focusing points (not really an issue for these sorts of photos). The lens remained very responsive and sharp.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. For the bird photos I added the Canon EF 1.4xIII extender.