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.

Rat, Robin and a Cormorant

I’m still getting to know the new lens, so the first couple of shots here are by way of demonstrating just how good the 100-400 Mk II is in what are undoubtedly poor conditions. It’s sharp at maximum aperture, and the stabilization is extremely solid. Both these shots were taken before the sun had risen over the South Downs. ISO is 1600, and the aperture f5/6 (i.e. wide open). The lens is at a full 400mm extension. Shutter speed is 1/80 (rat) and 1/100 (robin).

Rat

Rat in tree at Falmer, 1/80, f5.6, 1600 ISO

Robin

Robin at Falmer Village, 1/100, f5.6, 1600 ISO

The rest of the days shots were is slightly less poor conditions. A cormorant was the morning highlight, circling Falmer several times.

Cormorant over Falmer

Cormorant over Falmer

The final shots were taken in the afternoon, at the edge of the car park at Mithras House (on one of the main roads into Brighton). The robin was happily and boldly chirruping away.

robin

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.