Tag Archives: sparrowhawk

Up in the Sky

I’m still playing around with the 7D Mark II and spent some time today calibrating the 400mm lens, which had felt a bit soft. I’d had to do the same with the previous camera and my method of calibrating is none too exact, though making the in-camera adjustments is easy. It may take me a few attempts to get the lens working to its maximum capability. That said, the settings are not too far off.

The first sequence (with the uncalibrated 400mm lens) is a sparrowhawk flying over the garden this morning, startling (but not attacking) a small flock of starlings.

sparrowhawk and starlings

The sparrowhawk flies close to the starlings

The starlings wheeled away. The sparrowhawk was searching, but not hunting. It hung over the garden for a while longer.

sparrowhawk

sparrowhawk

sparrowhawk

The next shot, of a helicopter, was taken with the 100-400mm lens.

Helicopter

Now a herring gull (I’d calibrated the 400mm lens by this point and was using the 1.4 extender).

Herring gull

There’s one other regular feature in the sky that is hard to miss. It appeared mid to late afternoon.

Moon

Moon before nightfall – 400mm lens

And it was still there tonight.

Moon

Moon after dark – 400mm lens + 1.4x extender

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II. Lenses are the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens, EF 400mm f/5.6L USM and Canon EF 1.4xIII extender as indicated.

New Ducks on the Pond + a common sandpiper

Life at Falmer Pond is generally fairly predictable. The gulls and geese come and go according to the season, the ducks stay around for the year, and the heron pops in every now and then. Once in a while though new ducks appear. Last year we had a couple of Muscovy ducks. The most recent additions are two near-white ducks which I saw for the first time yesterday (the photos are from today).

pair of white ducks

white duck

white duck

I expect them to be around for a while and they seem to be integrating well. Whether they arrived under their own steam, or were released, is another matter entirely.

One of the less frequent visitors is also one of our smallest wading birds, the common sandpiper. They tend to be shy (even of other birds), and I spotted this one picking its way through a shaded corner of the pond.

Common sandpiper

Common sandpiper

Common sandpiper

The last photo for today is a rather fine sparrowhawk, which was circling the car park when I arrived back at work after lunch.

sparrowhawk

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens.

Sparrowhawk and Herring Gull

Just a short sequence from yesterday. I was out in the garden watching the skies when the squawking of the local herring gulls alerted me to this sparrowhawk flying overhead.

Sparrowhawk

Most of the gulls were keeping their distance and just being noisy about the passing intruder over their patch. One gull, however, took matters into its own hands (or wings) and commenced on a solo mobbing. These are hefty crops as the action was a considerable distance away.

Sparrowhawk and herring gull

Sparrowhawk and herring gull

Sparrowhawk and herring gull

Sparrowhawk and herring gull

The sparrowhawk eventually got fed up with the close attentions of the larger bird and dove down across the valley, easily outpacing the gull which was content to return to the main flock.

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