06 March 2012

Spring shooting with pixels at the Pivot Fields

Week 08, 24 February 2012 - Pivot Fields

After rugby practise Jaden and I met up with Daniele Occhiato, a visiting birder and great photographer from Florence in Italy to spend a morning at the Pivot Fields, where we were kindly granted access in one car. Although still quite brisk temperatures, the trickle of arriving migrants put a feel of Spring in the air.

Daniele is a great Western Palearctic birder and a master with his Canon outfit (1DM4 and 600mm coupled with either 1.4 or 2x extender) and I learnt a lot from him during the morning, although the 50D is much slower in focussing than the 1DM4 with the same lens combination. Nevertheless, I was more pleased with the results, than with my first attempt. As I promised to myself for 2012, I have also started shooting in RAW, but the post-processing changes will still take time to become more familiar.

During the morning we noted an influx of Wheatears, still the most common was Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheater (Oenanthe isabellina)
But, many Pied Wheatears had also arrived, with most sporting their new Spring plumage
Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

We also found a very strangely marked Pied Wheatear, so were not sure if this is an aberrant vittata - any opinions out there?

Pied Wheatear - odd vittata?

Many Stonechats were aslo seen, these are European

European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

Shrikes were represented by Woodchat

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
and an obliging Daurian

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

As is to be expected, the White Wagtails are thinning out and are now replaced by Black-headed Wagtails (feldegg)

Black-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. feldegg)
A stop at the Camel Pen provided a few Namaqua Doves and flocks of House Sparrows

Male House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Driving back to Croc Pond we had a distant female Hen Harrier - so excuse the poor record shot

Female Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
And a fairly obliging Long-legged Buzzard

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

Stopping to check out the Croc Pond , we had this impressive beast nonchalantly stare back at us

Nile Crocodile

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