Birds and Wildlife


Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Essex, June 2018

I’m a little out of practise with my photography, and was caught off guard by this swallow sitting on a wire. I managed to scramble my camera out of bag just in time to get a photograph, but the light was off, which is why I have a dark colour photo and a more “artistic” black and white version.

I’m not entirely sure where I was to take this, but it was a beautiful field where the swallows were swooping down in the long grass really close to where I was watching. Unfortunately, it started raining soon after, and they all took shelter, leaving me wet and sneezing in the middle of a field. Also discovered that hay fever is not really conducive with the stealth required for birding.

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Some thoughts about the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV camera for bird photography

SzimiStyle Birding

I’ve been using the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 mark IV bridge camera for 4 months now and the more I use, the more I love this powerful camera in a compact house. Key features of the fourth generation RX10 are the 20.1-megapixel ‘one-inch‘ sensor, the super sharp 24-600mm (35mm equivalent) Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f2.4-4.0 zoom lens, 315 point phase-detection autofocus system for amazing movement tracking and 4K video capabilities. All these features are perfect for bird and wildlife photographers but utilising the exceptional lens sharpness, it has also been used for portrait photography by many.

The RX10 IV is my everyday camera for documenting birding for good reasons. I love its capability to track flying birds with the support of the very same processor used in the Sony a9 camera. I had a pretty gloomy and misty morning in the Peak District National Park a few weeks back, where I…

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Freya At Sea …


The sun was shining on the sea, 
   Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make 
   The billows smooth and bright-- 
And this was odd, because it was
   The middle of the night.

We were not about to head for the open ocean. Our interests lay on or close to land. The scenery could wait until tomorrow but wildlife encounters could not. And as Lewis Carroll had told us the sun would not be setting on this cruise. We retired to our cabins knowing that we could be called from our beds at any time.

We acquired some new avian companions as soon as we sailed …

Northern Fulmar

There is a great variety of tube-noses, Procellariiformes, in the southern oceans but north of the equator there are only a few species. The Northern Fulmar would be the only representative of the family we would see around…

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Sea Birds of Svalbard …


Over winter Svalbard is pretty much a bird free zone. The only land bird you are likely to encounter is the Ptarmigan and the sea birds leave their nesting colonies and head out to sea. Come the spring the birds return, each to their preferred habitat.

The birds that dominate the inshore waters are the Auks.

The most numerous representative of the group is the Little Auk of which there are more than a million pairs.

Little Auk

These guys nest in scree on fairly step slopes not necessarily at the edge of the sea. The other common Auks are Brünnich’s Guillemot and the Black Guillemot. These both favour cliff ledges for their nesting sites.

Take a closer look …

Auks propel themselves under water with their wings. Water is 784 times more dense than air. To be efficient in water wings need to be stiffer and smaller. Auks do…

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