Monday 11 March 2013

Stolen moments

Birding moments have been not so much stolen recently as callously ripped from the cold dead hand of opportunity. This weekend, Saturday was a sporty day for my eldest son George. It started with a 6-a-side football tournament at the local sports centre. Being indoors with access to fancy coffee, and with games of only 8 minutes duration, this seemed like an improvement at first on the usual weekend routine of standing on a windy touchline for an hour watching the ritual humiliation of Wareham Rangers under-10s.
Male Reed Bunting at Swineham. Taken with my old Tamron 200-400mm zoom. Might as well have taken it through a beer bottle.
But when it got to 'played 3, lost 3' I realised there was something to be said for only watching him get beat once in a weekend. Pride was restored with a hard-fought 1-0 win in the final group match, but it wasn't enough to prevent an early exit from the tournament. On the up-side, this meant there was just enough time to visit my local patch before his afternoon swimming gala kicked off.
Peregrine at Swineham. This one was taken through a beer bottle...
I was convinced this fleeting visit to Swineham, my first in a couple of weeks, would be rewarded handsomely with exotic birds, but it wasn't to be. A reminder that a patch needs to be wooed, and won't give up the goodies in exchange for a fleeting booty call. A Yellow-legged Gull and a Peregrine were the highlights.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Studland. This one taken with camera attached to Swarovski telescope via an extension tube with the eyepiece removed. Complicated.
Another football match was due on Sunday, but George's mum pulled rank for Mother's Day, and informed a heart-broken Ranger's coach that as George was 'unavailable for selection' he'd have to find another bum to warm the subs bench. Her choice of day out - a chilly stroll on Studland Beach - provided a bonus encounter with the local Med Gulls, which outnumbered their Black-headed cousins by two to one.
Another Med Gull, Studland - this one a 2nd winter bird.
As well as limited opportunity, I've also been suffering a bit with a lack of motivation to be honest. Being able to sling a throw-around 400mm lens over my shoulder usually means that I go out with high hopes of taking a decent picture if not seeing a decent bird, but with this lens at the menders even that hope is reduced. The alternatives involve attaching cameras and adaptors to tubes and telescopes to create a selection of Heath Robinson-esque contraptions. All to get sub-standard pictures like these.
Carrion Crow, Studland.
A visit to the camera shop today to check on progress revealed that Canon haven't even priced the repair job yet, let alone fixed the thing. A cunning ruse to force me to buy another one of their products while I wait, no doubt. Well screw you, Canon, I can wait. Aforementioned wife and son will happily confirm I have the patience of a saint. Come back next week, then, Dear Reader, for more fuzzy pictures and, if you're really lucky, continued moaning about my busted lens and busy life.

Another stolen moment - a Black Brant (left) at Ferrybridge taken en route to a meeting at the nearby Sailing Academy last week. Contrary to what you may think, I did actually stop the car to take this.

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