For those not into to photography, join me a bit further down - we'll get to the birds shortly.
I got my new toy on Thursday, so as you might expect, we had freezing fog all day on Friday and rain yesterday! Today, I actually got out in the local park to test it. The back story is that I started with a zoom telephoto. Then, I eventually got an f2.8 prime lens whose image quality is just on another level. However, I kept the zoom as it was lighter and easier to take around when birding wasn't the prime motive for being out, but I wanted something just in case ... but you sort of get spoiled by having the big prime lens! So, I finally decided to get rid of the zoom and got a tiny f4 prime instead. There's no way I will getting rid of the big one, but this is the new walkabout system.
You can see a 1.4x TC on there, which means it is a 420mm f5.6 at less than 2kg! Now, that should be handy when yomping over the moors or just wandering around the park!
Luckily, the first thing I saw was a pair of Stonechats. So just to test the lens, this is the uncropped shot of a fairly distant male.
And just to see what it's like, this has been cropped from that.
It's just one test, but that's pretty much the improvement I was looking for ... and lighter and easier on the hip too!
Non-photographers can join in again! Stonechats are always a photographer's friend because they will pose for you and in this case, the female was more obliging than the male.
They say that dragonflies are the most efficient hunters, with an 80+% hunt success. I think this Little Grebe was giving them a run for their money. It took a small fish almost every dive while I was watching. Of course, when it came over to say hello, it was already full so I didn't get a shot with fish!
I haven't seen a Willow Tit for months and not in this location before, but I found a couple today, which is good news. I didn't get to photograph them though. This is apparently Mistle Thrush field. A pair are nearly always in residence at the moment.
The stars of this park, for me, are the Kestrels though. Almost guaranteed to see them and quite often with good views. So, I wasn't too surprised to find Madam watching me.
Luckily, she decided I wasn't worth bothering about and gave me a lovely view of her technique
Before anyone asks, she is spoken for. I found her partner just around the corner, although he was a bit more circumspect and maintained his distance.
I think they must nest on the neighbouring modern warehouse estate but anyway, long may they reign over this park because I love watching them.
A good walk and I have to say my first impressions of the new toy are excellent. Excellent image quality for such a small, lightweight thing. I'll try it with the 1.7x TC next to give a 510mm f6.7. The 2x TC may be a step too far but I will try it sometime (luckily I have the full series of teleconverters anyway).
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
(Pardon the Scottish Accent)
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