Birdlife at Cheriton Mill
Over the last few days at my office, on the edge of Cheriton village, we have had some really good wildlife sightings. Two of the mammal highlights being Red Fox and Weasel. We have also had plenty of birdlife on offer too, a Peregrine Falcon, a Treecreeper, a couple of Nuthatch, a Marsh Tit and a host of other common garden birds as well as the usual wetland birds such as Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mallard Duck & Kingfisher.
There are quite a few Little Egret feeding along the River Itchen at the moment and one individual appears at the same spot everyday. In the early weeks of February we had some particularly cold weather with some severe frosts - this image was taken on one of those bitterly cold mornings. The Egret flew off up the river as I approached, with little cover I was never going to get very close, but I managed to get a few shots off before the bird disappeared behind some distant reeds.
The Treecreeper is often seen around our office garden and it seems to have taken a liking to our mossy wall, lining the mill stream. Yesterday it was back and was busy feeding as it clung to the moss clad wall, so I took the opportunity to get a few images.
This male Mallard has been repeatedly seen around the mill over the last couple of weeks, spending much of his time with a female. The two of them have been feeding in the mill stream as well as scavenging on the dropped garden bird food. Today he hopped up onto the wall with his lady friend and posed for a few minutes whilst I took some shots.
A Weasel in the Reeds
As many of you will know, I work for Naturetrek Wildlife Holidays and we have a lovely setting for our office. We use the beautiful old mill on the edge of Cheriton village, with the River Itchen running around and through the mill. It is not surprising then that we have lots of wildlife around the office's gardens.
Today I was particularly lucky to photograph a Weasel, which seemed to be following a tiny Wren through the reeds on the river's edge. It hadn't noticed me at first but then it sprinted away and stood up about 30 feet away, allowing me to get the shots. A good christening for my repaired 7D.
Canon 400D & a 50D with the Canon EF 300mm f2.8 L IS II USM Lens (7D in for repair)
As promised here is one of the shots taken with my old Canon 400D and the 300 f/2.8. The combination of the two looks absolutely hysterical and entirely useless. Unless you are sat in your hide with the lens mounted on a sturdy tripod that is. The minute my 7D gets back from its repair I can guarantee, I will be out there making the most of it. I also borrowed a friend's 50D to see how that performed on the lens, it was obviously a great improvement over the 400D, the Herring Gull below was taken with this combination.
A couple of weeks ago I made the hard decision to send my Canon 7D in for repair as it had reached the point where it was no longer usable. Over the past 6 months the 19 point AF system has been under-performing and it had reached the point where half of the individaul focus points had stopped working all together.
With my old 100-400mm IS lens I noticed a lot of out of focus shots but then when I got my 300 f/2.8 IS mkII, I realised it had to be a camera issue. It was only getting maybe one in three shots in focus in great light without any movement.
It is costing around the £200 mark to get this repaired and I have never dropped the camera, it has probably had some small knocks but nothing to cause such a severe failure. I know there is a lot of people out their who get frustrated with their 7Ds and I am now among you. In the mean time going back to a 400d is hilarious especially attaching it to a 300mm f/2.8.
I shall be posting some recent shots taken of a Bullfinch with this configuration, better than I expected if I am honest.
If anyone else has trouble with the 7D's focusing, please do get in touch with me.
I thought I would share one of the camera's better images, taken with my 17-40mm lens in India.