Saturday, 8 October 2011

Chumphon Raptor Watch 2011

Black-capped Kingfisher

Great to be back in Chumphon and to catch up with Bob de Candido who is in his shelter high up in Khao Dinsor, ( Pencil Hill), counting the raptors on their annual southbound migration. As always it is an impressive sight as hundreds of these magnificent birds pass through, often kettling near the watch sight and often coming in very close to provide outstanding photo opportunitues. In fact I would suggest you head to Chumphon Raptor Center on Facebook where you can see the daily digest including some great raptor photography.

It was a quietish day with moderate numbers of Oriental Honey Buzzards, Chinese Sparrowhawks and Japanese Sparrowhawks passing through. I also had sight of a couple of Pied Harriers and an Eastern Marsh Harrier. A small flock of about ten Oriental Pratincoles also passed through and according to Bob there were a fair number of Germaine Swifts. I observed them but I am not going to claim it as I wouldn't have the faintest idea of what it might be if it was perched in front of my front door tomorrow morning. However the weather was poor today and I think this effectively halted movement. That said I did see several sizeable kettles of the three main species.

I didn't manage any shots on Khao Dinsor. I am using my old Nikon P5100, a bit battered and bruised, but a perfectly decent back up. Unfortunately I had the wrong adaptor so I could not attach the camera to my scope. I see little point in trying to shoot distant birds as there is little prospect of getting a decent image. I think this would have applied today even if I had the P6000. If I had the correct adaptor then I might have been able to get some shots of close-up birds but nothing was really coming within that range.

I did manage these shots of a Black-capped Kingfisher which perched up very obligingly for me as I headed along the coast road to Khao Dinsor in the morning. This was a surprise as these birds are usually very skittish and don't welcome proximity to humans. What's more of a surprise is these shots are taken with the camera handheld to the telescope lens and as such I mustn't grumble.

As a further irritation, following Wednesday's disaster, the device I use to position the cable release over the shutter release button broke in two for no apparent reason this afternoon!

I wonder what these shots might have looked like with the P6000 ! Anyhow I am researching a replacement camera and I rather fancy it might be the Panasonic GF - 3 with the 14 - 42 mm lens. The lens has a 52 mm thread so this should  connect easily to existing adaptors. The camera also has the benefit of HD video. I am also interested in the Sony NEX-5 camera. I am not going to rush into a replacement. In fact I'm going to try to get my P6000 repaired and for the moment I'll stick to using the P5100.

So life goes on! Great to be back in Chumphon though we were monstrously overcharged for our dinner this evening....... we'll get over it, I hope!

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