Peregrine Falcon ~ Undisclosed site - 07.04.13

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

 The only thing so far to get the blood pumping was running after a fox that some how was dragging a fence post along !!!

Full Fox story is at the end           

 Enthusiasm levels were needing a boost with little in the way of action so far this weekend, it seemed a good plan to try out the Falcon's again ..

Peregrines are Schedule 1 species covered by The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981
** see note below **

We watched them always at distance, way out of camera range even super crops wouldn't of worked !!
After over 2hrs with only fly-by's, it was going to be a failed outing for images.
Whilst waiting I was joined by Anna from Kansas and chatting asked what I was photographing, as if by magic the male flew closer in !!
She carried on her walk, and then I had some sort of Telepathic connection with Jono, changing camera settings.
** More about this below **

Another hour gone, and we hadn't moved from the same spot, still only distant views with prey mainly Starlings, flown in, not caught in view of us now there's an image !!
Then the female started calling she had come in un-noticed about 100m's away and was quickly joined by the male we were watching.
They then Mated and pleased with himself put on a celebratory display, at times to close to fit in the frame !!
This lasted or seemed to last for ages and as the male had only Me & Richard, to show off to, it did just that.
Gaining height then diving, twisting and a couple of stoops it was fantastic.
It perched up a few times in between this crazy display that seemed just for us.

"Unbelievable" as Hans says !!

So here we go ... eye contact

Peregrine Falcon

The only Female image 

Male with Common Snipe ?


** Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 **
Schedule 1 Birds & the Law

To make sure we were covered for Photography of Peregrine Falcon at this un-disclosed site, during the breeding season.

Contacted Natural England to make sure were covered !!

And we are ..

" The Fox & Fence Post "

Yesterday, Saturday morning we tried Shellness for more Wader images on the early High Tide we failed as the light was all wrong. Walking back to the car along the beach I could see a fox in the distance with some strange behaviour !!
It kept running a short distance & stopping turning round, repeatedly ... Huh !! it was dragging a lump of wood along the beach and not a small bit, it was 6' foot long !!
Firstly I thought that it was playing with it, maybe some fox type workout to impress the lady foxes but decided that surely it must have somehow got rope tangled round its leg !!
Not prepared to leave it, I waited for Richard, we put the camera's away and set off after the fox. There's a saying " You can't out wit a Fox " cleverly we thought we'd cut it off by going across the Nudist beach, depending on which way you look at it luckily there was no-one. Thinking we'd come out roughly where the fox was, but by now it was another 100m's down the beach and still going knowing we were near it ...
I'm now running after it, forcing it nearer to the sea and with a high beach retaining defence approaching was about to corner it ... The fox jumped it easily but the post snagged and now close grabbed for the post. 
What was joining the fox to the post was cable, it went under, in-between its back legs and seemed to vanish, so holding the cable pulling the fox closer which is now snarling and going for me, letting go again it looped around the groyne trying to go back off down the beach only snagging even further.
So off came the coat and I made a grab for the fox, once the fox was restrained and in the darkness of the coat it carmed down.
Richard moved in to untangle it, " It's a Snare "
We swapped holds and set about the snare which was tight around the fox's waist, it hadn't done to much damage, a bit of blood but not broken the skin.
Once free of the snare and let loose it was off down the beach like a rocket !!

A Snare is a crude way of trapping and killing, unfortunately in a slow and painful way .. A loop like lasso of cable is used, the more the animal pulls the tighter the loop gets, So round the neck the animal strangles itself  but anywhere else and its even a slower death..

Fox's, Rabbit etc have regular paths which they take the snare is staked out across the path.

So one very lucky fox !!


** Camera Settings **

Those who have to listen to my continual moaning about sharpness, over-cropping and image stabilisation know how I just keep going on about In-Flight image keeper rate, sharpness etc ...
So with all others settings tried and tested I looked in to ...

AI SERVO - Tracking Sensitivity 

You can set this from 'standard' to 'fast' and a few intermediate ones between.
0 ~ Standard
1 ~ Slow
2 ~ Moderately slow
3 ~ Moderately fast
4 ~ Fast

This doesn't directly effect sharpness etc

I've had it on 'Standard' continually.

Most or nearly all suggest setting this to 'Standard' or 'Slow' reason being that when tracking a bird in-flight and it fly's behind a telegraph pole or tree the tracking doesn't lose focus, it holds focus so you can keep tracking through !!

But ... what if your tracking a bird and when you first  press to focus you are on the tail, you keep tracking not loosing focus because the camera is set it doesn't adjust.
Once you have focus, slow to lose it and slow to regain it also .. slow to adjust !!

So it was set to ... Fast

But ... what if your tracking a bird and when you first press to focus you are on the tail, you keep tracking not loosing focus but because its now on 'Fast' the camera is re-adjusting to refocus ..
Once you have focus, fast to lose it and fast to 
regain it also .. fast to adjust !!

Makes sense to me !!

This doesn't directly effect sharpness etc as I've said but in a way it adjusts quicker so when you do press the shutter your focused where you expect it to be ..

So more accurately focus images, means sharper and better keeper rate.

Now that's a mega blog !!   


Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Wowwww!!!.. This is wonderful .. Perfect .. Congratulations..

Shaun harvey said...

Great set of images Mick!

Steve Ashton Wildlife Photography said...

Cracking Falcon shots Mick, well worth the visits I would say.

Ben Porter said...

Wow! Awesome images of the Peregrines Mick!! Really enjoyed reading this blog- thanks for posting!

Tim Gutsell said...

Excellent read and shots Mick.

Brian said...

Just stunning Mick, well done

Mike said...