Dave Williams

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Everything posted by Dave Williams

  1. As a wannabe wildlife photographer there are so many places and events across the world that I would love to witness and photograph. Some I might be lucky enough to witness one day, others I will just have to admire from other people's experiences. My list would include East Africa's great migration, bears catching salmon in N America, Great White Sharks in South Africa, Orca's chasing seals off the west coast of America, the march of the Penguins in Antartica and those are just the one's that immediately spring to mind. Hopefully someone can post a brief account of and some photos to demonstrate their own ambitions fulfilled. Here in the UK we are limited to a large extent but we can suggest one or two. Starling murmurations before the nightly roost on a cold winter's night are indeed incredible spectacles that let the mind run riot with the images presented. Starling murmuration Conwy RSPB by Dave Williams, on Flickr Starling murmuration Conwy RSPB by Dave Williams, on Flickr Starling murmuration Conwy RSPB by Dave Williams, on Flickr Starling murmuration Conwy RSPB by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  2. Encouraged by one or two I thought I'd start this thread to share not only a bird of outstanding beauty in the eyes of the beholder but to share the experience of seeing it too. I thought I'd start with this one :- Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria) When I first started birding a friend told me his ambition was to photograph a Wallcreeper and described this stunning little bird. On a visit to the South of France I looked but failed and it was 8 years later before I got my chance when on a trip to Bulgaria. I was so impressed the friend I was with and I returned a year later having made a special journey back to the site we had been to. To set the scene. Wallcreeper site by Dave Williams, on Flickr A roadside lay-by just before entering a tunnel. Down on the gorge below a river can be heard but other than the occasional passing car there is silence. Suddenly we hear the bird, the weirdest and eeriest sound from a bird I have ever heard, indescribable really and nothing at all like the one suggested in the bird guide book. A mournful but stunningly beautiful sound though and one that echoes from the steep cliffs that surround us. Then we spot it, right there fluttering more like a butterfly than a bird as it crosses over the gorge and lands just feet in front of us. Wallcreeper Bulgaria by Dave Williams, on Flickr Not the most spectacular bird at first sight but then it opens it's wings and wow! Wallcreeper Bulgaria by Dave Williams, on Flickr It's probably not the most visually spectacular you'll see but it explodes in to colour in the drab surrounds it tends to inhabit. It's a huge photographic challenge too which adds to the satisfaction of seeing one.
  3. Rubbish !!!!!! A super series. Our Northern Gannets are fantastic fun photographing them diving for fish but you need to get away from the colonies otherwise there are just too many birds in the frame and they get in each others way
  4. @offshorebirder & @Tdgraves Not wishing to interrupt the flow of your BY, but a couple of things that might help. If you are using the 1.4TC it's presumably to get more reach so put the focus limiter on to 3m - infinity... just remember to switch it back if something appears really close. I took mine out this evening and I had no problem locking on to BIF ( providing they were gull sized ) using just a fine single focus point in the middle of the viewfinder. What might have helped me was that I was using a 1D and the bigger battery probably drives the focus a bit quicker because I found it to be very quick indeed. I have just tried it on my 7D2 but only at stationary targets in the garden and it's a bit slower but not by much. As far as weight is concerned despite my advancing years I don't consider the latter combination to weigh very much at all but I am used to a much heavier set up too.
  5. Wow, you surprise me! You are certainly throwing yourself in to this hobby with some gusto!!
  6. Wow, some food for thought there @Atravelynn There is absolutely NO WAY I'd get Claire within miles of those snakes and to be honest, wouldn't be too keen myself!!! Polar Bear yes, Galanas yes , Peru very much a place I'd love to visit but out of those submissions perhaps the Bats are the most spectacular?
  7. @Galana With those wings it's 99% Peregrine to me. I see them over our house at similar height and that shot is exactly what I see!
  8. Not too sure about the Mountain Wheatear but it's such a perfect shot of the female of the species I'll have go along with it
  9. @TonyQSome cracking photos again , and yes the Corncrake is something else! The big surprise was seeing that Gannet is a new bird to you, just shows that birds you take for granted locally are common but of course it helps if you live by the coast too!
  10. You are fair motoring in your additions! Mystery bird isn't a Black-headed Gull by chance, it looks pretty heavily built I'd go for Peregrine.
  11. I'm down in Cambridge for a couple of days in a week or two. Hope to add a couple of sightings we don't see often in North Wales. I need to revitalise my BY list!
  12. @pomkiwi Nice additions. Of the three I think I'd like to swim with Manta rays most of all. Catching the Mara crossing must be very challenging from a photographic point of view , your last shot really gives a sense of chaos and desperation to reach the other side. As for the Sperm Whale, I love cetaceans, but I have to admit that when in Sri Lanka I got to see the biggest whale of them all, the Blue Whale, it was a bit anticlimactic purely as it is so big! It won't leap out of the water like a Humpback might and it's so long that it's too small in the frame or if you zoom in you can't fit it all in and it barely breaks the surface, well at least relative to it's overall size anyway. Blue Whale Sri Lanka by Dave Williams, on Flickr However, like your Sperm Whale, it flicks it's tail as it dives down in to the deep revealing the Whalesucker fish that cling to it . Blue Whale Sri Lanka by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  13. A disappointing response so far, maybe we are not so well travelled as a group as I imagined although someone must have witnessed and photographed the Great Migration surely? @Atravelynn I think sharing an experience with the Gallanas of Ethiopia certainly qualifies as special enough and one I wasn't even aware of until I read your report.
  14. @Geoff Great selection of Albatrosses, one day I might be lucky enough to see just one! In the meantime I'm sat up in bed with a cup of coffee and my laptop instead of being 2 hours into a pelagic which was cancelled due to the sea conditions . It's a grey windy day here in North Wales today.
  15. @Atravelynn I have the best, most understanding wife a man could ask for... and I'm not exaggerating!! In the last 12 months I have had 10 days in The Gambia, 8 days in Scotland and 14 days in Spain, all without her and travelling instead with birding pals. 14 days is pushing the limit and my next trip without her planned for May next year has been set by me, and my friend was of the same mind, at 10 days. I don't think Ethiopia, certainly not covering anything like the distances you did ,is viable in 10 days. As an aside, I wouldn't set a foot outside without her if it did anything to damage our relationship either! Consequently I'm always looking for the best places to suit both our needs and lap up trip reports in the hope I find them!! I would rule out Ethiopia despite it's superb wildlife because of 1) the driving distances and 2) the standard and type of accommodation which is grand enough but lacks swimming pools and sunbeds where I can abandon her to a good book when she gets fed up of watching me take photos.
  16. Over a year the Lightroom standalone package is still cheaper than using the monthly subscription, at least in the UK anyway and it's yours for life. As long as you are prepared to wait a short while to covert your pics to DNG "the job's a good 'un" as they say !
  17. Must admit when I had the package I went no further than Lightroom for 99.9% of the time.
  18. I obviously wasn't getting my money's worth on my subscription hence I cancelled and went back to CS6, At the end of the day I tend only to do a few simple changes in post processing which is mainly about tweaking exposure and sharpness plus cropping to suit. You can do that for a lot less than the monthly subscription to Lightroom, however, use it to the full potential and I'm sure it's good value for money.
  19. Is it updated to take the latest camera models though Tony? However, thanks to this forum I have found out how to easily convert them in to DNG files ( from Canon RAW) and then it probably wouldn't be a problem. Canon actually provide a free programme with their DSLR cameras which is very comprehensive although too complex for me!!
  20. Here's one foreign to the UK, Loten's Sunbird.Cinnyris loteniu found only in India and Sri Lanka, this one was actually taken in the latter. The male in display mode showing bright yellow wing patches which are normally hidden and certainly caught my attention if not the females!! Loten's Sunbird Sri Lanka 2015-11-20 by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  21. We didn't stall... we were busy! Besides, no time limit on the thread. The Tanager is a cracking looking bird and I'm sure you have a lot more to show us too. Here is another of the UK's best lookers. The Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica. Everyone loves a Puffin, some nationalities even love them to eat too which I wouldn't do . Puffin by Dave Williams, on Flickr Not the most colourful but ever so cute Puffin Isle of May,Scotland 2016 by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  22. Wow, what an epic report. It's taken me a few hours to read and digest, must have taken days in the preparation. Thanks for sharing so much detailed information. I don't see myself being able to persuade my other half that this is the trip for her so it's all the better that at least I have had the opportunity to live the experience through your report. The birding opportunities are amazing and the mammals pretty damn good too.
  23. That what's it's all about!
  24. B••••• messed that up too!
  25. I never feel shame about getting an ID wrong which is just as well with my limited knowledge, I don't claim to be anything of an expert however I do shout "Foul" on this one. My first thoughts were exactly Black-headed Gull but you had ruled that out by saying it was a wader. In to the sin bin with you and don't reappear until you have another entry to add to your Big Year

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