Some thoughts about the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV camera for bird photography

I’ve been using the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 mark IV bridge camera for 4 months now and the more I use, the more I love this powerful camera in a compact house. Key features of the fourth generation RX10 are the 20.1-megapixel ‘one-inch‘ sensor, the super sharp 24-600mm (35mm equivalent) Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f2.4-4.0 zoom lens, 315 point phase-detection autofocus system for amazing movement tracking and 4K video capabilities. All these features are perfect for bird and wildlife photographers but utilising the exceptional lens sharpness, it has also been used for portrait photography by many.

The RX10 IV is my everyday camera for documenting birding for good reasons. I love its capability to track flying birds with the support of the very same processor used in the Sony a9 camera. I had a pretty gloomy and misty morning in the Peak District National Park a few weeks back, where I photographed territorial Eurasian Curlews. The tracking was amazingly accurate and I only lost the birds when I couldn’t manage proper panning. The result was a set of pleasingly sharp photos even at higher ISO. Tracking was tested on more distant subjects as well. The camera found displaying Common Snipes and Eurasian Skylarks high in the sky without any problem.

EurasianCurlew_PeakDistrictNP_June2018_0001_2732px Territorial Eurasian Curlew in the Peak District National Park flying into the mist. The camera managed to keep the focus on the bird perfectly. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

I use the camera in manual mode and shooting uncompressed RAW for higher editing flexibility. With the maximum resolution, the file size is 5472 x 3648 pixels what can give me a lot of cropping flexibility if it’s needed. This way the 600mm focal length can easily be doubled while still leaving a lot of megapixels for the final image. Just for the record, the resolution of my long-serving Canon EOS-1D Mark II N camera was just 8.2 megapixels and still created superb photos. Cropping half the RX10 IV files will preserve more megapixels than my Canon was in full resolution 13 years ago.

EurasianJackdaw_England_June2018_0001_2732px Out the camera, this Western Jackdaw photo was pretty sharp and only slight Lightroom adjustments had to be made. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy SzimulyEuropeanHerringGull_Dorset_0002_2732px A taking off European Herring Gull with a distracting background. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy SzimulyGadwall_England_May2018_0001_2732px A drake Gadwall with a busy background and a beautifully sharp duck. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy SzimulyMeadowPipit_PeakDistrictNP_June2018_0001_2732px I shot this calling Meadow Pipit from my car from a relatively close distance. The shallow depth of field (f/4.0) and the distant background created some very nice bokeh. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy SzimulyEuropeanHerringGull_Dorset_0001_2732px European Herring Gull against a dark background. Some chromatic aberration is visible but it could have been fixed in Lightroom. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy SzimulyCommonBlackbird_England_April2018_0001_2732px Food collecting male Common Blackbird in the local park. Despite distracting foreground elements, the camera tracked the moving bird. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

While the camera is capable to shoot at an astounding 24 fps rate, this feature is still to be tested.

The Sony RX10 IV sells for £1,799 in the UK (Wex Photo Video) and $1,698 in the United States (B&H Foto). It’s not the cheapest camera on the market but certainly the most powerful compact of all with professional attributes. Images out from this camera might not appear on the pages of National Geographic but in ideal shooting conditions, it is more than capable to deliver outstanding results. For general web purposes, it’s a simply perfect solution. I highly recommend this camera for every birdwatcher.

More detailed specifications can be found at Sony’s related page.

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Curlew land

After a brief sleep in the car, I drove to the Ford car park and back again to the Upper Burbage Bridge at 3AM looking for night birds. Luckily I saw a Tawny Owl sitting on the drystone wall along the road but didn’t allow me to take any photos. Two Short-eared Owls and Little Owl with singing Ring Ouzels in twilight were the highlights of the dark.

The morning was very misty on the plateau of but it was still very enjoyable to walk. I took a 5.6 km trek from the eastern part of Stanage Edge to the White Path Moss. Apart from some sleeping climbers on the cliffs, I didn’t see a single human what was more than delightful for me.

Territorial Eurasian Curlew near its breeding site. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

On the plateau, I found a family of Red Grouse with eight chicks. The female was very defensive came out to the trail and literally touched my legs. Curlew songs in the dense mist were beautifully haunting and I just wanted to sit and listen to it all day.

This male Ring Ouzel almost lost in the mist. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Eurasian Curlews were breeding along the public trails and they escorted me until I left the area. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

The United Kingdom has lost almost 50% of the breeding population of Eurasian Curlews and this trend is continuing unless further conservation efforts take place. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Main British bird conservation organisations unite to reverse the negative trend of breeding populations of Eurasian Curlew. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

A classic picture of an upland grassland with curlews and sheep. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Roadside breeding pair of Eurasian Curlew. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Eurasian Curlew in its nesting environment. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Patroling curlew over the breeding territory. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

A recent study linked the increased predation, among other factors, to the decline in breeding numbers of curlews. I observed Carrion Crows chased away from the nesting territory. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Guarding adult Eurasian Curlew at the nesting area. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Meadow Pipit is the most abundant breeding bird of the moorland. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

I took this shot from the car as it was calling on this gate. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

The Sony Cybershot RX10 IV camera performed really well and I just can’t recommend it enough for documentary bird photography. Pictured a Meadow Pipit. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Another Meadow Pipit landed next to me. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Livestock and upland waders have a nice symbiosis. In this field, a pair of Eurasian Curlew and at least one family of Northern Lapwing, with 4 chicks, was seen. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Upland nesting habitat of Common Snipe. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Beautiful colour of the moorland with Welsh Mountain Sheep, I believe. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

eBird checklist from the morning trek:

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 2
Willow Ptarmigan (Red Grouse) (Lagopus lagopus scotica) 22
European Golden-Plover (Pluvialis apricaria) 1
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) 7 (3 ad + 4 pullus)
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 16
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) 7
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) 1
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 3
Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) 3
Eurasian Wren (British) (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus) 1
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) 2
Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) 2
Dunnock (Prunella modularis) 1
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 3
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) 31
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) 2
Eurasian Linnet (Linaria cannabina) 2

After leaving this area I visited another moorland targeting to see a White-throated Dipper which was reported on several eBird checklists in the past. I followed the trails of Shelf Brook east to Old Glossop up to the Mossy Lea Farm bridge. At the bridge, I managed to find an adult with a juvenile White-throated Dipper searching for food in the brook.

This white-throated Dipper fed a fledged young at this section of the brook. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

It is not the best dipper photo of the world as I could not come closer due to access restrictions. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Recently fledged White.throated Dipper in its habitat. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

White-throated Dipper gularis subspecies, restricted to Scotland (except w Scotland), Wales and England. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

It ‘s been the first time I saw a dipper in England since I’ve moved to the country. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Feeding Common Wood Pigeon in the meadow. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

eBird checklist from the 3.6km long trek:

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 3
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) 6
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) 2
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 2
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) 1
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 19
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) 2
Common Swift (Apus apus) 15
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) 1
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)  1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 2
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) 189
Rook (Corvus frugilegus) 29
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 2
Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) 1
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) 7
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 1
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) 5
Eurasian Wren (British) (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus) 2
White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) 2
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) 3
Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) 2
Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) 4
Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) 2
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) 1
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) 2
Dunnock (Prunella modularis) 1
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 1
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) 2
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) 6
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) 4

An overnight in the Peak District National Park

This time I travelled up north to the Lake District National Park what is another never visited region of England for me. Prior to the Saturday afternoon photo shoots in New Brighton, I spent the overnight in the moorlands near the picturesque Hathersage village, fought with the annoying midges(?), slept a few a hours in the car, but it was worth. The scenery and birdlife are just spectacular and the lack of anthropogenic noises made this stay really memorable. Despite choosing a wrong walking shoe, and the massive blister on my toe, I trekked about 11 miles combined.

First I trekked from the Ford car park to the High Neb then at the western side of Stanage Edge I walked back to the car. The tranquillity of the moors with the song of Eurasian Curlews was just something I have always been long for. I wasn’t prepared to write a novel here so again let the photos tell the story.

A view to the Hig Neb moors from the car park with a small patch of woods which was surprisingly bird rich. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Close up photo of a resident breeder Mistle Thrush. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Mistle Thrush in its breeding territory near the car park. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

European Siskin was displaying and and feeding in the woods next the to car park. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

The plateau of High Neb in glorious sunset. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Meadow Pipits, Red Grouses and high-flying and drumming Common Snipes were the most frequent birds on the summit. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

A small shed with beautiful cottongrass field. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Black-faced Sheep is part of the moorland. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

A view to the western slopes of Stanage Edge. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Black-faced Sheep in the cottongrass field. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Cottongrass gives a special tone to the moors. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

To my biggest surprise a stunning Eurasian Woodcock was sitting on the drystone wall in the middle of the might. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

eBird checklist from the area:

Willow Ptarmigan (Red Grouse) (Lagopus lagopus scotica) 11
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) 1
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 7
Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) 4
Common Swift (Apus apus) 1
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) 2
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 2
Coal Tit (British) (Periparus ater britannicus) 1
Eurasian Wren (British) (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus) 1
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) 6
Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) 2
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) 1
Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) 1
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) 1
Dunnock (Prunella modularis) 1
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) 14
Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) 1
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) 3
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) 3
Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus)  2

Birding from Nottingham to Norfolk and a bit of camera testing

Early morning we drove to the Holme Pierpoint National Watersports Centre near Colwick for finding a long staying first winter Spotted Sandpiper. It too a while figuring out where the bird was located but after all we found it at the White Water Rapids. It was a very confiding bird and often walked toward us when we sat down at the edge of the rapids. It was actively feeling and flew only short distances. On the way back to the carpark we enjoyed very close views of a adult female Long-tailed Duck.

Most of the time it was foraging but later it regurgitated this larvae. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The Rapids became very busy upon our arrival. iPhone 7 Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

My previous encounter of the Spotted Sandpiper in England wasn’t as detailed and satisfactory as this one. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

All characteristics are nicely visible on this photo including the short tail, pinkish bill and finely marked coverts. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

This bird wasn’t shy at all and came towards us as close as 5 meters. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It was very easy to spend one and a half hours with this bird. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Despite the Regatta Lake became very busy at the start line, this Long-tailed Duck preferred swimming in front of the tower. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It often let kayakers as close as two meters. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It was a rare opportunity to study this first winter drake Long-tailed Duck through the Viking ED 80 Spotting Scope. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It was a nice photographic experience with the Sony RX10 IV bridge camera and while the results are still not DSLR-like it is easily the best bridge camera on the market at the moment. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The long-tailed Ducks is one of the most beautiful sea ducks brings me memories about finding it at the Danube River where I was raised. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I hoped to spend less time at the watersports centre to have more time in Norfolk where we aimed more life birds for Dani. The Saturday midday traffic didn’t really help but eventually we got to the Holme Dunes Nature Reserve where a Short-eared Owl had been reported. That would have been new to Dani but sadly we couldn’t relocate the bird. To be fair the dunes and the coastal areas were very busy but it was a surprise to find two Snow Buntings at the beach.

View from the top of the dunes. iPhone 7 Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

Eurasian Wigeons, Eurasian Green-winged Teals and Northern Shovelers were feeding on the brackish pools. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Adult male Snow Bunting turning into breeding plumage. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The adult was accompanied by a first winter bird. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Dani missed the Short-eared Owl but was happy about the lifer Snow Bunting. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Two Brant Geese were feeding around but the walkers flushed them. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

They soon returned to the same place for feeding. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Another good opportunity to test the Sony RX10 IV bridge camera. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

This Brant Goose couple moved together all the time. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Another shot of this elegant goose. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Dani’s next target was to see his first Pink-footed Goose and for this we visited the place where I was guided by my dear Facebook friend, Andrew Goodall. The Holkham National Nature Reserve supposed to be a good spot for wintering Pink-footed Geese and the place didn’t disappoint at all. As the weather was nice this popular reserve with the giant sandy dunes was very crowded, but out of the car we immediately found a larger mixed Pink-footed Goose and Brant Goose flock, much for Dani’s happiness. There was a nice bird activity with the first Ruff of the season. Watching Northern Lapwing flocks felt like spring.

Common Snipes were feeding just next to the car park. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Pink-footed Geese were coming to feed on the fields. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Acceptable photo taken by the Sony RX10 IV of the Pink-footed Goose flock. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

We probably caught a good weekend to see Pink-footed Geese as their numbers will soon drop. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Pink-footed Geese and Brant Geese landed on this field upon our arrival. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Eurasian Wigeons were feeding just meters away from the car park. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Another test shot from the Sony RX10 IV camera of a perching Eurasian Jackdaw. That bokeh looks pretty nice considering this is a bridge camera. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Eurasian Jackdaws are pretty underrated birds. I love them. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Rubbish photo of an overflying Red Kite. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

eBird list from the fields adjacent to the car park:

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) 600
Brant (Branta bernicla) 350
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) 3
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 1
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope) 700
Eurasian Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  5
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) 1
Red Kite (Milvus milvus) 1
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) 3
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 5
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) 2
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) 198
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 4
Ruff (Calidris pugnax) 1
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)  26
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) 16
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 34
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 3
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 285
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)  1
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) 6
Great Tit (Parus major) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) 1
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 13
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 1
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) 1

A plan of an easy evening walk at the Titchwell RSPB Reserve was quickly cancelled when we checked the BirdGuides app for local news and found a report of at least eight Lapland Longspurs east to Weybourne. Two other birdwatchers arrived to the same spot and they were happy when I found 5 Lapland Longspurs. They fed together with beautiful Yellowhammers and Eurasian Skylarks. I couldn’t take good photos of them as lights were already very poor. On the way back to the car 140 European Golden Plovers were flying over the neighbouring fields.

Record shot of one of the Lapland Longspurs. Sony RX10 IV. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Beautiful coastal area with the longspur location on the right. iPhone 7Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

This birding was supported by Viking Optical.

Seabirds of Handa Island – Part Two

Northern Fulmars were breeding in loose colonies on the cliffs. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

Northern Fulmars were breeding in loose colonies on the cliffs. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

The northwestern tip of the island, the first sport to see seabirds on nest, was a very noisy place with tens of thousands of seabirds, maily Alcids. Handa Island is the stronghold for the British population of Common Murre (Guillemots) with around 120,000 breeding pairs. The whole atmosphere was spectacular, the views on nearby seabirds through our mini Opticron scope was unbelievably intimate. There were as many seabirds on the sae as on the cliffs and skuas often patrolled over the water for some easy meal.

Following our way on the route we headed west and southwest of the island. We have passed the magnificent Great Stack sandstone pillar which alone holds more than 7,000 pars of Common Murre. We had very close views on Razorbills and Atlantic Puffins and Northern Fulmars touched our head while gliding over the cliffs. Rock Pipit songs and calls often broke the noise of the colonies and Northern Wheatears were active on the southern slopes in looking for food.

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Common Mutres roosting rocks. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Sea Thrift Was blooming everywhere on the island. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Spectacular lone seacliff is hosting hundreds of Common Murre. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Close encounters of overflying Great Skuas are not uncommon on Handa Island. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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The graceful Northern Fulmar became one of my favourite seabirds. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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The wind and precipitation eroded these sandstone cliffs which is perfect nesting place for Common Murres and Razorbills. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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I enjoyed the view of a close Atlantic Puffin and the open ocean. It was really relaxing. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Guillemots are able to occupy the smallest edge for laying eggs. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Hundreds of beautiful Razorbills were also nesting among Common Murres. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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The breeding success of everyone’s favourite and adorable seabird, the Atlantic Puffin might be lower this year as Brown Rats returned to the island. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Swimming and feeding Common Murres at sea. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Seabird-scape of Handa Island. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Nesting Northern Fulmar. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Northern Fulmar dispute over the nest burrow.. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Spectacular sea cliffs in the northwest part of the island. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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I believe this is a Heath Spotted Orchid. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Sweet warning to stay on the track. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Scenery from the top of the island. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Incredible vertical seawall holds tens of thousands of seabirds in Summer. iPhone 6s Plus

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What a privilege is finding this cooperative Atlantic Puffin and having a breakfast next to it. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Puffins can melt the hardest heart. Simply beautiful bird. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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An elegant Razorbill was guarding next to its nest. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Razorbills were very active and flew to and off the cliff very often. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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If I had a sharp prime lens… Anyway, these photos are decent results from this Sony camera. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Razorbills were like photo models. They never stood still. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Communicating Northern Fulmar. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Northern Fulmar in flight. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Close-up flight shot of a Northern Fulmar. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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My favourite Razorbill photo from the island. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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This is the Great Stack. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Patrolling Great Skua over the cliffs. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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This Razorbill was just three meters away from us. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Razorbill has an absolutely perfect plumage and it’s hard to believe it is actually a mass of feathers. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Atlantic Puffins are simply lovable creatures. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Razorbills have bright yellow mouth which is useful visual alarm in threat and also during display. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Another angle of the confiding Razorbill. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Incubating Northern Fulmar with its mate. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Singing Rock Pipit on a sea cliff. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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We found a couple of Rock Pipits on the island. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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It’s never enough to photograph Atlantic Puffins. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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It was a bit early in the season to see Atlantic Puffins full of fish in their beak. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Close view on Common Murres or Common Guillemots. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Wing flapping of an Atlantic Puffin. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Another seascape photo from the western side of Handa Island. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

At the southern end the habitat changed from rocky shores to sandy beaches and so its birdlife from seabird colonies to Arctic Tern colony and nesting Eurasian Oystercatchers and Common Ringed Plover.

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Sandy beach on the southern part of the island and the rocks with Arctic Terns. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Adult male Northern Wheatear on its perch. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Adult female Northern Wheatear was busy in collecting food. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Beautiful colours everywhere. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

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At the end of the 6km long trekking the Sun was about to shine again. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

The last ferry was leaving at 16:45 and we decided to have a proper dinner in the Shorehouse Restaurant before we left for RSPB Corrimony Reserve. We had a healthy salmon with a mix of vegetables. We still had plenty of daylight for the next few hours of journey enabling enjoyment of the drive in the usually stunning northwest Highland.

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On the way back to the Tarbet port in lovely sunshine. Sony Cyber-shot HX400V © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Nice salmon dish from the Shorehouse Restaurant. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

 

Brand new birding toy: Nikon CoolPix P900 megazoom


The Nikon CoolPix P900 has not only have a list of extraordinary features but is looking impressive. Image courtesy of Nikon Rumors

The mega zoom war has been up and running For a while and we, birdwatchers, are very happy about it. There are a couple of decent competitors in the market but the newly announced Nikon CoolPix P900 bridge camera is beating all of them in terms of focal length. It has a 83x optical zoom equivalent of 2,000mm focal length, but with the Dynamic Fine Zoom system it can be doubled to 4,000mm (166x zoom). If this is still not enough the digital zoom doubles the already extended focal length once again to an insane 8,000mm.

While no pictures are expected to appear on the covers of National Geographic taken by a P900, it could be a great gear supporting everyday birding or travels. On a £499/$599 price tag it is much affordable than any DSRL system. It doesn’t offer RAW editing yet JPEGs can still be widely used. It could be ideal for bloggers as files can easily be transferred to mobile devices via the built-in WiFi. A tripod is always useful for such a massive focal length, but the Dual Detect Optical VR system enables taking unblurred images while handholding. To mention one interesting area of use for birdwatchers and researchers is documenting leg flag or neck band codes on birds.

More info on Nikon’s website.

I’ll give it a go.











The ‘Like’ collectors who never like

It would have been better to attach one of my favourite bird photographer's image, but I wasn't sure if he/she would loved to see his/her image in this post. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It would have been better to attach one of my favourite bird photographer’s image, but I wasn’t sure if he/she would loved to see his/her image in this post. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Despite knowing that my post was provocative and only a part of my social connections will appreciate it, I wanted to hear others opinion about the above described ‘issue’. I joined Facebook a couple of years ago and apart of being addicted to it, I have been using it as it should be used. I am social… in two ways. I share, I chat and I like and I like being liked. I’ve followed many friends, cyber-friends, renowned bird and nature photographers showing my admiration for their work. I probably call myself a bird photographer as well so I started to share my images just like many other colleagues. Surprisingly, my shared images were liked by many, and I felt it a privilege being liked. Suddenly I was known by more and more people and they started to admire (I was told… haha) my work. I am still grateful for this as that is a real inspiration!

Big players in bird photography behave a bit differently. Apparently they spend time with social media as for most of them these sites are a free advertising platform to promote their workshops, websites, etc. They even share images what are fantastic. Without names I have to say, they are unique and eye-catching. We all love and like them. However, those photographers never take time to look their admirer’s shared photos and very rarely one can see a like of them. Not because the admirer’s photos are rubbish, but simply because they don’t care about others (if they are not their customers). They are so called celebrities (I hate this category) and to be honest, some of them are rather selfish. It is a personal experience, not a fiction. I know only one photographer (EJP) who I believe is different and I like it a lot. He is communicating and see his likes regularly.

I know that I am not alone with this opinion. In the long term this kind of attitude doesn’t pay off. Here is some of the many opinions from my thread.

– Facebook is most enjoyable and rewarding when there is a give and take with mutual likes, comments and respect. That is the way to develop an online community. I have recently started going through my “friends” “likes” and “follows” and am removing many of those who do not reciprocate, whether they are excellent photographers or not.

– I think it is an issue that resonates with many of us on Facebook. Some of the top photographers DO manage to be good Facebook friends, so where do some get off thinking that they never need to reciprocate? We all have the power to unfriend, unfollow or otherwise ignore anything or anyone we choose. It actually means quite a bit to me when a really excellent photographer that I admire likes or comments on my posts.

– I usually unfriend at some point…

– It is ignorance and high self esteem taken to extremes with many of these photographers… sad people really if you think about it.

– Good piont Gyorgy Szimuly, I thought the same about some photographer’s think I might just go and kick some off my friends list!!

– Take a look through various groups, the same photographers post consistently without bothering to ‘like’ other’s postings. Same with blog postings. I have already kicked a few off of my friend’s list. I think the point about liking others photos, blogs or posts is just an acknowledgement you appreciate and encourage their efforts…

– Great point Gyorgy. I know a few of those people. They suck. Fun for me is seeing everyone’s passion for birds and birds we don’t have in FL. Those people must think they are above the rest of us. I remove them from friends list.

I am sure if I would post this comment to other groups, the result would be quite the same. I would like to believe that this blog post reaches some of the famous bird photographers to give them a chance to react. In-blog comments are much appreciated. It is probably a topic they will hate me for, but I know many of them will understand what is behind of this frustration. Definitely not jealousy!

Thank you!

I am delighted by the huge number of birthday wishes I have received since woke up. Let me share this image of my favourites with you! I am blessed to have you!

Northern Gannet. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Northern Gannet. © Gyorgy Szimuly

 

Bearded Reedling. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Bearded Reedling. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Eurasian Oystercatcher. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Eurasian Oystercatcher. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Wood Sandpiper. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Wood Sandpiper. © Gyorgy Szimuly

 

I am not a contest guy but…

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Cancún, Yucatan, Mexico © Gyorgy Szimuly

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Cancún, Yucatan, Mexico © Gyorgy Szimuly

I have never ever entered any of my images to a photo contest but I have just added one of my images. The contest was announced by the Facebook Page of Carl Zeiss Birding US in celebration of the launch of the new Zeiss Terra ED line binoculars of the renowned brand. The prize is a new pair of the Zeiss TERRA ED binoculars in your choice of 8x or 10x.

Zeiss Terra ED 10x42 Binoculars

Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 Binoculars. Image curtesy of Carl Zeiss USA

I have submitted one image of a gorgeous Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture seen at the beach of Cancún, Yucatan, Mexico. It is a relative of Turkey Vulture with an impressive head colouration.

I need some dozen of votes to have chances to win this nice looking pair of binoculars. Hopefully my readers will be generous to give me a chance to win so here is the link for the contest voting page: https://toptabapp.com/e/1trj?p=p4 Registration is trustable.