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FAQ's Frequently Asked Questions

We are in the process of completing this section based on some of the more frequent enquiries we receive on all aspects of birds and birdwatching.

What is Digiscoping?
Digiscoping setupNot a medical technique but a form of bird photography that involves attaching a suitable digital camera to a spotting scope to obtain extreme close-up images of the subject. The pocket-sized digital camera is often attached to the scope via a tube type adapter, this slides over the eyepiece at one end and has a thread at the other end to screw onto the camera's lens. Locking screws can be tightened so that the who ensemble is fixed solid to the eyepiece allowing the scope + camera to be panned and tilted upon the tripod. The scope is then focused via the camera's monitor and the shot can be taken.

Female Blackcap by Andy BrightThe cameras involved are almost exclusively from the Nikon coolpix range but many brands of spotting scope are suitable for use with the method. The compact size of these cameras combined with the fact that many birders are happy to carry a scope/tripod around with them in the course of their hobby means that it is an attractive method for all those who wish to have a permanent record of their sighting. The results can be spectacular and printed to almost film quality at sizes of up to 10x8 inches and even far larger sizes for wall hung use where very close inspection is unlikely, alternatively the images can be viewed on your computer monitor or used upon the internet.

Written by Andy Bright of the Digiscoped U.K. Birds Website
http://www.digiscoped.com

See also our feature article, Digiscoping - The Basics.

 

Have I seen a Humming Bird?
Well, the short answer is no - they are only found in North, Central and South America. What you have probably seen is something that looks and acts rather like one - a Humming Bird Hawk Moth. Found mainly in southern Europe, a small number appear in Britain, often feeding on garden flowers. The pictures below were taken by one of our readers, K Cully and show how much like a humming bird these day flying moths can look as they hover and fly backwards and forwards feeding on nectar.

 

What is this bird?
We receive many emails asking about an unusual bird that has been seen, and two species crop up more than most - Green Woodpecker and Jay.

Green Woodpecker
Often described as having a green or yellow body with mention of red on the head - this can only be this species. Many describe them as digging about on their lawn - not where you may expect to see a woodpecker! Ants are the reason you so often find Green Woodpeckers on lawns - they are a favourite food that their long, sticky tongues are ideal for collecting.

Jay
Pink, blue or black and white - Jays are described as all these colours. Mainly a bird of woodlands, especially associated with oaks, they are often seen in gardens, especially where they are close to small woods and hedgerows. The pinkish body plumage varies depending on light conditions, and can look duller than illustrated. The two best identification points are the striking white rump and characteristically hesitant, undulating flight.