The good news is I have my camera back. The bad news is that the fault hasn’t been fixed, in part because it didn’t go wrong all the time it was with the camera guy so all he could do was clean up the contacts. Anyway hopeful that it had been fixed and determined to try it out I started at Reculver trying to photograph the sand martins. The martins are still there but most of the juveniles seem to be flying or about to so this years photographic season may end soon.
The light was not brilliant as it started clouding over as I arrived but it was just about good enough for shots of birds at the holes (1/400th at ISO 400).
As for in-flight shots........no chance.
The camera worked fine for about 30 minutes then started locking into manual focus again. I can (at the moment) re-establish autofocus by taking the battery out (switching it off then back on doesn't work) or taking the lens off, so it's annoying rather than a disaster. Now I've got to decide whether to send it back to Sony.
After Reculver I went to Stodmarsh to meet up with Steve and return his camera bags. Whilst there I only visited the reed bed hide seeing reed and sedge warbler, reed bunting, marsh harrier, little egret, gt crested grebe, common tern (miles away), swift (miles up) and a grey heron dropped in for a few minuites.
Most of the time was spent trying to photograph the egret fishing hoping to capture the beak entering the water. This meant trying to anticipate when it was going to strike or trying to react to the strike. I thought I had cracked it with this shot:
However after studying this and some of the other pictures obtained this shot is actually of the beak coming out of the water – you can see where the beak has been from the ripples - just to the right of the beak.
This shot again is of the beak coming out of the water – the water disturbance and the direction of the head plumes showing the head is moving backwards.
From the pictures I managed what happens is that during the strike the beak normally enters the water with the neck fully stretched (so the egret doesn’t have to get too close to the prey). This neck extension is exceedingly fast (I suppose it has to be to be successful) and certainly I never managed to catch it though I have a few with the neck fully extended.
This is a sequence of 3 successive shots (shooting on continuous) so with my camera that’s one shot every 0.2 sec.
I don’t think this study will rock the ornithological world but it kept us amused for an hour or so.