Digiscoping Birds – Some Photographs

The weekend weather for the past few weeks has been cloudy and wet so there were not many opportunities for outdoor activities.

The rain on Saturday was very heavy but today it did become brighter around mid-day so I went to my local bird pond to catch up with the new feathered arrivals.

Many birds migrate from Scandinavia to the UK over the winter for the slightly longer days and milder weather.

I took my spotting scope and my SLR camera and tried to get some shots of the birds. Using a scope requires good light but I was hopeful the light was bright enough to get some decent photographs.

The first few photographs of the Robin were taken in my garden. Robins are great birds top photograph as they are not shy and are entertaining.

The other photographs were taken at my local bird pond. The water levels were quite high so there were no waders about as they prefer shallow waters. However, there were many Whooper Swans who had arrived for the winter from Scandinavia. Photographs of them can be seen below.

There were also a group of  Cormorants sitting on a platform on the water. One was stretching its wings so I took a few photographs of it. There were also some heron but they were quite far away. However, I did manage to get a photograph of one sitting high in a tree overlooking the River Clyde.

The photographs came out quite well. The main problem with digiscoping with an SLR camera is that the autofocus does not work on the camera so the focus has to be done manually. It is also useful to use a remote shutter control to minimize camera shake.

Hopefully, there will be sunnier days so that I can improve my digiscoping technique.

Autumn at Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell

With Autumn fast approaching, I went to Baron’s Haugh on Sunday to look for passing birds on the pond. Many birds stop over at Baron’s Haugh on their migratory journey from Iceland to the Sahara Desert to avoid the cold northern winter. They return in the Spring. The weather was very warm and sunny, in contrast to the previous week, when it had been very cold for September.

To get to Baron’s Haugh I have to walk about 3.5 miles carrying a spotting scope, tripod, binoculars, bird book and some food and drink, so it also is a good form of exercise for me. 

I left my house at 09.30 and arrived back at the house at 19.00 having walked around the area and the adjoining Dalzell Estate. In all I walked 13 miles.

Below are some photographs from the day.

Some Cormorants, young Mute swans an some Mallards
Black-headed gulls
Two Curlew
Eroded path on way to Carbarns
High walls on road to East side of the Haugh

The photograph above shows high wall on the road down to the East side of the Haugh. This was build by the Hamilton family, who owned Dalzell House and its grounds, to prevent their view from the house being spoiled by seeing workers walking to and from the mine which was situated nearby.


Autumn is a great time of year for seeing many different things.  

Photographs of Nesting Birds

Recently I visited some of the ponds near where I live to see how the nesting birds were getting along. Most of them were still sitting on nests incubating their eggs, although some Coots and Mute Swans had already hatched their eggs and were swimming in the water.

Mute swan Incubating the eggs

Royal Birds

With reports of Eastern Europeans killing and eating swans in the area, the local people are keeping an eye out for any unusual activity. I have also not given the location of the ponds to try and ensure the birds safety. 

The Queen has a prerogative over all swans in Great Britain. The Swan Keeper also dispatches swans all over the world, sent as gifts in the Queen’s name. 

Nesting Whooper Swan

Nesting Whooper Swan

The nesting Whooper Swan was unusual as Whoopers migrate back to Iceland in the spring to breed. The one above had not made the journey, probably due to injury. There was no sign of the male Whooper Swan on the day we were there. 

At Baron’s Haugh in Motherwell there were some injured Whooper Swans which had not managed to migrate back to Iceland in the spring, so this bird may be one of them.

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose Nesting

As we were about to pack up observing in one area, I spotted a Greylag Goose nesting in the reeds. She was well hidden and was only spotted by accident. In the picture above she can be seen keeping a close eye on us. 

Coots Nest

Coots Nest

In another pond a Coots nest was in the process of being built. Coots nest on still water to minimize the danger from flooding.

Mute Swan in another pond

In a smaller pond there was only one pair of Mute swans nesting. No other birds could be seen, apart from some Mallard ducks.


The Heron above was seen looking for food, but no nest for it could be seen.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese Nesting

Some Canada geese could be seen nesting on a small island, well away from people. A small boat would be required to get to this nest so it should be safe from humans.

Adult Mute Swans and Cygnets

Family of Mute Swans
Family of Mute Swans
Family of Mute Swans

The first sight we got of Cygnets was at another pond were two adult swans were out and about with their young family. At one point they swam close to where we were standing with the scope on the male started hissing at us. We moved back a bit to be less threatening to the birds. 

Swans are very strong and it is not advisable to go near them when they have young. A Swan can break a person’s arm with its wing if it feels threatened. 

It was quite a dull and wet day and with the light getting worse, we decided to pack up. We had managed to get some good photos of the birds through my scope, which can be seen above.

I am looking forward to seeing how the birds develop over the summer.