Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Thu 3 Jun 2010 Inveraray

Having a go at some bird pictures with my new Panasonic Lumix FZ38 camera.  All of them were taken at maximum resolution and full zoom.  The exceptional vibration reduction on this camera means that in good light you can sometimes get usable pics at these settings.

Corvus monedula

A Jackdaw by the roadside on the way from Inveraray to the Castle.  It gave an acceptable pic at max res and full zoom.  Jackdaws do tend to be tamer than other birds, especially near villages and by busy roads.

Fringilla coelebs, male

This Chaffinch joined me for tea at the Inveraray Castle cafe.  He was difficult to photgraph because he was in shade while much of the background was in bright sun.  The pic turned out acceptable at about half its original res, but I've shown it at less than that so as to get some of the foreground and background in, otherwise it would just be bird and gravel.

Actitis hypoleucos

Later in the day in poorer light I was pleased to get a decent-sized pic of a Common Sandpiper on the shore.  This one is shown at max res and full zoom.  All these pics are hand-held; I'm not prepared to lug a tripod around.

Anthus petrosus

This Rock Pipit proves that if you take dozens of shots of a bird you'll get one that's usable!

Inveraray bay

I decided to make for the tower on the hilltop.

Dun na Cuaiche watch-tower from Inveraray

Just to show what the camera can do, this is a photo of the tower from the same spot as the previous photo, taken at max res and full zoom.  It's far from perfect, but you can see a lot more detail than you can with the best binoculars, and I find I can often identify distant plants or birds using the new camera that I could not do with binoculars.  This was never the case with my previous cameras.

Loch Fyne from Dun na Cuaiche

View of Loch Fyne from the tower.  Inveraray Castle is a bit right of centre, and the village juts into the sea a bit further back.

Listera ovata

As you make your way back down from the tower to the castle, you might if you're very lucky see the Twayblade in flower.

Coccinella septempunctata

In most years the 7-spot is easily the commonest ladybird, but this year it has been very scarce, probably due to the hard winter.  I have no idea if this species is particularly susceptible to prolonged frost, but I can think of no other explanation.  This one at any rate survived and is enjoying the summer sun.  (The Larch Ladybird is the runaway leader this year in terms of personal sightings).

Cheilosia albitarsis   Ommatoiulus sabulosus

I don't think we've had this hoverfly before, Cheilosia albitarsis, getting among the buttercup pollen with some more of those Micropterix calthella.  The millipede was the largest I'd ever seen in the wild, and was also odd in resting in such a conspicuous place, but it turned out to be the fairly common Striped Millipede, Ommatoiulus sabulosus.  It was a millimetre or two beyond the maximum size given in the book for this species.



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer