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.
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
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.
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
This Rock Pipit proves that if you take dozens of shots of a
bird you'll get one that's usable!
I decided to make for the tower on the hilltop.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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