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These are tiny little birds, even smaller than wrens. They are also quite stunning. In England you are more likely to see a Goldcrest, but in Poitou-Charentes you are more likely to see a Firercrest.Goldcrest. Firecrest are the best in that the crest which is the stripe down the centre of its head is bright orange whereas in the Goldcrest it is yellow or gold. Also the Firecrest has more distinctive facial markings in that it has a black stripe through its eye and a white stripe immediately above, in the area which we might call its eyebrow. This is known by birdwatchers as the supercillium. This is a Firecrest. It is not a brilliant photo But it does show the eye stripe etc.Garden birds2

I have recently bought a new camera, it is a Canon 70D which is basically the new version of my previous camera the 50D. I still have the 50D but use that with a normal lens and the 70D is used with my 400mm telephoto. This means that I now no longer have to change lenses and risk getting dust into the cameras.  The down side is my camera equipment weighs even more than it did before. The new camera is slightly different to the old one so I want to practice using it, so that I get used to it before we go on a big holiday to Canada in a few months time.

I had seen a Firecrest in the garden a couple of days ago and this afternoon the weather was vaguely better than it has been for the last week, ie not completely sh.t, so I spent some time photographing small birds.  Not with a huge amount of success but as I said it was a practice session and as you can see I need the practice. This is my best shot of the Firecrest, it is reasonably in focus and you can just see the  fire coloured crest. It is a pity it has its back to me and some of the vegetation is obscuring it….apart from that it is fine!Garden birds3

Here are some shots of a Chiff Chaff a Great tit, a Long tailed tit and a Tree creeper whch I also took this afternoon.

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In all I took over 150 shots ( that’s four rolls of film in old money) and virtually all have been deleted, this is because these little birds are very active and often by the time you have focused on them they have moved. Also in order to get sufficient light you cannot use too fast a shutter speed so if the bird moves, (which they do a lot) then the photo will be blurred, and if you are photographing against a light sky then the bird will be dark (underexposed) You can adjust for this but by the time you have done this the bird will have flown off…… it is quite frustrating and so here are some of the photos which illustrate these problems.

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