21st December 2007
Well that's what it has felt like, let me explain.
I had the opportunity to purchase a 600mm lens not long after my last blog entry,the deal was set up with my 500mm lens being taken in part exchange plus some cash.
Unfortunately somewhere during the deal our wires became crossed, I thought they were only taking the amount of cash from my account which was agreed after the part x of the 500mm.

At the time I was on a two week course in Warrington, I only realised what had happened when I went to a cash point machine only to see I never had a penny left.
Panic! Did I ever, with bills to pay and not knowing what had happened to my money I made a few frantic phone calls to the bank. Thankfully I found out it was the shop that had taken my money and not the dreaded card being cloned, after another few phone calls to the shop the problem was sorted.

I was so keen to get home and try out my new bit of kit as the last few days of the course felt more like another two weeks, I do hate these courses I have to do for my job, I'm too old to be in the classroom again.

Anyway, I finally got home and unpacked my new lens only for the weather to turn bad for the rest of the week. I did however manage to take a couple of pictures of the Moon when there was a break from the cloud and rain.

That's when I found out my tripod and gimbal head were not upto the job of supporting the lens, it must have been on the limit with the 500 but now with the extra weight of the 600 (17lb) the movement was way too much. The slightest touch had the lens wobbling about which was going to cause me major problems with slower shutter speeds, more expense.

The bad weather continued to plague me and when the weather was good, I had nothing to photograph. A few trips to my local Owl patch on a couple of glorious winter days proved fruitless, no sign of the Short Eared Owl I had photographed a few weeks ago and no sign of the Barn Owl's.

The same happened on a trip to Norfolk, I stopped off at Welney for first light in the hope of seeing some Barn Owl's before heading on up to the Norfolk coast.
I came across one Barn Owl sat on a frost covered post, it looked superb, I placed the bean bag on the car door and positioned the lens on it, gently creeping up to the Owl in my car I had managed to get close enough for a full frame shot. I just put my eye to the view finder when it bl***y well flew off...Noooooooooooooooo.

A few more passes up and down the ten mile bank proved hopeless, the Barn Owl had disappeared.
I pulled over and waited to see if any more Owl's would show but I was wasting my time. I grabbed a couple of shots of the farmer plouging his field before heading up to the coast.

I had only gone a few miles down the road when I spotted a Stonchat perched on some reed stems, as I pulled up he flew across the road and landed on a barbed wire fence.
Great I thought, leaning across the passenger seat I grabbed a couple of shots of him, he was way too close though and I was having trouble supporting the lens without the bean bag. I pulled the lens back a bit and rested the lens hood on the door, by this time he was starting to pose well so I took a few more pics.
I had a quick glance down the road only to see the biggest tractor I've ever seen coming towards me, for @$!* sake, that was the end of that...

I should have known with the way my luck was going not to have bothered going to the coast but I was desperate to try out my lens. Needless to say the trip was a waste of time other than watching a Barn Owl catch a couple of Voles, the light was too low for any pictures though.

The following weekend I took a trip up to my mate Chinny's feeding station to try and get some images of Nuthatches, they were showing well while it was dull but as soon as the sun came out they vanished.
0ne picture of a Blue Tit was all I managed at his feeding station.

Later on in the day we found some Redwings following the Moles about as they tunnelled, the Moles were forcing the worms to the surface as they dug which the Redwings gladly ate.

My luck did improve with another trip to Norfolk this week, the weather was good and my target bird was showing well.
I scattered some seed over the floor and got in position and waited for the Snow Buntings to come down.

To take these images I was laying down to get the low shooting angle and at times they would come that close I could have hand fed them. To be fair they are used to people being about but they are much more confident if you keep low.

I also grabbed a few shots of some Teal that stopped by for a snack on the seed I had provided.

The Gulls and Turnstones were proving to be a bit of a pain, constantly scaring the Buntings with their bully boy tactics but I was more than happy with the images I had taken during the morning. So I decided to head home but not before I took a quick shot of some Common Gulls perched on a fence post in the carpark.

Finally I felt my luck had changed and I managed to test out my new piece of kit which I'm very happy with, so fingers crossed this continues and thank god I don't rely on my photography for a living.. I'd be SKINT...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.