So after the first exciting week, it was time to get busy and finish what I’d started. The week went something like this…
Logging and filming!
We set our filming date for Thursday due to the forecast. Unsurprisingly the met office got it wrong and our first trip out was aborted as soon as we got onto the road and saw the leaden grey skies and shower of rain. It was however temporarily salvaged with a Thai red curry… But by 3.30pm I was sent out to see what they sky looked like and by 4 we were back in the car, laden with camera and tripod. The destination was Perivale Woods, the target species was Essex Skipper and the shot we wanted was a macro of the smudgy black tip to the antenna, separating this species from the ridiculously similar but orange tipped antenna of Small Skipper; a species of which there is plenty of footage in the BirdGuides archive. I know- I’ve logged it.
Perivale Woods was a surprise to me, I thought all remotely interesting places in London had been bulldozed, concreted over and turned into Tesco’s or instead made into safe community parks with no wild fringes and nice safety fences. But instead this site survives under the Selbourne Society, a fitting tribute to Gilbert White, with a moth list of 600.
We were to have less luck however, as an hours worth of tramping around a lovely meadow turned up only Small Copper, Small Skipper and lots of small Crickets. If it was small it had it… So we filmed Small Skipper anyway. After Max had secured the macro shot of the antennae, just in case, I was let loose with the camera. I expected it to be easy. I was wrong. Firstly the viewfinder is black and white and off centre. Remember looking through an angled scope for the first time? Its like that but in black and white and because its macro, the resulting depth of field is razor thin, so if its out of focus its exceedingly tricky to find anything again, let alone what you wanted to film. And if what you wanted to film comes with wings, is very small and flighty…
Nevertheless I managed to film a short clip of the same skipper in the same pose as Max had.
Here’s what Max got…
…and what I got…
…practice required I think.
Anyway I must now leave for two weeks holiday spent hoping the Pacific Golden Plover at Breydon stays, so my next post should be a behind the scenes tale of the birdfair...