Sunday 22 May 2011

West Midlands Bird Watchers Fair

I took a trip up to Middleton Hall yesterday to visit a small Bird Watchers Fair and take a quick glimpse at the newest RSPB reserve that has just opened there at Middleton Lakes

At the Fair, it was good to catch up with a few folks and look at one or two bits of gear.

One of the most useful was to check in with Manfrotto/Gitzo and get the details of where to order some replacement feet for my Gitzo 5541.  The feet screw in (or off) when you don't want them too, unless you Loctite them on.  So I shall order a new set one (or two) as I lost one last year.

I took a peek at the newest Fluid Head from Manfrotto,  MH055M8-Q5 055 Magnesium Photo-Movie Head with Q5 Quick Release,  a beautiful (but expensive ) piece of kit that would be great for video use for any DSLR capable of video.  In addition, for still, it can also be easily switched into portrait mode.  Good load capacity that means it is a viable proposition to use with a 500 lens.   Mmmmm - will have to think about that one - how much video do I shoot?  Very little in all honesty.  Link is below if you want to buy one.

Also caught up with Opticron to get my binos checked over.  I though there was an alignment problem, but had it confirmed it was fine.  Had a look at the Leica HD's - my favourite Bino 'want' - but given that they have gone up by over £400 in two years, for the same reasons that Canon lenses went up so much - i.e. exchange rate, plus general price hikes, plus extra VAT, they can stay on the shelf for now.

Moving outside - it was great to meet up and chat with the Butterfly Conservation -  Warwickshire people again, and I will look forward to their open day next Sunday. They also confirmed the Nutmeg moth from my recent post.

Back into the Hall, I bought some new books, again that I have linked below for you, and you can save some money over what I paid.  But I was happy to support the guys at the show.

The Dragonfly book is a true field guide and gives masses of information over and above the basic id information.  Excellent photos, detailed differences, habitats, locations in the UK, nymph and larva stages - all round excellent book and a must to have on the shelf.  The second book on Moths and Butterflies is again an excellent and different book, and well worth adding to the regular books that I have promoted. Again, excellent photos, plus caterpillar images too, which the reference works do not have. Again, a perfect companion to the core books.

Finally, it was good to catch up with Mike Lane, who wrote a guest blog for us a couple of years back.  He was there promoting his wildlife photographic travel company with some great destination options.  I know that if I was in the market for the sort of trips that Mike runs in a competitive market, I would most definitely choose to go with him.

It was a year ago today that I was in North Uist, and with no Scottish trip currently planned for this year, I have been yearning to get back there, but looking at the weather that they have been having recently and forecast, I am content that I am not there at this time.  It will still be there next year.

That's it for today.  Hope you all had enjoyable weekends.



  1. How did the location stack up Martin, its on my radar to visit soon?

  2. Mark,

    The RSPB reserve has only just opened and has a way to go for photography. No hides yet and will be a long walk with gear. Good for birders though and will be interesting to see how it develops

  3. I'm really interested in trying the Manfrotto MH055M8-Q5 055, but as yet have failed to find anywhere to try it out. I don't want to compromise on a head for still photography, but like the idea of the video mode for very occasional use. Do you think it will work as well as a ball grip head such as the 327RC2 for still photography?