Saturday, June 17, 2006


My goals for the summer aren't very high. Clean out my garage and basement, and get a few shots of some bluebirds. Today I made my first attempt at the latter.

About 15 miles up the road is Mass Audubon's Stony Brook Refuge. Last fall I saw bluebirds there but didn't get around to attempting photos. I took my new digiscoping setup there today hoping to get my first-ever bluebird images.

When I first got there a mob of kids was involved in some sort of activity near the nest boxes where I thought the bluebirds would be. I took a short loop around the pond with just the camera to kill some time, and eventually saw (and heard) the gaggle of noisy darlings move off to another area.

But when I set up the telescope, all I saw at the nest boxes were swallows, not bluebirds. I practiced on the swallows, then by chance saw a bird rise up from a faraway box and land in a tree about 75 yards away. May as well check it out, I figured. Lo and behold, it was an Eastern Bluebird.

Click for larger image
Eastern Bluebird, click for larger image.

This was with a Televue 85 scope, 40mm Scopetronix 2" eyepiece, 2x magnifier, and Canon G6 camera. I lurked around for a while longer, but didn't get any other opportunities. Not bad for a first attempt at that distance, but I hope to get something better this summer. The refuge isn't far out of the way on my commute home from work, so I'll see what I can get in the late afternoon some day this summer.

Here is a more controlled experiment, a goldfinch at the feeder in my back yard. I paced off the distance at 20 yards, which is the minimum distance at which I can achieve focus (without the 2x magnifier). This is cropped, so a small bird does not fill the frame at 20 yards.

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Goldfinch, click for larger image.

I've posted a lot of digiscoping images in the past few weeks because the new gadgets I have are so much better than what I had before. There still are limitations, but they are different than what they were before.

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