Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wader tripping to Jaeren, finally

After making several recce trips over the summer, I finally managed to make the first wader trip proper for the season to check out what's out there on the surf at Revtangen. Decided to travel light with only the digiscope set-up and the cameras without the 600/4.0 mm. Initially I was hoping to make some videos with the Sony attached to the scope.

I left the house bright and early 0645 hrs and was at the beach proper by 0715hrs, a total travel distance of 28km one way. The winds was extremely strong and surf looking very nasty when I arrived. There were surf spray all over. With the winds blowing so strong (must be gale 2.0 if not 1.5) all attempts at video failed miserably due to the high magnification factor and huge movements in the entire setup. It would have been even worst with the 600mm, it'll probably wobble like a sail. It was also quite cold!

Southern end of the Revtangen beach.

The northern end of the beach.

The particular patch at Revtangen held several clumps of waders but they proved very skittish. After about 1 hr on the south beach managed to get a good view of Sanderling, Common Ring Plover and Dunlin. Decided to move over to the northern end of the beach near the Revtangen birder's hytte. Also made the decision to pack up the digiscope set up and only move on with the backpack equipped with cameras and 400/5.6mm.

With the wind not letting up, it was a good decision to leave the scope in the car. An extra outer layer of heavy duty windbreaker made the cold a bit more bearable. Another crucial piece of gear that is a must is something warm for the exposed head.

Stationed myself by some big boulders on the beach and waited for the waders to come around. In less than 10 minutes the beach was attended to by Common Ringed Plover, Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones and Dunlins. By being still on the beach, the waders slowly approached to within 1.5-2.0 meters. The 400mm again proved it's in dispensability in these kinds of situations. It was light enough for handholding so does not require a tripod. Limited movements during phottaking encourages the birds to move closer and closer.

The surprising sight of the day was a pair of Peregrine Falcon regularly mobbing the waders at the water's edge. The beach being located below a 20m bluff provided excellent vantage point and lift for the tiny predators, the strong winds helped them in making their spectular sorties. Here the 400/5.6mm again proved it's usefulness in it's ability to make very quick maneuvers to get to capture an amazingly fast predator on the hunt.

These are some encouraging images made during the a few hours on the beach.

Ruddy Turnstone.

Dunlin, my first, apparently they are the most common wader in the and is apparently the standard for small waders in these part.


Dunlin again, it move cautiously and slowly to withing 2m of where I was.

Peregrine Falcon overhead, there was a pair operating on the beach. These are magnificent predators and very fast.

There were a numbeer of turnstones working the same stretch of beach.

Revtangen seemed best to be worked out slowly, early morning seemed the best option. With such strong winds in the area (at least today) I am not sure if a hide or wraparound camo cloth would be ideal. It'll definitely be a challenge to keep these things still in the face of such windy conditions. Dress camo and dress warmer. What to do with the 600/4.0mm in these conditions? The groundpod perhaps to avoid big movements. Must also remember to wipe off salt from the equipment.

Looking forward to the next trip to this place.