With the cold weather hitting the east of the UK first it has pushed the migrant visitors further west than usual, so this winter has been the best for seeing more birds such as Redwings, Bullfinches and Fieldfare in the garden. The Redwing in the above photo was enjoying the remaining berries on the Cotoneastertree in the garden. Even with his distinctive red on the side he was very well camouflaged in the tree. It was only by accident that I saw it. I?rushed upstairs to assemble the gear and point it out of an upstairs window that over looks the tree.
After eating a few berries it would retreat to a branch further into the heart of the tree for a rest, then come back out onto the end of a branch to try for a few more berries. The Blackbirds in the garden didn’t seem to pay it any attention, where as the Thrushes saw it as a rival and would chase it away, even though they didn’t seem that interested in the berries.
Unfortunately due to it being very dark on the day, most of my pictures of the Redwing eating berries are blurred. Both of the above images were taken at 800 ISOon a 500mm lens with an exposure of F4.5 at 1/50th. The only way I managed to get these images sharp was by using a bean bag and to hold my breath when taking the exposure. Bean bags are excellent for supporting long lenses, and probably provide better support than a tripod in low light. They have the disadvantage sometimes of making it harder to frame an image due to having to find some additional support to rest the bean bag on.