Well today I had hoped to travel to Strid Wood in Yorkshire to see if I could find and photograph another bird that has long eluded me, the wood warbler. However, the weather has been poor of late and although the sun was shining when I woke up, the forecast was for a series of heavy showers in the north. So I decided to leave it till next year.
Instead I chose to try out the 1D with the 100-400mm lens as part of a preparation for a return to Macedonia this weekend. So I went to Chester Zoo. I know many are uncomfortable with animals kept in captivity and I too prefer to see them in the wild. There is nothing like seeing and photographing a creature is its natural habitat. However, as I've said before, zoos do a lot of sterling work in conservation these days and, lets face it, some creatures still exist only thanks to captive breeding programs in zoos.
Also, from a photographers point of view, it is a place that allows you to practice your photography, often in challenging conditions. The free flight tropical realm at Chester being particularly challenging as it is as gloomy as any rain forest under the full canopy. High ISO photography is a must.
As I only had three hours before needing to get home to pick up our granddaughter from school, I concentrated mainly on the birds and also had a short spell with the macro lens in the butterfly house.
One bird that I had not seen on any previous visit, even though it has always been on the information board as a species present, was this sun bittern, the only species in its family.
Another I had not seen here before was this incredibly lovely, red tailed laughingthrush.
They also have the blue-crowned laughingthrush. A fairly tame bird at the zoo but sadly, critically endangered in its Asian homeland. This very grainy shot was taken with ISO 2000!
The Java sparrows all had large broods of young begging for food. Here is an adult without rings so probably from an earlier years brood here at Chester.
Many birds proved very tricky to photograph. Among the more accommodating was this female Asian glossy starling.
And this Royal Starling.
Finally a couple of butterflies taken with the EF100 F2.8 macro lens. First a tree nymph.
And finally a malachite butterfly.
So on Saturday I'm off to Macedonia. Last year I found the 100-400mm frustratingly short when used with the 7D. Will using the 1D (and possibly the 1.4x converter with which it can still autofocus) make a difference? Well I hope so. A golden oriole would be nice!