Introducing my new 'apex predator' wildlife lens

Sansa hunting rabbit. Yes. Seriously. There were two rabbits in the yard. Okay ... they are pets and she doesn't bother about them really—which is kind of amazing for an apex predator like her when she sees the perfect prey (being the rabbits). As it happens the rabbits could care less about the cats as well.

What? Is it time to go inside already? You do realise I am a killing machine and could rip your throat out in a single stroke—if only you weren't so big!!

Up until now the only lens that I had for my Sony E-mount mirror-less camera was the amazing Zeiss coated 16-70 f4. While this is a great lens for crisp landscapes and just about perfect for close setup work, it falls down when it comes to shooting apex predators from the comfort of my camping chair while sipping some red wine.

So, as Christmas approached, I had a look around at what was available—at a good price—in the way of an armchair wildlife lens that would allow me to get great action shots of our two apex predators as they roamed the enclosure (of my yard).

I came across the Sony 55-210 f4.5-6.3 OSS on sale for $275. This lens is usually up around the $499 mark so I figured that $275 was a price I was prepared to pay.

Now I know that this lens is no Zeiss 16-70. If the Zeiss were rated at 8 out of 10 then the Sony 55-210 would probably slot in at around the 6 mark; and possibly a tad lower even. But as a not-too-bad lens for armchair snaps of lounge-room lions hunting in the back yard then it just about fits the requirements perfectly.

No good looking over here. You can't see me. I am perfectly hidden behind these 25 sticks of dead wild oats and I blend into the background like a ghost.

All the pictures on this page were taken with my new wildlife lens—as I like to call it now.

Not only did I take them with my new wildlife lens, most of them were well in range of the 55-210 zoom to be taken without me needing to get up from my camping chair. So I was able to sit there nice and comfortable, having the occasional sip of red, and take these shots of our little predators without them being distracted by seeing me pointing a camera at them.

In the picture of Obi the lounge-room lion at left he is about three metres up a tree on a log ramp that I put on the tree for them. At the other end of the log there is a 'landing' where they can sit or lay and watch the world from a height.

He is checking out what all the dopey humans are doing. I mean, they can't climb trees, they can hardly jump at all, can't see at night, and don't have claws. How can they have possibly survived this long with such limited abilities?

Expect to see some more in-the-wild shots in future posts.

Obi the apex predator slinking over to scare the living daylights out of a couple of parrots sitting on the bird feeder. Not to worry but. Firstly the parrots are on top of a 1.5 metre pole, and secondly Obi operates under a strict 'catch and release' policy. So far any bird he has got close to catching he has immediately released.

The parrots.


As usual, all images will show larger if you click on them.

Pussy in the pumpkin patch, hunting Magpie

Just thought I would share this. Nobody comes to this site so it doesn't matter much what I post.

Here is Sansa in the pumpkin patch. She is basically hunting magpies. Her cunning plan is to pretend she is just part of the pumpkin patch so that the family of magpies that are skipping around the area looking for food will not see her until it is too late.

Obviously magpies are far smarter than she gives them credit for because they spotted her with ease and gave the universal magpie alarm for "Shit! Just spotted a cat".

We only let the cats out in the evening and we are out there as well watching them. The local magpies, who we often feed, adapted very quickly to our routine. If we are all out there in the evening—I am usually sipping on some red wine—then the cats are most likely out as well.

Sansa likes a challenge getting to water

Over the time that we have had her we have observed that Sansa likes a bit of a challenge in getting to her water. Back when her water was on the floor if she discovered water elsewhere in a somewhat more challenging location that was harder to get to then she much preferred that water.

One of the locations we have found to put 'challenging' water for Sansa is up on the brick mantel above our fridge recess and hotplates. In order for her to get to this water she has to get up onto the nib wall at the left-hand side of the kitchen dresser. Then she needs to navigate along the dresser bench over all the crap and rubbish us humans put there, then get onto the top of the microwave, and then finally make the carefully calculated jump up onto the mantel which is only about 3" wide. Then walk along the mantel to the half-way point to where the special water is.

She loves her water being up there. I think the 'apex predator' part of her likes to think she is up the side of some rough gnarly mountain licking up water from a hidden creek the runs down through tall timber trees to the lowlands below.

I often refer to this particular cache of water as Sansa's high country water.

The problem here is changing it and keeping it fresh. Her primary owner has to stand on tippy toes to change this water for her.