Taken around the same time as the first pic in the initial post below with the major difference that this time I used the flash to counteract the slightly harsh backlighting (so less to do in Photoshop). It can give problems with blown highlights if you don't manage the output and compensation so for me at the mo a bit hit and miss - also the bird equivalent of 'red-eye' is 'steel-eye' and I had to do a bit of fixing in Photoshop - tho looking at it again I've not done a great job!
Just something I'd been mulling over when decorating the new house - having had a bunch of time to think I was trying to work out how I could get properly exposed and detailed shots of the birds out of the hide at LCyD which for the majority of the day is pretty much into the sun. Doing some further digging on the web I found others, in particular in the States, had similar concerns. It's all a bit of a faff at times as you end up carrying a bunch more gear with various flash add-ons, external battery packs and the like so the pack gets a bit weighty but I think there's something in it.
Interested in any comments - in particular views on whether or not this pic works better for you than the first one in the post last night!
tech stuff is 1D3, Canon 500mm f4 + 1.4TC, ISO 200, f5.6, 1/500, spot metering, AV with -1EC, Canon 580 Mk2 flash with stofen diffuser, 1/4 power - think that's it!