Monday, 10 December 2012

FINESHADE WOODS

COMMON BUZZARD (BUTEO BUTEO), BLUE SKIES FOR A BIT
OK, the first image is a tiny bit soft on the eyes, but I just liked the pose of the Buzzard so posted it. I opted for a visit to Fineshades Woods today. The weather was going to be a bit mixed so I primarily wanted to have "FIDDLE WITH YOUR CAMERA DAY", so wanted to go somewhere relatively quiet and a sure fire location for birds to try out a few new settings recommended by Richard Pegler. I normally sit on AWB for white balance I wasn't happy with some of "lifeless" colours I was getting in shady spots or dull light conditions. Couldn't think of a better location then Fineshades and the feeding station, hardly natural but a guarantee spot for various woodland birds. Oh and Red Kites etc too. So armed with the dusted down camera manual I headed for the woods.
I arrived and the carpark was empty, it was 11:00, hardly early, weird I expected some cars, then I saw the signs "RSPB MEMBERS YOU CAN NO LONGER PARK FOR FREE", oh that's one reason then, the second I guess was the £3 for all day parking or £2 for an hour, NORTHAMPTONERS YOU TRULY ARE TIGHT BUGGERS, and I don't mean the birders but general public, still the prospect of an empty and very large playground to myself I was happy to hand over £3, my cigarettes cost me more then that!!! Undisturbed but in shockingly low light (ISO 1200+ AND 1/25 SEC SHUTTER SPEED) I took a slow walk round to the hide, this meant I was able to sneak up on Song Thrush. numerous Bullfinch,Long Tail Tits, Nuthatches, Coal Tits, Willow Tits, Goldcrests, loads of Chaffinches and only a few Greenfinch plus a Treecreeper, nice short walk to the hide and my first surprise.
I haven't been to Fineshades for ages, at least two years! I was greeted by the majority of the conifer type trees that lined the footpath were gone...brilliant loads of light and a nice clearing taking shape, there were a few of the old trees on the footpath so got another Goldcrest and Coal Tit. Looks a lot better then my last memory of the place.
NUTHATCH (SITTA EUROPAEA), PLAYING AROUND WITH WHITE BALANCE
So I sat down in the hide and had to decide what was going to be my bird of choice for next hour or so whilst I played around with various setting, checking different adjustments etc. There was a male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Willow Tit, Great Tit,Blue Tit and 2 Nuthatches that stood out as my model for the next hour. I opted for the Nuthatch, the Great Spotted Woodpecker came very close to being "first place bird" but stayed on the feeder the whole time (even when a Sparrowhawk dived through) and was a bit further away. The Nuthatch got first because even though it stayed on the feeder (as below) and the feeding table (as above) it was close and in different light and direction of light and backdrops to experiment with. The top image I adjusted the white balance to a warmer setting to give the back ground a "browner hue", compare it to the background colours of the one below, don't like the crop much but it was better then having the table in the frame. The one below I had to cool the colours down as the light was coming from the top left of the frame, backlit, and very harsh light. Both images were taken at an ISO rating of 1000 and shutter speed of 300th/sec to give an idea of the low light. The sun did come out briefly which is when I opted to go for a walk. Didn't see a soul, got the very top image of the Buzzard and the deer at the bottom (click on it again, sorry), haven't got a clue what species it is, not good with mamals etc I spend to much time watching birds and zombie flicks, any ideas anyone? It was a very quiet walk only ruined by the endless sound of shotguns blasting pheasants, some rural  people say wind turbines are noisy! The bird that stood out for me because of the numbers that I saw were Bullfinches. Several different locations in the woods I came across flocks numbering no less then 6 in one flock and 9 in another.
Very enjoyable day, going to have to go back I think.
NUTHATCH (SITTA EUROPAEA), HARDLY A NATURAL SETTING

8 comments:

  1. Cracking Nuthatch close-up, Doug. The image I have is one of you completely on your own at the reserve! That would be heaven.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Christian, very odd to see no-one at the woods, it normally has at least a dog walker etc, can't complain it was nice

      Delete
  2. Love that Nuthatch closeup Doug! Hope that my suggestions didn't cause you too much hassle, and that you're not thinking that I gave you a bum steer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No not all, had some fun playing around with the white balance, found your advice very helpful indeed Richard, did a few tweeks etc depending on backgrounds and light levels etc. It's given me few ideas too.

      Delete
  3. Hi there - great pictures, low light or not.

    I have come over from Mark Avery's blog - I run a collaborative bird photography page on my blog called "Wild Bird Wednesday" - it contains a very simple way to post a link back to your own blog. At present about 50 people post links to their own bird blog on it. It comes our very (surprise, surprise!) Wednesday and stays open for links until Friday. I would love to see images of this quality appear! So, if you have any interest this weeks WBW can be found here:

    http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/wild-bird-wednesday-22-rose-ringed.html

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne, Australia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Stewart,
      Thanks for the very kind offer. To be honest though I've curtailed the number of places I post images such as Birdguides and Flickr etc, and are sticking to my blog and website for a bit. I'll shall when I get home come and have a look at your blog though. Hopefully others reading your comment might come and have look and post etc

      Regards

      Doug

      Delete
  4. The deer is a Muntjac Doug, cute and a nice pic but these introduced 'bambis' from asia are getting a bad reputation for destroying natural habitat and generally running riot ... plus they breed like mad!

    Tim@http://timbobagginsabroad.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/on-holiday-birding-in-sri-lanka.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tim, I had only see what I think have been male muntjac (with little horns), and wasn't sure what it was.

      Delete