Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nut Warblers and a scaly legged finch

Forecasts for another dry, if not sunny day saw an early(ish) start at the weekend. My quest for the day was a return to the Cyril Hart arboretum in the Forest of Dean to see whether I could get any shots of the Nut Warblers (Delor y cnau), or nuthaks as Chaucer might have had it.

I had noted last week that they would come down to seed on the ground, but they would tend to grab a single peanut and shoot off. Instead I took some environmentally friendly 'won't grow' seed in the hope they might hang around a while longer.

Another misty morning welcomed by a pair of crows, and I started to worry about the light levels. This wasn't going to be easy!

I started off tucked back under the trees, using the telescope to try and get a decent frame filling digiscoped shot. The excellent sensor on the fuji 30 allowed pictures at low light levels, but focusing proved tricky, and there was some definite purple fringing.

I decided to see how brave the birds were and was amazed to find I could get within a few yards and the birds would still feed. Admittedly I was tucked up in my coat under a hood, but even so their tolerance was a surprise - such a surprise that I didn't take in the bottle top that unfortunately inhabits some of the shots! Even more surprising was the number of people walking past who only seemed to notice me at the last minute, ofetn as they were standing on the seed!

Great Tit

Coal tit


The seed worked well, with the nuthatches pausing to pick up several sunflower seeds most times - helpful given the fact that they tend to move so fast and the light was still pretty poor.

Ended up with a couple of shots I was happy with, including the scaly legged chaffinch - I believe this is due to a mite infestation. It looked bad, but the bird itself seemed fairly healthy otherwise.

Chaffinches - female top, scaly legged male below

1 comment:

Mike said...

I love these photos of the seals - especially numbers 5 and 6. Must be a fascinating place to visit.