Sunday, November 18, 2007

Woodland close-ups

The few chances I've had to get out in recent weeks have mainly seen me in the Forest of Dean. To start with a glorious autumn was well underway .........

and I found a few more of those fabulous lilac coloured fungi.
The real pleasure has been the chance to get close to a range of woodland birds - admittedly nothing too rare, but with the help of some patience and a little bird seed I've had closer views than ever before, using a 300mm lens at most. The light could have been better, I had to keep the aperture large, and I probably should have done a little more afterwork on the shots - but what the hell!

The coal tits were the first in. At times they were feeding within 2 feet of me when I was pointing the camera elsewhere. They can be feisty little things at times.Next up the blue and great titsthen the chaffinches (one shot looks like one of those pottery hens - I found it amusing until I noticed the scaly leg that probably accounted for the posture. So many of the chaff's seem to have this.)A blackbird called by and caught a patch of sunlight beautifullyOne of my favourites - nuthatch - showed up as well. The last shot was taken at the feeding station at Beechenhurst, and it really did look like the bird had closed it's eyes and spat out the seed.Perhaps the biggest surprise was the great spotted woodpecker - not so much that it showed, but that it came so close - I had a coat with a hood up, but no more of a hide than that.In the same area I finally got a shot of it's cousin a green woodpecker - OK it's not great but it's the best I've managed, and to get this I was lying up against a tree smelling very strongly of piss!Round at Beechenhurst there were a few bramblings in with the chaffinches - with another couple of hours I expect I would have got some better shots, especially of the quite elusive male grubbing around in the leaves, but that's life.I went chasing some more brambling this weekend near Pontypool (Pantygasseg to be precise), but didn't find them. There were some twitchy redwing perched in the treetops, then I finally thought I'd got a better shot from the car, but it's not so good after all. Shows the colours as well as I've ever seen though.

So there we go - a long post, but the result of some fun times, and a whole winter to do better!

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