Thursday, March 21, 2013

Far Project sessions 3-5

A few days off allowed a couple more trips to the woods.  One of the challenges is which lens to use, or more accurately which extender - none, 1.4 or two. The problem is siskin and redpoll are really pretty small, but as you will see a couple of bigger visitors appeared.  Slowly making some progress with props and backgrounds.

One of the sessions was dominated by a large number of siskins, feeding not only on the niger/millet mix, but also down on the ground on the sunflower seeds (another problem - the seeds do sneak into the pictures and with a lack of fallen leaves to scatter around they are hard to hide).  If any of you saw the recent BBC Africa series the outstanding image was a bull elephant towering over herds of antelope - the greenfinch brought this to my mind!

The range of birds is slowly increasing, with a pair of great spotted woodpeckers (I'm pretty sure I've seen their nesthole fairly nearby) getting the courage to stay even when I'm snapping and a dunnock, goldfinch and squirrel or two.

Best of all there was a fleeting visit from at least one hawfinch, but the slightest twitch from the camera and it was off, not to be seen on the next 2 visits.  That said I know from the Forest of Dean how unpredictable they can be with relatively short visits at seemingly random times.  Worth hanging in there for!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Far project session 2

How I wish I had retired!  I would love to have more time to indulge my hobby, but as it stands one Saturday or Sunday morning a week will probably be the limit.  At least the dog walking gives me an excuse to top up feed on the other day at the weekend.

So a Saturday visit to top up food at the 'far' project revealed nothing left at all - not what I would prefer, but at least the birds were around. I'd worked my way through 4,000 + pics from the trailcam so I knew there were a fair few species visiting (but no hawfinch!), as well as a fox, squirrels, plenty of mice and what might even have been a hedgehog. 

Returning on the Sunday I planned to focus on the niger/millet feeding spots, but the greenfinch ( a group of at least 8)  and coal tits were also new pics for this session.

The niger targets appeared and even though the light was overcast I got some decent shots of redpoll and fewer of siskin.  There is still some work to be done on background and perches although there are some restrictions at this particular site.  As always each time you go you make some progress.  The redpolls showed a good range of colour variation,  I'd wondered about a mealy (common) bird but on looking through I think they are just variations of lesser.  Click on a pic for bigger views.
Just look at the red on that last bird - no colour boosting.

There were fewer chaffinches around and I didn't see any brambling although the trailcam had shown there were at times.  I'm going to have to find a way top up the feed mid-week I think.  More chance now the days are lengthening.