Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The first four hours of todays patch walk were done in some dull, murky, misty and overcast conditions, making it feel quite chilly, but around 11:00hrs the cloud broke and it turned warm and sunny.

I spent 6 hours out in all, and found 50 species eventually, a very good tally for early March, none were spring migrants though, but they will surely come  :-) 

All the regular species, plus the not so regular turned out today,  The lakes were home to 12 CANADA GEESE, the feral BARNACLE GOOSE, the MUTE SWAN and COOT pair, plus a few MALLARDS and MOORHENS. A pair of GREY HERONS flew over the main lake, as did 3 GREYLAG GEESE, neither dropped in though.

In the Scrubby Woods GOLDCREST, COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, SISKIN, MISTLETHRUSH, JAY, and LONG TAILED TIT were all found, the Wet Woods added STOCK DOVE, which sang, and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER three of which chased about the place.

There was a LITTLE OWL in the old shack at the Ashes Lane Field, but very little out on the Pub Field, apart from 8 more Stock Doves. The sheep pasture and paddocks at Migrant Alley were disturbed by roaming packs of students, so nothing was found there, very disappointing  :-(  I did sit at my seat for a while though, and warmed up in the now brilliant sunshine. I watched a couple of BUZZARDS soaring low over the Greenhouse Grounds and the Copse, a KESTREL was also seen up hunting as was a SPARROWHAWK. A flock of 25 BLACK HEADED GULLS wheeled about the sky for a while and HERRING GULLS passed over in two's and three's. MEADOW PIPIT, SKYLARK and PIED WAGTAIL were moving around locally, but no Fieldfare or Redwing were seen today.

Seems that it's that ''in between time'' when winter species have mostly left, and spring ones are not quite here yet  :-)

With the light improving, I went home a got the borrowed Canon 400mm prime lens, and headed back to the Grenhouse Grounds to see what it could do, here's a few images I took there....
Carrion Crow
The CARRION CROW image above and below is heavily cropped, the bird was about 25-30 meters away, normally at that distance images are unusable for a bird this size, but the lens has kept good detail here :-)
Carrion Crow
I still couldn't understand why in such strong sunlight I was getting some slow shutter speeds, it wasn't until I got back home that I looked at the filter on the front of the lens and found it was a polarizing filter, acting like sunglassed on the lens, I was loosing 25% of my shutter speed! Soon took that off!

With a proper UV filter now attached, I took the lens up to my garden shed to take some garden bird pics, which came out much better, least i think so!  Here's a couple for now, i'll post the others on a later post.
Long Tailed Tit
 I think the borrowed 400mm prime lens produces very sharp images, as long as there is good light to enable a high enough shutter speed to counteract the fact that there is no image Stabilization, however, if you use a tripod, or lean the camera on something soft to steady it, some really good images can be had. It was difficult steadying the lens this morning when taking the first set of photo's, but they aren't that bad either  ;-) still not sure whether to get this lens or the stabilized 100-400 though!! I think in poorer light the latter would be best.


Marc Heath said...

I use the canon f4 300mm lens with a 1.4 converter, a good combination.

Warren Baker said...

Doh! Now i'm really in a mix Marc!!

Jason K said...

Some decent photos there all the same Warren!