Saturday, 18 December 2010

Birds and snow in the woods

Another busy week working in the woods, and two trips to London for work as well. Just one more day of work though, and then its full speed ahead to complete the coppicing by the end of the year. However, I did take a bit of time out to photograph birds, and try using the camera connected to the telescope. While setting the telescope up, I discovered why the bird food left on the ground disappears fast:


I was amazed at how close the Pheasant let me get (about 7-8m) - I guess the draw of the food was too strong! An interesting thing was that while the Pheasant was there, the small birds came to the suspended feeder despite me being nearby - I guess they assumed if I was a predator I'd go for the biggest bird around!

Anyway, here's the pics taken through the telescope. It's a 90mm SkyWatcher, of the Maksutov-Cassegrain design (if that means anything to you...) and I used it with an 40mm Meade eyepiece. I have an adaptor for my compact camera that clamps it onto the eyepiece. First, some Coal Tits:




A Great Tit:

And finally, a Robin:

and now breath in...

I love the way they puff up like that!

I'd still like to try the SLR with the telescope, but I need to investigate what attachment I can use to reduce the magnification, seeing as it can't have the eyepiece in it.

I also took some bird pics where we're working, but not with the telescope. I was really pleased to get these pics of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker preening. It's at the top of a big Ash tree, so the quality isn't great, but nice to see anyway:




There were Pheasants there too, this one up on a pollarded Hornbeam stool, pinching the food that was meant for the small birds:

We've actually done quite a bit of work as well as taking photos, knocking lots of trees down:


stacking up the logs:

and building new racks for more log stacks:

The weather's been mixed, some days starting with fog:

but then turning out nice later on:

Yesterday (Friday), there was frost when I got there, but all of a sudden this happened:

then half an hour later this happened:

It all looked quite picturesque, although at one point the snow was so thick that I couldn't see the corner of the field in this picture, quite a blizzard!

I was glad of the fire to keep warm when I stopped for lunch:

I noticed the heat from the fire was melting the snow in radial lines, with obstructions leaving cold 'shadows'. Obvious really, but it looked quite odd:


Anyway, I headed off well before dark, which was good, as Tracy called me for a lift home from school - they'd closed early and all the teachers had abandoned their cars because of the snow! I'd heard people wheel-spinning on the nearby hill while I was in the wood. I thought I might help someone when I got there, but the road was cluttered with 10-15 cars either stuck or abandoned, so there was no clear path to try towing people up without risking hitting other cars. I managed to get through, though I left the road and used the grass at the side at some points! 4WD, diff locks and mud/snow tyres are definitely the way to go when the weather's like this! The problem wasn't the amount of snow (1 inch), but that it fell into a frozen road and packed down to ice very quickly.

We should be getting a lot done in the woods this week, but will need to keep an eye on the weather before setting off...


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