Saturday, 11 December 2010

This week in the woods

I've not taken enough photos for daily posts this week, so here's a round-up of the activity in the woods. We had our friend Jim come and help us drink tea:

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Actually, he worked really hard, setting up and pulling ropes, splitting logs and feeding the fire! Thanks Jim, much appreciated!

Here's the rope-pulling in action:
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Here's the gap left after we were done:
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If you're wondering why I've left a log propped up in a strange place, it's because it's got a lot of dead wood in it, and I thought it would be nice to leave it kind of standing:
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Meanwhile Tracy was busy having a 'felling frenzy', knocking over 10 trees in under two hours:
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I did some more work at the same spot later in the week, slowly advancing up us the hill:
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On Friday I dealt with some edge trees. We had a fairly large Sweet Chestnut stool and wanted to leave the three largest stems on it to grow on to become larger, and also an Ash with three stems that we wanted to 'single' so it could grow on as well. Here's the result:
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As you can see, the base of the Ash below where I removed the other two stems is pretty chunky:
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and here's the big Chestnut stool:
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I'm particularly keen on the stems on it as they're starting to develop the grooves in their bark which is so rare in our wood, as there's no mature Chestnut:
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The logs are certainly piling up now, ready for future home heating:
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It's still been a chilly week, though it warmed up a bit on Friday. No snow, but plenty of misty mornings:
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The Pheasants are out in force in the woods now. I know a lot just live around the woods, but I wonder if some are released for a shoot in the area, and end up in our wood.
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This one managed to land in our dead hedge, only to find that twigs weren't really strong enough for him to stay there:
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And of course the Robins have got accustomed to us working again, and follow us around looking for bugs we might have disturbed:
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If I can find some time on a brighter day, I hope to get some better bird photos at our feeder. I've been experimenting with attaching my cameras to the smaller of my two telescopes. I've used them with the big telescope before for astrophotography, getting pictures like these of Saturn, the Moon and the Orion Nebula:
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However, that telescope is a bit big to take to the woods, so I finally got around to seeing how well the cameras worked with the small telescope, which could be taken to the woods. The SLR can only be fitted to the telescope in prime focus mode, which basically means no lens on the camera and no eyepiece in the telescope, and the results were a bit disappointing, as you can see in this picture of a starling, admittedly taken at about 50m:
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This is probably because the level of magnification is just way too high, resulting in a washed-out image. Might be worth a go in better light though...

Anyway, the other method is afocal, which means you have an eyepiece in the telescope and use an adaptor to clamp the camera onto the eyepiece. This won't work with the SLR, and it'd probably be too heavy, so it's only for the compact. However, because there's an eyepiece, the magnification can be much lower, so I got some better pictures. A Collared Dove at 50m:
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and a Sparrow at 15m:
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I still need to play around with the settings some more, but if I can find the time on a sunny day, I might get some good pics, especially going into the Spring.

Mike

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Saturday, 4 December 2010

Andrew's airstream blog!

A quick plug for a friend's blog, all about the adventures he has in his airstream. Well worth a look: Adventures with my Airstream

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Even MORE snow in the woods!

On Thursday I posted pictures of Rye after the heavy snow, and yesterday we went up to the woods in the Land Rover to take some pictures and process more firewood. It's the most snow I've ever seen in East Sussex, in fact the most anywhere, apart from Cairngorm!

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This is the track into the woods:
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Of course, this holds no fear for the Land Rover - we'd just driven safely down a steep hill that was too icy to walk on without falling over!
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To give you a better idea of how deep the snow was up in the wood, here it is lying on a stile, with a credit card for scale:
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The snow had piled up on everything it could, including stools:
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and our firewood shelter:
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Well, we were there to process firewood, so we loaded our cutting rack a couple of times with split year-old wood:
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and that was enough to finish refilling it:
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We fed the birds as well, topping up the bird feeder and also leaving some on the ground for the Robins, who aren't so keen on using the feeder. If fact, it was the Coal Tits who went there first:
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but they spend more time in the feeder usually:
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There were actually two Robins around, so there was a bit of fighting and showing off - I guess an area where humans leave food is prime territory...
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We were also pleased to see a Nuthatch, digging for bugs in the Oak trees:
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but it also ventured down to the feeder as well:
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Apart from working and feeding the birds, we also got loads of pics of the snow scenes. I'll include them all here, as I think my Mum may want to get some of them printed for making cards...
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Back at home, the icicles had reached a huge size:
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and the splashing from the leaky gutter has iced the bin:
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Well, it's all melting now, and it's raining, but it's going to cold again tomorrow night. No more snow for now I think, but plenty of frost - which is better for work in the woods, really.

Mike

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