Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Ring-necked parakeets in the wild - in Surrey, UK!

We've known these parakeets have been living wild for years in London and further afield, but this is the first time we got a video of them! They're in an apple tree in a garden in a housing estate:

Of course, our cockatiels demanded to have a new video for themselves too...


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Monday, 26 December 2011

Kick the Frenchman's Head

No, really, this is the name of a game played in Winchelsea every Boxing Day! Three teams try to get the 'head' into a single goal, and there are no rules. Players and spectators are there at their own risk (and we did see some minor injuries). This year we cycled over there to watch it, here's the video:

Tracy took some good stills as well:
DSC_1092 'Kick the Frenchman's Head'

DSC_1109 'Kick the Frenchman's Head'

DSC_1099 'Kick the Frenchman's Head'

DSC_1189 'Kick the Frenchman's Head'

DSC_1154 'Kick the Frenchman's Head'

DSC_1123 'Kick the Frenchman's Head'

More pictures on Flickr...


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Sunday, 25 December 2011

Greater spotted woodpecker video

"The best size camera is the one you use most". Well, this was certainly true yesterday, when Tracy used her pocket-sized Canon SX220 to capture our best video yet of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker:

I did actually do some software image stabilisation to get rid of the camera shake that's unavoidable at 14x zoom, using the excellent Deshaker plugin for VirtualDub. If you want to see how how the video looked before stabilisation, check this out:

Here's a still picture:

We did get a bit of work done too... There's a ride that still needs opening up, to link the work we did in 2008/9 to the area that was coppiced last winter:

I got to work with the chainsaw on the slightly larger trees at the end...

...while Tracy worked on some Hazel. She was saving bits like this:

to make bits like this:

They will eventually be coat hooks, once the upright bit is split - we'll do a video at some point...

I produced a nice pile of logs for a few hours work too:

Back up there again soon...


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Friday, 23 December 2011

Building a firewood store: part 3

A while ago I posted pictures of the construction of our firewood store (part 1 and part 2), but we've made one more small addition to it.

We found that although rain dripping off the lower edge of the roof was well clear of the wood stored inside, the splashes when the drips landed were making the wood wet. So, we've added a gutter, suspended from the roof slats by short lengths of paracord:



We may add something to collect the rainwater from it later, but at present we're getting more than enough from the house roof.

We then went up to the wood to do the same to the shelter that EWB had built for us back in March, but this time we definitely wanted to harvest the rainwater so we can use it for the fruit trees in the summer. So, we got hold of a couple of old dustbins from Freecycle, and cut a hole in the lid:


and then fitted in the downpipe. We wanted a lid on to prevent wildlife falling in and drowning.


While we were up there, we also stripped off the plastic from roof of our old firewood shelter, as it was degrading from UV exposure, and replaced it with a tarpaulin and some old corrugated plastic we had spare. We'll do something more permanent with roof felt later I think, but this is an improvement for now:



and finally, we went for a bike ride (in the drizzle) this morning to try and video some herons down near Military Road. We didn't see any herons, but we did get a nice video of some swans feeding:


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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Cockatiel videos

Tracy's been having great fun with hew new camera (a Canon SX220), here's some videos of our pet cockatiels up to their daily mischief...

She's looking forward to using it in the woods soon!


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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Sunrise timelapse video

Just a quick post to show off a video I made this morning. I used my SLR with a Gent LED timelapse trigger and my GoPro HD on the same tripod, to see how they compared. The GoPro produces an image that has the bright parts very washed out, as it doesn't have the dynamic range or intelligence of the SLR. However, I made a mistake with the SLR - I should have locked the aperture and shutter speed when I started, so it began dark and finished up bright. I'd left them on auto, which means it looks like it's getting darker as the sun rises, as the camera tries to compensate for the brightness of the sun. Anyway, still a nice video, but a better one will follow...


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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Big telescope for sale

I'm reluctantly selling my Sky-Watcher Explorer 200 telescope, and thought I should post it on my blog before putting it on ebay, in case anyone I know is interested - I'd like to see it go to a good home. I'm selling it due to a lack of time to use it (something to do with managing a woodland...) and a lack of space to store it at home. Here's some of the pics I've taken with it, with the assistance of the free Registax software for combining multiple images:

Saturn, taken with SkyWatcher Explorer 200

Jupiter, taken with SkyWatcher Explorer 200

Orion Nebula, taken with SkyWatcher Explorer 200

Moon, taken with SkyWatcher Explorer 200


Moon, taken with SkyWatcher Explorer 200

The telescope is on an EQ-5 mount with an RA motor drive (essential to keep the telescope tracking where you point it as the earth rotates). To buy the telescope and mount new today would cost about £430, and the motor drive is separate at about £70, so that's £500 in total. I'm open to reasonable offers, so email me if you're interested.

Here's all the details:
  • Magnifications (with eyepieces supplied): x40, x100
  • Maximum practical magnification potential: x400
  • Diameter of primary mirror: 200mm
  • Telescope focal length: 1000mm (f/5)
  • Eyepieces supplied (1.25"): 10mm & 25mm
  • Dual-fit 1.25"/2" focuser, which can also take T-ring adaptor for SLR cameras
  • 0.5mm secondary mirror supports
  • 9x50 Finderscope
  • Direct SLR camera connection
  • Camera mount on top of the telescope mount
  • EQ5 deluxe heavy-duty equatorial mount, with RA motor drive installed
  • Built-in polar alignment scope holder
  • Stainless steel tripod with accessory tray
  • RA motor drive controller and battery pack, with adaptors to allow you to use AA batteries with it (batteries not included)
  • Instruction manuals for telescope and RA motor drive
  • All in good working order, with a few scratches on the outside of the tube - these are only cosmetic, caused when rotating the telescope in the mount while in use.

And here's some pictures of the kit - hover over them for info, and click for larger versions:

SkyWatcher Explorer 200 telescope

SkyWatcher Explorer 200 telescope

SkyWatcher Explorer 200 telescope

Controller for RA telescope motor drive

Battery pack for RA telescope motor drive

Telescope accessory tray

Telescope camera mount

Telescope focuser with 2" eyepiece adaptor

Telescope focuser with 1.25" eyepiece adaptor

Interior of SkyWatcher Explorer 200 telescope

10mm and 25mm eyepieces

Telescope instruction manuals

Scratch on telescope

It can't really be posted, so must be collected, though I can deliver it for a suitable fee for fuel use, and would be happy to give a lesson in setting it up and using it. Do post comments if you have questions, or email me directly if you are interested in buying it. It'll be going on ebay in a couple of days...

I also have some other eyepieces for higher magnification (200x and 250x), but I'm selling these separately as they're about £35 each when new.


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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Rye Christmas Procession 2011

A friend arranged for me to get up on the balcony at The George to do a timelapse video the the Christmas Procession, so here you go:

Meanwhile Tracy was down at ground level and got some good video, including Captain Jack Sparrow!


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Friday, 9 December 2011

A new woodland ride

I've just finished one of my main jobs this winter - cutting a new ride in my friend Alex's wood, but before I get to that we need to have a look at a few pics of our friend Andrews dog, Dougal, coming on his first visit to the wood. He's a Jack Russell Terrier, and very inquisitive but well-behaved too.




I've put a cover over the wood that we moved down from last winter's cutting, to keep the rain off it:

Anyway, on to this year's work. I've been cutting this ride to create a path into a small clearing we created a couple of years ago, to provide access to extract wood from future coppicing work, and also to add a feature to to the wood which should improve it both visually and for wildlife. So, for Alex, here's a walk-through series of pictures:















I've saved some of the straight stems in 5m lengths for a bridge-building project in the spring, which is needed to get across the seasonal stream at the start of the ride. I need to find a couple more trees for this job, and also level off the remaining stumps in the ride, but the bulk of the work is done now.


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