Wednesday, 28 May 2014

More clearing up windblown trees

I carried on clearing the windblow today. Here's how part of it looked at the end of yesterday:


and here's how it looked at lunchtime today:


As before, some of it is firewood, but some is useful for other purposes, such as these sections which will make nice waist-high chopping blocks (glove for scale):

and these which will be turned into stools:

Finally, here's a stem I left on the upturned coppice stool, to see what kind of shape tree it grows into:



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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Windblow into produce

With the Ashden Awards successfully completed last week, I've got a week off to catch up on everything else. One of the jobs in the wood was doing something with the windblow that came down a few months ago. The first batch is now converted into split logs for firewood:


big, straight logs for use in making benches and stools (click for videos):

and longer straight logs for building stuff, plus some logs for making stakes:

There's still some more windblow to clear up, though I think I might leave one of the stems as they're growing new shoots from the side now, so it might make an interesting tree one day!


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Saturday, 24 May 2014

Chicks hatched at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

The Black Headed Gull chicks are out!



Here's a short video of them:

Interestingly, they've only hatched in one of the lakes, I guess the birds nested there earlier. On the other side there's no chicks, and lots of Sandwich Terns:

Plus a few Oyster Catchers too:

Next update in a few days...


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Monday, 19 May 2014

Great Tits nesting in an iron pipe!

Birds nest in the strangest places... Check this video out, showing a Great Tit going to feed its chicks inside an iron pipe we left leaning against our log store in the woods:

Here's a few still pictures too, showing the parent waiting near the nest to check the nearby humans aren't a threat:
DSC_0560 Great tit nesting

About to enter the nest, with a beak full of food:
DSC_0561 Great tit nesting

And finally, coming back out, ready to go and collect more food:
DSC_0563 Great tit nesting

Nice to see them doing well, when you're near the pipe you can hear the chicks chirping.


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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Common Terns and Sandwich Terns mating at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

After our last trip to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, I resolved to visit about once a week to see the progress of the birds nesting and the chicks emerging. Well, the Black Headed gulls are still there, and making an awful lot of noise!


I took a short video so you can get an idea of the racket they're making:

Some of them seem to have got a bit carried away with their nest building....

The gulls are now sharing the islands with Terns, some of which are mating:


Again, a short video:

This weekend I learned how to tell the difference between a Common Tern and a Sandwich Tern, both of which were present. Here's a Common Tern, which has smooth head feathers and an orange beak with a black tip:

while at the top right of this picture (click for a larger version on Flickr) are Sandwich Terns, whose head feathers look like spiky hair and whose beaks are black with a yellow tip.

Looking forward to seeing some chicks hatching soon!


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Monday, 12 May 2014

Terns and Gulls at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Following on from my previous post, I also went down to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve near sunset to try out the new camera down there and see how well it did in lower light. Combined with the long Tamron lens I got last year, it did a very nice job of catching these two Common Terns, one with a fish in its beak:



The main wildlife attraction down there at the moment is the Black Headed Gulls, which are nesting on the islands in the lakes:

This one looks like he's making a speech, and the others are listening!

"I'm coming in to land, get out of the way!"

I couldn't see any eggs yet, and some birds were still mating:

There was one which didn't seem to have found a partner, so was going around trying to mate with any other bird sat on a nest, which didn't go down too well:


Unsurprisingly some fights developed, and I got this sequence of photos:



There was also a bird with a nest on a floating raft of some sort, and although there was easily space there for a couple more nests, it was defending its territory vigorously!

I did also try a few 'arty' shots, at an earlier time of day when there was more light, such as this HDR one:

and also a few selective colour ones:




Looking forward to getting down there again soon and looking to see if the gulls have had chicks...


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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

New camera in the woods - bluebells and butterflies

Sorry for the lack of posts - I've been getting to grips with my new camera, a Nikon D5300, and also some new software to process the photos, Adobe Lightroom. Anyway, I'm back now, and here's a selection of photos from the woods...

May is always a good month for butterflies, and now I can capture images of them in even higher resolutions! :-) Here's a Peacock sunning itself:


and also a female Orange Tip, which confusingly does not have orange-tipped wings like the male does...

The Brimstone butterflies are out too, and this one actually sat still for me:

Bees are out too - I think this one is a 'Large Red-tailed Humble Bee', but not too sure on that:

and I've no idea what this one is, as I've not got its whole body visible:

Dragonflies are beginning to appear as well:

But the birds are harder to photograph now, with the leaves hiding them, as with this Great Tit:

As well as the usual photos, I've also been trying some of the special features in my new camera. One of them is selective colouring, where you can pick up to three colours to include, with various parameters, leaving the rest of the picture in greyscale. For example, Bluebells with only the blue showing:

And again, but with blue and green this time:


It worked nicely on this daisy:

and also this Lesser Celandine (?):



I also tried a few using HDR (High Dynamic Range) plus a 'sketch' effect:


Plenty more to come in due course...


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