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:


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:




Here's the gap left after we were done:

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:

Meanwhile Tracy was busy having a 'felling frenzy', knocking over 10 trees in under two hours:

I did some more work at the same spot later in the week, slowly advancing up us the hill:

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:


As you can see, the base of the Ash below where I removed the other two stems is pretty chunky:

and here's the big Chestnut stool:

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:

The logs are certainly piling up now, ready for future home heating:

It's still been a chilly week, though it warmed up a bit on Friday. No snow, but plenty of misty mornings:

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.

This one managed to land in our dead hedge, only to find that twigs weren't really strong enough for him to stay there:

And of course the Robins have got accustomed to us working again, and follow us around looking for bugs we might have disturbed:

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:
saturn 03May07


Orion Nebula 2Mar2010

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:
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:

and a Sparrow at 15m:

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.


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