"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 3 January 2011

A start to the 2011 Bird List

I managed to drag my husband away from decorating daughter's bedroom to pay a brief visit to Ladywalk Nature Reserve (a West Midland Bird Club Reserve) at lunchtime today. It was cold - about 2.5 degrees centigrade - and dull with grey skies. No sign of the forecasted sunny weather. In fact, I've forgotten what the sun looks like!

The feeders in the car park were full of robins, blue and great tits, dunnnocks, chaffinches, four bullfinches and a willow tit with a fieldfare perched in a nearby tree.

Walking along the footpath that leads to the reserve we watched a goldcrest foraging among brambles for several minutes. Its always nice to see a small bird like this having survived the recent cold spell of weather. The river Tame runs alongside the path and we saw mallard and tufted duck on the river and a grey wagtail on the riverbank.

We spent about an hour in the hide which overlooks the various feeders and bird tables. Species seen included blue, great and long-tailed tits, chaffinches and greenfinches, great spotted woodpecker, dunnocks, blackbirds and robins, male and female pheasant, moorhen and reed buntings. The highlight was a visit from 2 redpolls.

The pools in the distance still looked frozen and unfortunately we didn't have time to walk over to the hide which overlooks the reedbeds where bitterns are often spotted in the winter. No sign of the lesser spotted woodpecker or brambling on this visit.

I did take some photos as it was the first time since Boxing Day I had had chance to try out the new lens. They are really only record shots as the light was very poor again.

Record shot of the redpoll

Long-tailed tits

A few photos of male and female pheasants

Apart from the occasional cropping especially on moth photos, I don't usually alter or edit my photos but I altered the contrast on this photo using olympus software and it certainly improved the photo slightly. One of these days I'll find the time to have a look at photoshop.

Halfway through the visit the light deteriorated even more and I bumped up the ISO from 800 to 1600 which turned out to be a massive mistake as the photos turned out really grainy. I think 800 is the maximum olympus can cope with. Even though its a poor shot I was pleased to get one of a blue tit in flight (with a couple of reed buntings on the feeder).

I'll post an update on birds seen in the garden later in the week.


Dean said...

Good to hear that you had a good start Caroline.

Regards photoshop. I tried & tried to master it but got nowhere. Think you`ll need a degree in something for that particular editing software.

Pete said...

think you can more than 800 out of the newist sensor but....

the redpoll was a nice spot. not seen one for a year i think

Ragged Robin said...

Dean - Thanks - I was especially pleased with the goldcrest and redpoll.

Photoshop does look complicated - my son takes videos and then turns them into comedy sketches using Photoshop but it takes him hours and hours. Think I'd rather spend the time birdwatching and trying to improve my photography !

Pete - I'm just hoping the photos will improve with better light :D
Was very pleased with the redpoll sighting as the one's I saw in the garden haven't returned as far as I know.