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
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.