"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

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Marsh Lane NR and the Wishaw Lanes

We made a brief visit to Marsh Lane NR on Friday afternoon - it was very cold! I can't believe that I hadn't visited since mid October - where does the time go? I took the Canon Bridge Camera with me even though I still haven't had time to read the manual. To be honest I am finding it quite hard to get used to as I am using the "live-view" screen whereas on the Olympus dslr I always use the viewfinder. No doubt I'll get used to it in the end.

Car Park Pool from one of the viewing screens. Actually the viewing screens have been turned into hides since my last visit - am hoping they are going to add some seats!

Railway Pool from Oak Hide - the channel in the foreground contained about 6

Common Snipe.

I did keep an eye out for any wildflowers whilst walking round as the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland is asking for records for plants in flower for their New Year Plant Hunt. I could only see Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus)

and Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Sorry poor photos - am also having problems telling whether the photo is in focus!

It was too cold to stay as long as I had hoped but I did make a good start on the 2015 Bird List!

Today I drove over to the Wishaw area with D. I used to go birding in this area a lot several years ago when E used to attend Pony Club at the stables and I always had a couple of hours to while away the time every Saturday afternoon. At first glance it doesn't look a promising area for birds as most of the hedgerows have been ripped out :( to create huge prairie type crop fields. However, its an area well known to local birders and recent sightings have included Merlin, Corn Buntings, Grey Partridge and Golden Plover. Needless to say I didn't spot any of those species but I did add Green Woodpecker to the year list along with Fieldfare - a flock were foraging in one of the fields.

Misty Murky fields at Wishaw - just love the drawing on the silage bale!

Added Mallard (can't believe I failed to spot this species at Marsh Lane - I must have overlooked it somehow) and Moorhen to the year list at a small pool but D decided to take a photo of this white duck instead!

A rather lovely weather vane on one of the cottages.


Jerry said...

Hi RR, this looks the most perfect place to get the new 2015 list underway. It's such a fantastic time of year when everything can 'count' again! I must admit it was the first thing I thought of when I woke on the 1st Jan and still lying in bed I could hear firstly a Collared Dove and then a Woodpigeon. Hope 2015 turns up lots of great birding moments for you. Jerry

Ragged Robin said...

Jerry Hi Jerry and thanks so much. I wish you many great birding moments in 2015 too :) Same thought crossed my mind on 1st January :) Never get a very high bird list as mainly do local birding but it is fun to try and beat the previous year's total :)

amanda peters said...

I'm hoping to make more time this year to see more birds, how nice to see a Snipe (not on my list yet)and really look for flowers I have missed. Thanks for the mention on BSBI, have not been on this site before !Going to find my first flower..
Amanda xx

Countryside Tales said...

Saw a flock of over 30 Goldfinches in an oak down our lane a couple of days back- zero in the garden and it's only a matter of a few metres further along. At least they're there I suppose. Loved the Snipe and the picture quality of the new camera is looking good and crisp :o)

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks Amanda - BSBI is an interesting website. With the mildish weather people have been finding a lot of species in flower - far more than my two!! Good Luck with your birding this year.

Countryside Tales - Thanks CT - apart from yesterday when it was very cold and frosty, we are not getting many species feeding in the garden at the moment. Have had a few goldfinches eating silver birch seeds but only one visited the feeder :( Usually they are the most numerous species on the feeders - there must be plenty of natural food available.

Toffeeapple said...

Your Snipe shot is amazing, how on earth did you spot it?

I shall investigate the BSBI site, I like to learn about nature, thanks for the info.

I don't know how you manage to frame a shot if looking at the screen, I can only manage it if I use the viewfinder!

I s the white duck a hybrid of some kind do you think?

SeagullSuzie said...

I had just the same feeling when I got the bridge camera...couldn't get on with it at all and wondered what I'd done. However as you have seen I did manage to work it out and it has taken some great images. I love it more for being an all rounder 'take anywhere' kind of camera, small-ish and light, I know that whatever the situation it'll capture something good.
Looking forward to your birding images from Marsh Lane and I hope I can join in more with bird images from Broadsands.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much. Luckily, I knew the channel was a good spot to see snipe. I could have spent ages there but I was with my husband and he was so cold he just wanted to return to the car!!

I agree about the viewfinder - I only ever use it with the olympus. In fact, I have never used the screen but the view finder on the Canon bridge seems a lot smaller. I will have to try both methods!

Plantlife is another good website for plants and flowers. Lots of really interesting stuff on both websites.

I think you are right about the duck - I suspect it has some "domesticated" duck genes too!

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much for your re-assuring comments re: the bridge camera. I must admit I have had the same thoughts!! but I agree with you about it being such a great allrounder.

I think part of the problem is I am trying to run before I can walk and I really do need to find a few hours to read through the manual and then practise/experiment with it. I know I spent hours doing this with the dslr until I knew the camera and controls inside out. Possibly, too I am trying to use it in the same way as I use the dslr and perhaps you need different techniques??

I am not sure if you will see this reply but when taking bird photos do you use aperture priority on your bridge and, if so, what aperture do you use? I am wondering if I ought to use the "sport" mode or speed priority to try and get higher shutter speed. The camera is supposed to have built in IS but a lot of the bird photos I am taking are coming out "blurred".

I really do look forward to seeing your bird images from Broadsands and all your other photos too. It must be so wonderful to live so close to the sea :)

SeagullSuzie said...

I think you are right about trying to use it in the same way as the DSLR, it wont work! I was so frustrated with it at first and I too had mostly out of focus images. I just couldn't understand why I couldn't get those shots. Reading the manual will help but the advice of the guy in the shop was, just use it all the time and get used to it. I have used sports mode and P mode with ok results. I had no idea what the intelligent auto was up to so stopped using it! I think I finally discovered it was all about the focus settings, so you should try looking at those and changing them accordingly. I watched YouTube for tutorials and bought a separate users manual (a kind of idiots guide-which worked for me!!). Hope that helps-any more questions just ask. In truth I can't quite remember how and when I started to get it right, but with constant use it just sort of worked..after much gnashing of teeth.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much Suzie for all the useful information in your comment - it has helped a lot especially knowing someone else had similar problems initially and particularly that eventually you were able to solve them!

The manual is a pain (actually it was one thing that nearly stopped me buying the camera) as its on a disc and you have to load it on the computer every time you want to look at it. I did think of trying to print it off but its 250 odd pages!! I will look out for the separate users manual and the you-tube tutorials too. Main problem at the moment is lack of time to try and get to grips with it all. My husband very suddenly took early retirement at Christmas and whilst its lovely to have him around all the time it has meant that I don't like to just sit around on the computer or play around with the camera for hours each day which I would have done if still in the house on my own in the daytime!!!

Am really grateful to you for your words of encouragement. I'll try and set aside an hour each evening to look at manual and then, as you say, practise.. practise....practise....!!!

Thanks so much again.

SeagullSuzie said...

You know, I just went out this morning with my new (second hand) Nikon body and took mostly out of focus bird shots...much to my annoyance! I think I've become so used to the bridge camera I can't work the DSLR.....more gnashing of teeth. Like you time is against me right now. Good look.

Bovey Belle said...

What a good start to the New Year. I bet it was a tad chilly on that walk though!

I just have a Fujipix S1000 but the instructions for that are on a disc, so I never see all the things it can do, but just the basic functions I have been able to find through using it. And that's just a basic camera! (Or is it?!!!)

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Oh No!! What a nightmare!! I can see that sort of thing happening to me if I start to use the bridge camera regularly (once I've got the hang of it!!). Good Luck to you too and I hope we both find some extra time soon.

Bovey Belle - Thank you - yes,it was really cold. There always seems to be a cold wind whizzing along the paths at Marsh Lane especially in the Winter!

Have just googled the Fujipix S1000 - looks as though it does have some good features!! Must admit I find a printed manual so much easier to flick through! We have an ancient fuji camera (which is very basic and just point and shoot) but my son used to get some great photos with it.

Rambling Birder said...

An interesting read as always RR, I liked the picture of the Snipe as they are one of my favourite birds. The 'grinning' bale is funny too :-)

I sincerely hope you get used to the new camera as these shots do show its potential. Bridge cameras do feel painfully slow and a bit 'clumsy' compared to DSLR's but as SS has pointed out they do make great all-rounders.

Kindest regards :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Rambling Birder - Thanks so much for your kind words :)

Am going to make a real effort this weekend to try and read some of the manual and at least get used to the basic controls of camera and then take it in the garden and practise! At the moment its so much easier to reach for the dslr when I go out!! :)