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Sunday, 18 April 2010

Hare to day gone tomorrow

Hare today gone tomorrow

Just before I left I bumped into Martin - fair dues to him when I am in the hide he does not come up, and he leaves me to it. He said that they had coppiced some of the reeds the other day and with this they found 8 + Hares. I couldn’t believe it when he told me, so he took me to the location. No signs of them, however there were signs that they had been there recently. Need to look into photographing hares and when best to do it. This will be a task this week.

To do list for this week:

Visit farm at first light and last light to see what is about that time of the morning

Check out the new fields more closely to see if I can find these lizards

Establish a second hide in the oak field next to the location where the hares have been seen so that I can watch and wait for them.

Feed the birds.

Keep and eye on the weather forecast for the next couple of weeks.

Day 7 at the hide and the results

Up early again today to get to the hide before sunrise. Earlier start than last time as it starts getting light by 6 in the morning. Again the car was frozen which is a good sign as it means its going to be a good day. I suppose I am going to have to get used to getting up this early, as I will to do this regularly when I finish my degree.

Got to hide about 06.30 just after sunrise, however the sun doesn’t hit the feed station till around 0730 so all is ok. Fed the birds and got into the hide instantly the two willow tits came to feed and also the neighbourhood was alive with bird noises, with the Nuthatch being the most vocal. In under 5 minutes the Nuthatch arrived to feed. Have decided today not to deploy flashguns as the light is good throughout the day, and I found that the flash guns do not help the image quality in my opinion they hinder it. I set the ISO to 400 if only I had a Mk4 I could set it to ISO 1000. Nothing much happening and the light is not there yet. It is in the top canopy and it is still rather cold. It was minus 2 when I got the the farm. I decided to go for a walk to check out the new fields that Martin has told me about. He said that he saw some lizards in there. I decided to take the camera as well as just my luck I would see something and not be able to photograph it. Found the fields and it seems quite interesting. I think this could be the barn owls hunting ground, will have to check it out at dusk sometime. As the sun was still rising the light was really good. In the new fields were the mountain ponies that they look after. The light on the horses manes was quite interesting so I took a few shots. I also did see two swallows flying around, they must have just come back from Africa. Also the other day I saw a load of frogs' spawn in some of the pools on the farm, they have now hatched and they are tadpoles I will keep a good eye on this to see if I can get some pictures of the little froglets. Check out the link to see how long their life cycle is.

Back to the hide now for a days photography.

Aftet getting back the feeders were more active with the 3 nuthatches comeing in all the time. The one is being very vocal I think it is the juvenile calling for its mother. I intend if possible to get some images of it singing as it would make a good image.

Today I tried some different things. As I do not have the 500 with me I will try to capture some of the birds in their habitat as it can make some interesting shots at times, and it also puts the image into context. Over the last couple of years Andy Rouse has started to do this and his photography has become more sellable and appealed to a bigger audience.


Interesting day today with a few new birds seen in the forest. These include :

A treecreeper looking for bedding material for his nest. This the bird was probably doing as this is the mating season of most birds.

A Redstart. This was an interesting find as I have always wanted to see one of these - such a beautiful small bird. After doing this I went on the Carmarthen birding site to see if there were any seen near by and they have been seen in the RSPB Reserve DInas just up the road.

A male and female Pied Flycatcher, this was probably the best sighting of the lot as this is a migrant bird and not seen in many locations. Fingers crossed it will be seen again this time so I can photograph it.

The usual suspects.

The nuthatch very active today I wonder if they have got more young as they seem to be frantically feeding. The woodpecker is getting closer and closer by the day and also he has got used to the hide as he no longer is getting spooked when the camera is going off. The other thing I have done here is to put the screens down so that he can no longer see me, and as the lens is camouflaged as long as I move it slowly there should be no problem.

I noticed today the Blue tit and the Great tits are not so active. Maybe there is enough food in the forest for them now. I did read yesterday that feeding stations are really active in the winter and early spring.

Grey Squrirrel is also getting used to me as well as he seems not to be bothered by me either. Last week he would run a mile if he saw me at all.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Day 6 at the hide and the results

Tested the Mk4 yesterday really happy with the results straight out of the camera images sharp really good results up to iso 1000 after that up to 2000 as long as muted backgrounds images fine, if blacks in it they showed noise. Iso 400 was an amazing iso really good results pin sharp throughout. Really impressed with the camera.

Happy with the results today really impressed with camera got some different stuff today lighting really good.. Woodpecker got closer again however spooked really easy I need to put the curtains down so that he cannot see me. Will try to visit in the week.

Weather forecast next couple of days

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Testing of the canon 1d MKiv at WWT Slimbridge and the hide

Tested the Mk4 yesterday really happy with the results straight out of the camera images sharp really good results up to iso 1000 after that up to 2000 as long as muted backgrounds images fine, if blacks in it they showed noise. Iso 400 was an amazing iso really good results pin sharp throughout. Really impressed with the camera.

Happy with the results today, really impressed with camera got some different stuff today. Lighting really good.. Woodpecker got closer again however spooked really easily - I need to put the curtains down so that he cannot see me. Will try to visit in the week.

Weather forecast next couple of days. (double click on it to open in seperate window)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Day 5 at the hide and the results

Went up to the hide today left around 07.30. I decided to do this as the weather forecast is changing by the hour. I could not risk not having good weather next week so I went up today. Not sunny today although nuthatch again very active and very vocal. The woodpecker is getting more confident today and is coming closer, however he is spooked by the noise of the camera going off. If only I had the Nikon D3s that has a silent shutter setting - maybe I would get him.

Tomorrow I pick up the 1D Mk iV for trial. I can’t wait to try it as I have heard good reviews about it, and photographer Danny Green says it is really worth owning. I will test it on all isos to see what the noise is like. I wonder how it compares to the Nikon D3s. Tests will tell me.

It will be interesting to see how it reacts, as being able to use higher isos will give me higher shutter speeds hopefully giving me sharper images.

Surprising results today. New addition to the station very successful, nuthatch coming to it regularly he is rather quick though need to get the aperture right so that the image is sharp. Also need to prefocus on it so that I do not miss a shot.

Woodpecker got really close today managed to shoot two frames off before it flew off. Quite happy with the shots though as the one is different to what you normally see.

Flashes deployed today, not happy with what results it is giving now. Now that the light is good it seems too harsh with flash.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Fencing of the hide and why

Back up at the farm today to check the feeders, and with the aim to put the hide there on a semi permanent basis. This was achieved with a bit of effort and help from my wife. I was quite happy with how it turned out as there is room, if needed to put another hide there. The surprise of the day was to see the Goshawk fly over. I knew there were a couple in the area but had not seen one for about a year. The good things was Helen saw it too.

Feeders busy after I had refilled them and after we had stopped making noise.

Went for a walk after to see what else was about, nothing much disturbing however had a chat with Martin and his dad and they gave me a few locations to look for other wildlife on the farm. Also they have said that they have seen some of the young rabbits about. I still need to be there at first light either in the hide or on the farm looking for other wildlife.

Did notice that the light was staying on the feeders for longer today as before it had gone by 3 o'clock. This is good as it extends my time in the hide.

The next 2 weeks are going to be vital in what I see and are going to need a lot of time up on the farm to get more images to bolster my portfolio.

With the good weather, hopefully this will happen.

I have been in contact also with another friend who owns a couple of farms in Brecon to see what he has around there. The more the merrier in my opinion.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Filling of the feeders and the weather.

I went up to the farm today to refill the feeders and to check that every thing was ok. I wanted really to fence off the hide so that it could be left there. The new addition to the hide seems to be a success as the log was empty again of food. Refilled the feeders heavily so that I do not have to visit for a while as the weather is not very good for the next couple of days. However Sunday is good and I intend to fence off the hide with the help of my wife Helen. This also gives me the opportunity to show her what I have been up to.

See weather reports below. (Double click on them to open them in a new window).

For the weather reports I used the accuweather website I use this as I have it on my iphone. Also it allows you to see around 15 days in advance, which is great as this then allows to me to plan ahead when to go the hide.