Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Vole time

This bank vole was one of a pair feeding under Rhododendron bushes. He was very friendly and became addicted to sunflower seeds, often taking 4 into his mouth at a time and scuttling off to hide them. Hard to get good photos of them as the light was very poor.

Crazy Canadas

The sculpture park lakes are alive with Canada Geese arguing, fighting, chasing and getting generally upset. They expend huge amounts of energy setting up and defending a territory.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Happy Herons

The Grey Herons are well into their breeding season with both island nests occupied. The males are getting very excited.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Elusive Treecreeper

Getting a good photo of these little beauties has been a winter project of mine. Many hours have been spent in the park tracking down these birds. Worth it in the end.

Just look at the length of that hind claw!!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Signs of Spring

The sculptures have been scrubbed clean with a man with a bucket and brush and the Lower lake is looking well after being frozen for so many weeks. White Butterbur is flowering and the Snowdrops are making a fine show.

At last the signs are here for all to see. The blue tits are really laying into one another as they set up terrritories.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Flying Free

Really cold days now. Down to -4C last night. Everything covered in snow. Nice to keep the food going for the birds. They really seem to appreciate it.

My winter project of bird flight shots is coming together at last. Anticipation and quick reflexes are needed, as well as copious supplies of peanut butter.
Some of the birds are getting very agressive, especially the Robins and Nuthatches.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Let There be Flight

Had a little time experimenting with flight shots down at the Sculpture Park now the sun has decided to honour us with its presence. The speed at which the birds fly makes it very difficult to freeze the motion of their wings but I tried.

For the photographers amongst you I had to use 1/3200th of a second exposure at f6.3 with a Nikon D3 and 600mm f4 lens to capture the movement of this Nuthatch and Coal Tit. The ISO was also at 3200 in order to get these high shutter speeds . I'm looking forward to the sun rising higher in the sky as spring heads our way, giving me higher light levels to play with.

I have a passion for flight shots as they are so hard to acheive and show the bird in its true element. Static poses are OK but do not capture the true nature of the bird.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Nellie the Elephant

It's amazing what a little bit of snow will do to enhance tha natural sculptures in the park. This beech had an amazing elephant's head growing out of it.

I'm so Pretty

Such a handsome bird and he knows it. This Great Spotted Woodpecker coudn't resist the peanuts pushed into an old rotting branch. He certainly knew how to pose. Any other bird coming within pecking range was sent packing with that lethal weapon on his.

Lots of birds have been coming to food left out for them. Competion in the cold weather led to some strange antics.

Tried to get some photos of the birds in flight. Not easy as the light was always dismal as the sun is still very weak at this time of year and the birds are so fast!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Double Trouble

The Grey Squirrels are once again rampant in the park. 4 today eating everything in sight and not a bit bothered by human presence. They are sooooo short-sighted. It's a shame there are no Red Squirrels in the park. I wonder of YSP would support a captive breeding programme as other areas of the UK have done. Perhaps there are not enough conifers to support the reds as their digestion cannot cope with the tannins in acorns and such foods as well as the greys can.

The pair of adult swans that raised 5 young last year have succeeded in evicting two of their brood. The male is constantly chasing the youngsters who don't seem to understand why dad is always after them. He is using a huge amount of energy up.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Goosander are becoming more confiding as the winter wears on. The robins are loving the suet pieces and peanut butter left out for them.

In the Bleak

Brrrrr! Everything frozen.... again. At least the sun came out for once.