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Monday, February 2, 2015

Back in the Forest



             Parkend Church/Cyril Hart Arboreta Gloucestershire UK Cold sun and Cloud 4c

The jet lag was brutal, to shake the cobwebs out of my head I had my brother drive me to the nearest twitch. I needed a fix and quick. Three Common Crossbills had been visiting trees around Parkend Church in the Forest of Dean. When I arrived half a dozen photographers were already on the scene, as were a number of birders. I didn't have to wait long when the crossbills arrived in the Beech tree above us. Five minutes later they came down for a drink in a muddy puddle, ground out by the many cars converging on the area.
Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) which in North America is called Red Crossbill. Confusing Eh!

Female Common Crossbill
A grainy ID shot using auto ISO, I don't like this function but shooting with Tamron 150mm-600mm in low light gave me ISO 2000. However I am sure if I had some other software I could subdue the noise in the image.

After a while I began to loose the sensation in my toes due to the very overly cold weather sweeping over the country. There is snow in some places but plenty of winter birds to see and possible rarities.

I headed for the car where my non-birding brother was still happy reading the paper. With heater blazing we made our way to the Cyril Hart Arboreta where I was told a fallen tree was a great place to take pictures of some of the more commoner UK birds. Sure enough somebody had laid out seed and bread on the trunk and many species were taking advantage of the situation. This was the perfect way to get over the jetlag blues.
All the following images were taken from the comfort of the car. I was still using the auto ISO just to eke out enough shutter speed.


Female Blackbird (Turdus merula)
A bird of nursery rhymes and pop songs. Who can forget Paul McCartney's song Blackbird and lyrics. The male (below) has one of the sweetest songs and as the song implies, Blackbirds do indeed sing at the dead of night.

Male Blackbird.
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)


The number of the Song Thrushes have been declining over the last decade. 
As a child I grew up in the countryside. Many mornings I was awoken by a Song Thrush bashing a snail again a favourite rock outside my bedroom window. Fifty years later I finally got my shot albeit minus the snail.



Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
A very common bird, the Chaffinch breeds throughout in the UK except for the the Outer Hebrides


Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
The quintessential British bird, the beautiful Robin is quite tame and a regular visitor to the garden feeder. One fed at my feet while I was photographing the crossbills. They are easily photographed. Probably the most featured bird in English folklore.


Magpie (Pic Pica)
Found throughout Europe and North America where it called Black-billed Magpie.



Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)
Common in England Wales, a year round bird in the UK.

A few more images from the second session at the fallen tree
Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
A ground feeder common in gardens, sometimes called Hedge Sparrow. Found across western and central Europe and the throughout the UK year round.

Great Tit (Paris major)
Another UK all year round species.

Jay (Garrulus glandaruis)
The picture of the Jay was taken from the car while it perched high up in the tree canopy. The Tamron's reach of 600mm or 900mm on the D7100 crop sensor really works well when travelling light. This is good enough for an ID shot of this beautiful but fearsome predator.

For more information about birding in the forest of Dean


Anyway I will try to get out a few more times to see what I can find. Today I saw a flock of Redwing  land in a tree, another lifer but alas no pix.
You win some, you lose some but who cares when they're are birds around.

"It's never too late to start  birding"

John Gordon


1 comment:

  1. Stunning photos John! Hope you are having a great vacation!

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