Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Padlocks and Cloud at Whitacre Heath

Sunday started brightly, and I was desperate for some photos since Saturday's visit to Marsh Lane had been a bitterly cold disappointment, seeing nothing of interest at all. Sunshine and winter - it seemed to be a perfect day for Whitacre Heath.

Upon arrival at the gate, I wondered why there was a car parked on the road, and a few moments later I realised why. The padlock wasn't working. Frozen or broken, it wasn't opening. Not a massive annoyance for me, as I could park elsewhere, but for the poor chap who had got access earlier on and now couldn't get out, it was providing a bit more of an obstacle!

Fortunately, the owners of the other car returned, and we all worked together to undo the bolts on the chain, and then lift it over the post. Unfortunately, whilst this was going on, the cloud had returned, and it was no longer ideal to be there. What the hell, I was going to have a look around anyway.

Straight to the woodland feeders, which were empty, and little was about. But, I'd come prepared with some seed from home, and within moments of sprinkling it about, the flocks descended upon it.

Nothing spectacular though. I had hoped for redpoll and siskin, but it was the usual suspects of robins, chaffinches, blue, great, coal, and willow tits, pheasants, goldfinches (though they never came near enough for pics), reed buntings, blackbirds and dunnocks.

The highlights of a dull day were seeing the frequent attacks from the local sparrowhawks, a passing jay, a brief visit from a great spotted woodpecker and a darting nuthatch, which was in and out before I could get anything decent of it.

Most of the shots taken that day were at ISO 1000, so if any look okay, it's more to do with the abilities of the camera and subsequent post-processing, than the photographer. And after nearly 3 hours sat in the hide, in freezing conditions, it took till about 10pm to finally start to feel warm again. Brrrr!!

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