Monday 24 January 2011

Venus Bramblings

Last Monday was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, but I think this weekend beat it, given the 3 days of glorious sunshine leading up to it, only to find Saturday barely got light, with blanket cloud offering no sign of a let up. Had there been any hope of better weather, I might have been tempted to take up a kind offer of a trip to Hereford for some brambling shots, but I ended up sat in a cold hide at Venus Pools instead.

At least the grim weather hadn't put off the birds, who were feeding in their masses. Don't think I've seen as many chaffinches in one spot, and thankfully amongst them, were half a dozen bramblings.

I took a few shots of them initially, as they fed from the ground, but reviewing the shots showed it to be a rather unattractive setting, and so I started watching branches around the feeders in the hope that I'd see some making their approach, stopping enroute. Took a while but they started to favour this route in, and soon I was then shifting my bum around on the bench in the hide, to try to angle the camera to get a clear shot of the birds, as and when they landed.

Bramblings really are vibrant with their orange chest and shoulders, and flecks of yellow and white down the wings. Just a shame the light was doing its best to dull everything down. However, as with a recent trip to see the short-eared owls, I had set the camera up on full manual mode, and while a few shots came out dark, any shots against a brighter backdrop were fine without having to try to over-expose and hence guess what was needed each time.

It also helped having removed the teleconverter, meaning I was able to get the lens open wide (F4.5 and even down to F4), to get whatever light available, in the camera. Worked, as the shots, while noisy and a bit dark straight from the camera, came up okay after a bit of faffing in my image applications.

Sunday was spent on a golf course, and as usual, I found myself watching the woodland birds flitting around, though the best birdie of the day came when I chipped out of a bunker on a par 3, to see the ball bounce once and land straight in the hole!

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