March 26, 2013

Pictures from a wintry Rivelin Valley

Yesterday I walked down to Rivelin Valley because I wanted to shoot there while the snow still is here.
I only took my wide angle lens with me, which I later regret, because I saw two birds which I had not even had a chance to get close before. First it was Redpoll it is also quite rare here in england.
But just then, I could stand two meters away from it and it did not even bother about me, and the other bird (Redwing) showed up when I was heading home after a small river where it was looking for food and this time it was not at least shy, they usually are really shy.
I could sometimes have the camera as close as 50cm away from it, but if I tried to get a little bit closer it just moved couple of meters. But I was really happy to get that close to this shy bird.
But unfortunately with wide angle lens, you must get incredibly close to the bird to get any good picture.
From now on, I will at least bring my 70-200mm with me if something like that would happen again, which it certainly will not do. :((
On Thursday, we might go to Scotland (Isle of skye) a lot depends on if we get a hotel or the like for it seems to be almost impossible to get it now.
Camera equipment: Nikon D90 and Nikon 10-25mm f3.5.


March 23, 2013

Great Crested Grebe

Couple of days ago I read on Sheffield Ornithological website that there were a couple of Great Crested Grebe in a park nearby and because it is a bird I have not seen before I had to take the chance to shoot them ;)
These birds are known for their mating behavior, they get gifts for each other from the bottom of the lake and show them off, but also do the face to face head-wagging displays. Sometimes when they get close to each other, the heads form a heart which looks very cute :)
They also spread out the feathers on their neck, throat and head to even more impress each other.
I followed them for few hours in the morning in the cold wind, as they were quite active, but then they decided to get some rest so I went back home.
Unfortunately, most often its very hard to get close enough to get really good photos as it was for me this time, but it was still fun to see their mating behavior.
Yesterday and today it's blizzard again and it has come closer 2dm snow. F*, now I really want spring!

Camera equipment: Nikon 3Ds nikon 200-400mm f4 and kenko konverter 1,4.


March 20, 2013

Siskin, Coal Tit, Chaffinch

In the previous blog post, I wrote that I was photographing small birds the last hour after the walk as we did then.
It is always a really tough challenge to shoot small birds,  partly because they are small so u haft to be near them to fill the viewfinder.
And the second is that they are so incredibly fast in their movements, so it's hard to keep up with the camera.
This time, I had no tripod, and holding a camera equipment that weighs almost 5 kg is quite heavy after a while.
But it's still rarely I use the tripod I think it's so heavy and awkward to carry it, and so I do not have a car either if I had it I would probably use the tripod a bit more for it usually gives sharper images.
Today it snows again, I'm starting to wonder when spring comes for real, last year this time, it was large leaves on some trees already, and a lot of flowers in the woods.
Camera Equipment: Nikon 3Ds and Nikon 200-400mm f4 and Kenko 1.4 teleconverter.

I checked the weather forecast just 1.5 weeks ahead and spring does not seem to be here for a while.


Coal Tit/Svartmes

Siskin/Grönsiska, Adult male

March 17, 2013

Round Reservoirs

Yesterday we took the bus out to Fairholmes and from there went around the two reservoirs, from the one called Upper Derwent reservoir to Howden reservoir and back.
Weather did not appear to be promising because it had been forecasted to rain a lot, but there are good clothes these days :) so there were no excuses not to go out.
Said and done, in the morning it started drizzling, but it was so little that we could walk without the rain jackets.
This route is 15km long, but it is very easily walked because you follow a road on one side and there is basically no hills either. It might not sound so fun but at least there was not many cars driving past us.
It's pretty nice to walk along the reservoirs, you get to go along the water and in the forest and then on the other side see the peaks 500m.a.s. Unfortunately they were a bit gray o dull right now.
On the other side back you follow a little wider path, this round is also very popular with mountain bikers as it also can be extended so that it also passes Ladybower reservoir and then its the 24km and many seem to think that just enough (lagom).
The rain never came and we got up to see the sun for couple of hours. The last hour before the bus was spent on that shoot small birds in Fair Holmes but more on that another day.

March 14, 2013

Tawny Owl

Yesterday was a lovely day, I managed to see and photograph an owl in broad daylight.
I cykled to Redmires reservoirs to check if the migratory birds have begun to get there and sure they had it, though it was an icy wind snow on the ground and cold in the air the birds was singing in the bushes and trees it was wonderful to hear :)
I went for a walk on my route I usually do in redmires, first I began to look into a deep ditch for water voles but it was still covered with ice.
So I went up on the moors, and here i saw only sheep and red grouse and it was really cold in the wind so I headed back to a wooded area where I usually see wild rabbits but not today just a lot of tracks of them.
But then I saw that a branch sticking out of the ground looked a bit different and that was because an Owl was sitting on top of it  and warming in the sun, I was very surprised to see a  Tawny Owl because they are nocturnal hunters and rarely turns out so openly in broad daylight.
It sat maybe 20m away from me so I took some quick pictures unfortunately it was of course a twig in the way and ended up in the middle of the owl.
I guickly checked the histogram in the camera so that the picture looked good and when I looked up again, the owl was gone. It's unbelievable it was an open field of 25 * 50m with some shrubs and short birch trees, I dont understand how it could just disappeared so quick. I was hoping  to see it fly away and then maybe take me closer and take better pictures but apperently not this time.

The Tawny Owl is about 37-39cm in length with a wingspan of 94-104cm and can live up to 10 years.
Original picture

Cropped version

March 11, 2013

Finally better weather

Soon, a week has passed since I came home from Sweden and I've hardly been out and I blame the miserable weather.
Started with thick fog for 3-4 days then came the cold, wind and snow as well.
But today it brightened up a bit so I went down to the Rivelin Valley where I usually go to shoot dippers and other birds.
But I only got out the door when it started blowing and snowing heavily, but the weather forecast had promised better weather so I continued.
The rest of the morning was a bit mixed weather with blizzard, sun and everything in between.
Did my usual round and was looking for the Dipper, but I could not see them.
Tried to shoot treecreeper and longtailed tit instead, they're not the easiest thing to take on, they are constantly in motion.
Then I proceeded to the place where I usually turn back, when I saw a big bird flew away, and this is the first time I see a bird of prey here in the woods, it was a buzzard. 
It was nice to see the buzzard probably it's here to hunt ducks in the river.
On the way back home the dipper had arrived so I followed them for some time before I went back home.

Camera equipment: Nikon 3Ds Nikon 200-400mm f4 lens and Kenko 1,4 telekonverter.

March 6, 2013

Last photos from Kalix

Then I'm back home in england again after two nice weeks in Kalix.
Next trip will probably be in July / Aug and then it will be a week's fishing trip in the mountains.
Before I went from Kalix I tried to shoot small birds behind brother's house where he has a feeding place for them.
The bird I was after was the bullfinch, but it was incredibly shy so I did not really know if I would be able to shoot it.
But I sat down to take pictures of other small birds, and then suddenly it came and sat down at the big tree 10m away, so I sat still and waited and hoped that it would get closer as it did.
But it was not as close as I wanted but I had to be satisfied with just getting some pictures of it.
For me the trip meant that i got three new species pictured, may not sound much but it's winter and there are not so many birds there right now :))
The three birds: Hazel Grouse, Parrot Crossbill, and Bullfinch.
Now I'm looking outside and the the weather here in England is cloudy, foggy, rainy and little chilly. And so it will  be for some time, not at all eager to go out and shoot.

Bullfinch (male) Domherre (hane)

Williw tit/Talltita

Blue tit/Blå mes


March 3, 2013

Mixed Pics from Kalix

Then it's just a few days left here in Kalix, before I return to England.
It has been fun to be here, and the weather has been quite nice all the time except for couple of days when it was +8 degrees which made the snow disappeared from the trees.
Me and my brother have been  to Kalix river to look for otters, but without success, we have seen tracks of them so they are there.. We have also tried to shoot dippers without any success, and I have also tried to get close to hazel grouse, but they are incredibly timid and it's not easier when it sounds so much when walking or skiing on the snow especially now after the mild weather that has formed a layer of ice on the snow.

I also have been after the Red Squirrel, they are not the easiest one to spot in the dens spruce forest, but i find one that i followed for couple of days.
For those who do not know, this is a different kind of squirrel that i usually shoot in england (red squirrel), they are a little smaller and they are the red / brown in the summer, but now they have a nice gray / red / white winter coat .