Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Friday, 27 December 2013

Friday at the Flicks - Hungry Starlings

About a week ago I dug out the home made log feeders which have peanut butter in holes for birds to dig out. The intention being to try attracting more visits from a Great Spotted Woodpecker. It took most of the week before anything was bold enough to try them out and then it was the Starlings which have started visiting in larger, greedy, squabbling numbers.

Remember - if you are going to put out some peanut butter use an unsalted variety. Most of that made for human consumption has added salt which is bad for the birds.


These are the two varieties I have used.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Let's Face It

Today I received a couple more wood carvings. This time faces which have been sculpted in bamboo roots. I used them to break up the plain wooden walls of the summerhouse and my shed:


I love the facial expressions and will probably invest in a couple more in the New Year.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Was it a Bird? Was it a Kite?

On our first walk of the day on Wednesday, nearing the spot where the tree was blown down a short while ago, something moving behind a house caught my attention:


Very first thought was it looked like a large bird, about the size of a heron. Observing for a bit longer I could see what appeared to be a string attached to whatever it was. Second thought was someone was up early kite flying as the wind was blustery and the object was above the edge of the field behind the house:


It was bitterly cold so I decided to continue on our way home. At lunch time we took a different route but the last walk of the day took us back to the same spot. The object was still bobbing and weaving in the gusts which were stronger and colder that they had been in the morning. This time I decided we would investigate so detoured to amble down the track next to the field. Once the thing came in to sight the penny dropped. A bird scarer designed to resemble a raptor, sometimes hovering, sometimes diving. It consisted of a pole 4 to 5m high with the flying object connected with a springy length of wire.

Silent video:

It really was very effective and there weren't any pigeons or gulls anywhere near that end of the field.


Much better than the very noisy gas cannons which can make the area sound like WW3 has broken out. They could still be heard from time to time but appeared to be further away from the housing than they have been in recent years.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


There was a time when I had quite a few Greenfinches as regular visitors but several years of finch disease has reduced their numbers drastically.

Greenfinch IMG_0425

Monday, 16 December 2013


Last Saturday, Nikon S9050, cropped, unprocessed:

Sunrise DSCN2094

This morning, iPhone4, Camera+ app.
Cropped, processed in Photomatrix Pro v4 and Elements 10:

2013-12-16 08.05.36_tonemapped

Sunday, 15 December 2013

A Farmer's Work is Never Finished

It may have been a lazy Sunday morning for some of us but if you work on the land then jobs have to be done when needed and when the weather allows. Yesterday was very windy and it could well be again by the end of today so using a window of calmer weather this morning was the ideal time to catch with some spraying:




Those booms seem to get wider each year.
A good job they fold up well when travelling by road.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Dive Straight In

I always have the 70D set to burst shooting. A few days ago I was hoping to catch a sequence of shots when a bird visited the Birdy Bistro. The lighting conditions were poor but I did manage to catch the following sequence as a male Chaffinch dived in to grab a seed:

Choose a porthole

Line up with it

Apply the air brakes to slow down

Head first in to the seeds

The Chaffinch had no intention of landing on the perch.
They often fly close, hover, dive in and leave again as soon as they have grabbed a seed.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Friday at the Flicks - Wood Pigeon, Starlings

Just a couple of the regulars this week. There are always two or three Wood Pigeons hanging round the garden cleaning up the seed dropped by the smaller birds. The only problem is they can make more mess than they clear up.

There were several weeks when I hardly saw any Starlings in the garden but I think some of the Winter visitors have now joined the locals so there is usually a noisy session each morning as they squabble over whose turn it is at the Birdy Bistro.

The ticking which can be heard occasionally is the auto focus on the camera being picked up by the built in microphone. I must have a look round for an external one.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you, even the ordinary everyday ones.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

2 Into 1 Does Go

OK. So I'm a sucker for photo processing apps on the iPad and can't resist it when one goes free for a short while. This time it was Blender. Very simple to use. Load two photos from the Camera Roll, or use the iPad's camera to take a photo or two. Adjust the ratio of how much they blend. Save the end result to the Camera Roll or another app. It is possible to mask a part of a photo so only that bit blends. I didn't find that easy to use. Maybe need to practice more.


1st photo
2013-01-09 21.05.04

2nd photo
2013-01-30 13.26.29


 2013-12-02 22.43.02


2013-12-02 22.43.53

The process doesn't suit all subjects, not by a long way, but can produce some interesting arty results. Disappointing that the resulting resolution isn't very high.

All in all, if a couple of Damian Hirst dotty pictures are supposedly worth £30,000+ then the results from this app should be worth well in to six figures.

By yesterday morning her posh, neat elastic leg bandage had degenerated to look like a Nora Batty stocking and was irritating her so I took it off. She was already booked in with the vet for later in the morning to have it removed anyway. Once examined the vet said things were healing well so, as long as I can control the cat chasing antics of my 50mph bull in a china shop, all should be well.

(For those not familiar with Nora Batty, she was a character in a BBC TV  comedy series, Last of the Summer Wine, whose stockings were always wrinkled and looked as though they were creeping down her legs.)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Daytime Moon

This was left over from a few weeks ago:



A bit of video. I always find it interesting with video of the Moon. When we look up and observe it the Moon appears virtually motionless. Of course the Earth and the Moon are constantly on the move through space. This video is in real time, not speeded up, showing just how much they are quickly moving in relationship to each other.

Monday, 9 December 2013


Three photos stitched using ICE:


Single photo processed in Photomatrix Pro v4:


It was pure accident it left the foreground in b/w which I quite like.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Pic Shape - iPad app

Another photography app which went free for one day is Pic Shape which allows various frame / mask type additions to photographs. The foreground and background can have a few modifications to alter colour cast, b/w or pencil drawing. Text can be added with a choice of style, rotation, colour and shadow.  The photo can be resized, moved and rotated if needed which makes it easy to position the main subject in the frame. The app works at a good real time speed. Saving can be done in two qualities. Also, not used here, sections of other photos can be cut and added to the main photo.

A couple of quick trial photos:



I use the app SimpleTransfer to copy photos between the iPad and PC by WiFi

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Penny Borrows a 'Leopard's Leg'

Twice in three days we have been to the vets.Wednesday it was to see to her teeth and gums and a small injury to one paw. Thursday she charges after a cat in the back garden and comes back in with a large scrape and a deep cut to one leg. So Friday we made the return trip to get it seen to.


Here she is with her posh bandage which makes her look as though she has borrowed a leg from a leopard. As she was already on antibiotics for some gum disease the vet just cleaned up the wound and dressed it. It should be healing well within a few days now she can't keep licking it.

Wednesday I forgot she was due for her booster jab but I did remember on Friday so that got done at the same time.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Friday at the Flicks - That Magpie

The first time I have used the 70D hand held for video. The weight of it, a battery pack and a heavy zoom lens took some holding. Even more so as it had to be held away from me so I could see the live view. The mirror is locked up for video.

On reflection it would have been better if I had zoomed out a bit. That would have made for less, or slower camera movement in tracking the bird. I finally got Round Tuit and updated my copy of Corel Video Studio Pro to x6 which is what I used for this video.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

It's Been a bit Blowy

For once the forecasts were accurate. As the day progressed so the wind speed increased with some mighty gusts thrown in. The only damage I've seen so far was when we went for our afternoon walkabout. Our usual round the block route was blocked as an ancient Ash Tree had fallen across the main street:


The extra problem slowing down the clearance is the live wires in the street lamp which was crushed in the process:


Nothing for it - we turned back and retraced our footsteps home.


According to the Lincolnshire Police Twitter feed there have been 150 reported incidents on our roads so far of which 75% are fallen trees.

Fences were the only other things I noticed as suffering, including my oldest panels in the front garden which I expected might disintegrate. In fact three of them have broken in half. It is a good job I had already decided it was about time to replace them so I wasn't too bothered.


There are flood warnings all down this coast as the low pressure combined with high winds and a particularly high tide will cause a storm surge of water down the North Sea. I read that some coastal areas in Norfolk have already been evacuated. Let us hope the surge doesn't match the devastating coastal flooding of 1953. At least we should be better warned and prepared this time. I see there are severe flood warnings for the south of Lincolnshire.

At 6.45 p.m. the Environment Agency confirmed that the North Sea tidal surge is the worst since 1953. Many coastal towns have flood warnings and some sea water has overtopped the sea defences with about an hour to go until high tide.

More Nestbox Investigations

This time (Tuesday) it was Great Tits showing interest. Right at the start of this video a pair can be seen near the top right hand corner:

The zoom effect was created in software. (trakAxPC)

A Great Tit also made a couple of inspections on Wednesday. So far I have not seen a bird venture inside.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


Occasionally a lone Magpie drops in to see what is available:

Magpie 0327

If there is no scattered seed try the apple trees next door:

Magpie 0333

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Webs Eye View

Very misty morning on Monday which showed up many of the spiders' webs.
These were taken with the Nikon S9050 looking through webs, processed in Photomatrix Pro using the Grunge Detail Enhancer then cropped in Irfanview:








Monday, 2 December 2013

Macro on Monday - Answer

Oh dear. It looks as though I had everyone fooled last week with:


It was a close view of the new catkins on my corkscrew Hazel. I always find it amazing how early these catkins are produced. They will stay tightly closed all the way through the Winter cold weather and open up with the warmer weather next Spring. The bush will eventually produce nuts very much like the ones many like to eat:


My grateful thanks to all those who have attempted to identify the mystery photos over the year. I will probably start again in the New Year.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

New Nestbox Investigated

When I replenished my seed stock a short while ago I also purchased a nest box which was on offer at £4.99. It is an unusual shape so was interested to see what, if anything, would use it. One of the reasons it is cheap is that it seems to be designed to fix to a wall so didn't have a back. I used some scrap wood to cover it in.

A few days ago I put it up in a reasonably secluded position hoping to attract a Robin or Wren as that is the size of bird it is designed for:



Today I got Round Tuit and installed a camera to monitor any visitors. Not long after I had finished a Blue Tit was captured investigating the box a couple of times. It didn't go inside but did give the camera the once over!

If you are thinking of erecting a nestbox don't leave it until Spring. Birds start looking late Autumn and early Winter to see what is available and may use the box as a roost through the cold weather.

Every time I remember to look I can see that the Great Tit is still roosting overnight in the camera nestbox:

2013 11  47

Sunsets Get More Spectacular


Sunset 2044

Sunset 2042


Sunset 2047

Sunset 2050

Sunset 2054

Sunset 2057
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