Wednesday, 17 December 2014

An hour with a mossy log at Grafton Underwood

How to have some fun and great image opportunities with a mossy log, or if you live in an arid area just a short length of tree trunk.

There are a lot of better bird photographers than I, I have to work hard on field craft to get my humble results due to the limitations of my lens.

1. Find some quiet but accessible mature deciduous woodland on the edge of which there is cover that birds can perch on and in.  Make sure that you can easily park your car  offside on with the sun behind you and the area to be seeded close to the cover between your car and the woods..  

2. Over a couple of visits feed a mix of seed and peanuts onto the selected area which should be well lit, keep the seeded area tight and concentrated, just a mound covering an area no more than 150mm x 150mm square. 

3. Find a small moss covered log, say, 300mm wide, and put it down on the ground where you have been feeding and then add the feed tight up against it on the side facing your car.

4. The birds will come and land on the log before dropping down to feed giving a natural look and background to your photographs, in my humble opinion there is nothing worse than images of birds standing on seed.

It's not necessary with a bit of thought, planning and creativity you can get around it, and believe me I know nothing as an enthusiastic amateur !  

You may not get it right first time, I didn't, so develop your patch until you are getting the most from it.

I have reached the stage where the birds start to gather in the cover before I have even finished parking the car, its not unusual for them to come down to the log whilst I am still adding the feed.

The distance between my car and the log is approximately four / five meters, oh and don't forget to use a bean bag to rest your camera on the door frame and if possible green gloves to disguise hand movement when targeting your subject.   

I hope that it works for you should you try it, the real benefit is that the birds enjoy additional food especially when the weather hardens.

                                     Do not disperse the seed - keep it concentrated

Blue Tit
A very feisty and territorial Robin fighting all comers !
Coal Tit
Great Tit

                                                              Marsh Tit

Other species in attendance were Nuthatches, Chaffinch, Blackbirds and Bullfinches.

It would be great if eventually I can add Brambling to the list.

The Trees also contain Treecreepers, Jays and Great Spotted Woodpeckers with Sparrrowhawks, Buzzard and Red Kites overhead.

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