Monday, 25 November 2013

Bits and pieces

Cottoneaster berries
For one reason or another the past week has been disappointingly uneventful with little chance to get out and explore the local countryside, what with illnesses and injuries in the family (nothing serious I'm glad to say) keeping us at home or at least restricting us to minor walks, while I have also been spending much of the week trying out and researching a combination of cameras and lenses for various photo sessions, the results of which I can't show here but have provided some interesting results. The weather has also been largely grey and damp lately with showers coming down off the perennially frigid North Sea and accompanied by an oft raw and biting wind, though a few impressive sunsets did at least provide some fiery spectacles on a couple of evenings.

Poppy seed head in the garden (Nikon D90 & 70-300 4.5-5.6)

One of the many Wood Pigeons whom have been eating the haws in the garden this week (Nikon D90 & 70-300mm 4.5-5.6)

A colourful sunset over the wood (Nikon D90 & 70-300 4.5-5.6)

A fly on Pampas grass (Canon 1D2N & 100mm 2.8L)

Harlequin Ladybird in the garden (Canon 1D2N & 100mm 2.8L)

On Friday afternoon we did manage to get out for a couple of hours and headed down to North Cave Wetlands on what was a cold and showery afternoon. A Black-throated Diver had been reported here on the previous three days but sadly by the time we made it down to the reserve it had departed, which was disappointing as BT Diver is the only species of Diver I have yet to see, but having been cooped up for a few days it was nice just to be out. The reserve was pretty quiet to be honest though a large number of Wigeon were seen and heard, indeed I'm not sure I've ever seen so many Wigeon at North Cave, and Teal were also very numerous, though due to time constraints we were unable to complete a full circuit of the reserve and undoubtedly we missed a few interesting birds as a result.

The view from the East hide at North Cave Wetlands (Nikon D90 & 18-105mm 3.5-5.6)

Late afternoon sky over the wetlands (D90 & 18-105mm)

Wind turbines in the distance (Canon 1D2N & 400mm 5.6L)

Meanwhile yesterday we went for a short stroll in the Wolds with the small and compact valley of Nettle Dale providing a pleasant circular walk. Nature wise the walk provided little interest, though a sizeable flock of Fieldfares was seen, and a flock of at least 1000+ Wood Pigeons was also observed overhead, no doubt spooked by shooting nearby. Pheasants were also numerous, a small number being of the attractive dark variety which are so prized by some shooters, and out on the open arable fields a few Hares were spotted as well as a Roe deer at one point. However the stars of the morning were the handsome and friendly Highland cattle whom along with Galloway and Shorthorn breeds are amongst my favourite types of cattle (not for me the delicate and highly strung beasts which many farmers breed these days what with their associated problems with calving, increased feeding costs, and in some cases aggression).

Friendly highland cow in Nettledale. What fantasic beasties ! (Canon 7D & 40mm 2.8)

Who are you looking at ?

A view across Pasture Dale (Canon 7D & 40mm 2.8)

Crepuscular rays over the rolling fields of the Wolds (Canon 7D & 40mm 2.8)

Returning home I don't know whether any of you noticed the close proximity of the waning gibbous Moon and Jupiter on the night of the 21st/22nd but as I headed out to get the paper prior to dawn on the morning of the 22nd I couldn't resist taking a few quick shots of this celestial close encounter. I have also had the moth trap out twice since my last update and apart from attracting a neighbours cat I have had no luck as regard moths, the third blank session in four attempts during November.

The Moon and Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky (Nikon D90 & 70-300mm 4.5-5.6)

The waning gibbous Moon (Nikon D90 & 70-300mm 4.5-5.6)