Saturday, January 16, 2010

Birds on Ice

Snow has been a rare occurrence in recent years where I live. The cold snap that descended upon the UK over the last few weeks has made a welcome change and provide a chance to photograph some birds amongst the snow. A ground covering of snow can create some beautiful lighting conditions with the undersides of birds becoming illuminated by the reflected light. It can also create some exposure headaches and the white can easily fool the camera's exposure meter resulting in dark photographs and grey snow. This can be overcome by dialing in some positive exposure compensation.

My recent efforts of birds in the snow are a compilation of two sessions and so there will be quite a few photographs on this post. The first was in some local woods around Christmas, although snow is a generous description as it was more of a layer of frozen hail that crunched under foot. Starting of with a real exposure challenge, a fine looking magpie.

A Stock Dove foraging through the ice bound leaf litter.

A pristine male chaffinch. It seems quite hard these days to find chaffinch that have not been affected by foot disease.

With next year's Christmas e-card in mind I couldn't resist a few robin photographs.

The next session was last weekend when there was a reasonable layer of proper snow to try some for some Fieldfare and Redwing photographs. The prolonged cold weather and shortage of food has resulted in large numbers of these birds arriving in back gardens, although not mine, so I headed out to find some.

The Redwing were playing hard to get and tending to be skulking in areas below bushes where the snow had melted.

The Fieldfare were more accommodating and must have been very hungry as they were feeding on Sea Buckthorn berries which in milder winters I have seen them completely ignore.


The birds were striking some interesting poses in the low late afternoon light.



Last photograph of a bird lurking on the edge of the shadows

The snow has all melted now and I think just in time as the birds were beginning to really look as if they were struggling for food. If you have been putting food and water out for them in the cold weather please continue to do so as they will need to build up their reserves.


Suzie said...

Richard - unbelievable photos,
you live in a blessed area.
We have lots of birds here,but
not such beauties.


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Mary Howell Cromer said...

Your photographs make me feel I could just reach out and scoop up the different birds, they are all so lovely, sharp and crisp~ Very, very nice indeed~

Coastcard said...

Great photos - the snow makes an amazing backdrop.


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