Saturday, 9 January 2010

A Week of Snow

 The recent few weeks of cold and snowy weather has given new opportunities in my photography, not just visually, but what can be seen and with wildlife behaviour.  The weather conditions have continued to put both myself and my equipment to the test with temperatures getting as low as –10c.  The main problems seem to be cold hands (having only one layer protecting them) and battery drain despite having three camera batteries.


The days started with arriving on location before sunrise in the hope to catch the ‘night shift’, wildlife that normally spends the night hunting or foraging and returns at dawn to their daytime lay-ups. I was particularly hoping to catch foxes or deer.


After going to a few locations, there was the usual suspects, particularly enticed with some food.  Animals that would normally stay well away from people are much more approachable if there is something for them to eat in this weather, where every day is one of survival for them.


Blackbirds squabbling over available food.


With newly fallen snow there were plenty of tracks to find.  The snow gives you the chance to find out what animals are about and their comings and goings.  From the above tracks I new that their were foxes, roe deer and rabbits active and since there had been a recent snow fall that night, these were recent – the last few hours.  Newly made tracks at these same locations where made every day, so I new these could be good locations to wait for photo opportunities at a later date, though many of these were probably made at when it was still to dark for photography.


I followed one set of tracks, foxes, to see where they led.  They mostly seem to follow a set route with occasionally crisscrossing with another fox, being sometimes diverted but always coming back to a path also used by people.  Most animals are creatures of habit and will follow the easiest path they can and at a similar time so the snow meant I new where these were for a later date.


As I followed the tracks along a river, I came across this Heron.  Normally, the first sight of a human and these birds would be off, but this one seemed ok with my being near so I was able to take a number of photos before I left it in peace and continued on my way. 


Seemed no shortage of birds about including this Nuthatch. Also saw glimpses of a Kestrel and Red Kites.


Robins at this time of year will often approach you if they see you eating and I’ve had them eating out of my hand before, but this one was a bit more cautious. 


Despite there being Roe Deer tracks everywhere, this was the only glimpse I was able to get of one. 


At this time of year the days are short, with the sun never really making it very high in the sky and soon the light was fading as was I and my camera batteries, so, disappointed I was unable to get any really good photos and no glimpse of a fox, I headed home.

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