Sunday, 28 November 2010

Early November Snow

Well, winter’s definitely here.  Normally, in this part of the UK when we get snow it’s around January.  We’ve had over six inches of snow in recent days.  Getting up early in the morning this weekend, the local radio station was saying if you don’t have to go out, stay in which seemed sensible advice with temperatures at around zero and planning on rising and with more snow on the way.  However I like getting out when it is like this, as long as the wind isn’t too strong and you dress warmly in layers, walking around one of my favourite places will usually be quiet with fewer people venturing out and animal tracks all around plus the added bonus that much of the wildlife is less timid and spending more time looking for food.

So it was that I set off dressed up snugly with camera, lenses and food for myself and to entice some wildlife.  Initially, it seemed very quiet with little stirring – amazingly quiet.  When the wildlife started to appear it seemed very cautious and I could only get some long distance images.  I also couldn’t stop long as there were few places that I could find that didn’t require my digging away the snow and despite my wearing two pairs of thick socks, I would soon find my feet getting cold.


Apparently, at this time of year the Robins we have are not our ‘local’ ones but visitors from places such as Russia escaping the cold weather there – not sure what they must think when they end up with this then!  Anyway, they seem particularly friendly though this may have something to do with any food on offer as whenever I did stop for any short periods, up would pop a Robin out of nowhere and although I couldn’t get them to feed out of my hand as in previous years they still came quiet close.  Each location it was the same – first came a Robin then later, a few others and after putting out the last of the food I brought I decided to just walk around enjoying the sunny weather.


In some parts I went, it looked like somebody had let off a giant foam fire extinguisher with everywhere looking like it was covered in foam.  Along the edge of a wood I came across some obviously fresh Fox tracks, as it had snowed heavily recently, so I new they had to have been made in the last hour – possibly the last few minutes, but they turned off into the woods. As well as other Fox tracks there were Roe Deer and other bird prints though no Rabbit. After around five hours I could see some very foreboding clouds rapidly heading my way and decided I really didn’t want to be caught out in another heavy snowfall and so made my way back.

From a photographic point of few, the day had been quiet difficult with, despite the sunlight, it was dark as far as the light getting into my camera was concerned and I had to shoot at 1600 ISO when using my telephoto lens. Surprisingly the battery held out saying it was still a full charge, usually the cold will drain them quickly, though I had two spares in my pockets being kept warm. Despite my telephoto lens having lens cover on it, it still had a bare handle grip which in these temperatures, even through my thermal gloves, felt very cold. Next time I will have to make some kind of cover for this to help prevent this.  I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I prefer this kind of weather in the winter than the ‘normal’ cold, damp and wet weather we would otherwise get.


Fresh Fox tracks leading along the side of a wood



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