Thursday, 7 January 2010
Going For Gold
Access to the countryside has been severely restricted owing to the Arctic weather we are currently experiencing. Anywhere away from main roads is like a skating rink and to take the car to the usual birding areas would be foolhardy. I have therefore this week been exploring local areas on foot and have enjoyed some great opportunities to capture some nice winter landscapes as the snow and severe frosts have made for a winter wonderland.
It has also been excellent for bird photography with brilliant light and birds searching for food in the extreme conditions. I had noticed on a New Year's Day walk that a patch of teasels was attracting a trio of goldfinches eager to extract the seeds and allowing a close approach. However on this occasion I was only armed with a small compact camera which wasn't suitable for bird photography so I vowed to return after the holiday to see if they were still around.
Yesterday I returned on a fabulous sunny and very frosty afternoon and after walking through woodlands I arrived at the open area near to the River Ribble where I had seen the goldfinches. They were not there but I enjoyed myself photographing a stonechat which was enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Later I returned to the teasel patch to find three goldfinches greedily feeding and extracting seeds from the teasel heads. I spent the next half hour or so taking hundreds of images of these beautiful birds as they posed for me atop the teasel heads.
It was a wonderful experience as the birds allowed a close approach and were completely unconcerned by my presence. I had only previously photographed goldfinches on or around bird feeders and always thought that one day a better opportunity would occur. This was that day and I enjoyed it to the full. I was reluctant to leave but the frost was beginning to bite and I had a long trek back through the woods with cameras and tripod etc. I will probably return soon and hope to post more images of the resident stonechat. Both the goldfinches and the stonechat had really brightened up my day and proved that you don't have to go too far to enjoy the beauty of our winter countryside. I have posted a few images from the day but hopefully more may follow if the birds remain in the area.