Sunday, March 2, 2014

Spring is Springing on a Sunday Cycle

Sunday, 23rd February 2014:

UPDATE BikeRouteToaster is back – new and improved! – eg. here

I find taking pictures of moving things tricky. First I have to see the animal/bird (or other flying object), stop, take my camera out of its bag, switch it on, check the settings are appropriate, take of the lens cap, then locate the bird through the viewfinder, get a focus lock and then think about composition and take a picture.

Which isn’t the best way to take pictures of birds.  I reckon my 100mm – 300mm lens, which gives my Lumix GH1 an effective zoom 200mm – 600mm in 35mm, is pretty good. When I bought my first SLR camera it was a luxury I couldn’t afford.  Well I have one now and because of the relatively small sensor size on my GH1 the lens itself is reasonably compact. However with all the time taken to get my camera ready I still rely on cropping the final picture in order to get the bird to occupy a reasonable amount of space in the picture.

Some birds can be quite wary of humans, certainly the Heron along Bottisham Lode, between Lode and White Fen can be very wary. It seems to stay on the back for a moment or two as if to lure me into getting my camera out and then flies away, slowly. Sometimes it touches down before moving off again as I am getting ready to take a picture.

My assumption is that the Heron comes to breed at this time of year and is distracting me from the nest

Camera-shy Heron – Bottisham Lode

It finally stopped briefly a field or two away and I managed to get a picture before it set off again.

Camera-shy Heron – Bottisham Lode

As I cycled along Headlake Drove I saw this Pussy Willow  alongside the road. This always reminds my of my childhood and the small village school I went to. The Headmistress was keen on botanical things and the pupil who brought in the first Pussy willow of the year always got a gold star (I think). I wasn’t going to take a picture, but after passing it I turned around in the Lord’s Ground Junction and headed back.

Pussy Willow – Headlake Drove


Pussy Willow – Headlake Drove

There is more activity in the fields as farmers want to get things moving. There is ploughing and drilling and draining taking place. Here in the Fens the peat is not so deep and sits on a bed of gault clay. Apparently under arable or horticultural cropping use the peat gets “used”.  MikeC told me that the farmers were advised to drag up a bit of clay to help the peat soil structure.  The right hand side of the field seems to have more clay than the left hand side. You can also see what looks like a temporary drainage channel running across the field in the foreground.

Peat and Clay – freshly ploughed – Great Drove

And finally some better nature pictures – Britain’s wildlife at its best,  some aquatic wildlife from around the world, not wildlife – but stunning places to holiday around the worldBrooklyn’s fading Dock,  Ethiopia’s Karo people and the recent Northern Lights seen from the UK.

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