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Tuesday 08 January 2013

RSPB Old Moor Dearne Valley

Monday’s video from our visit to Old Moor.

Featured in the video are: Male and female bullfinch, male pheasant, great spotted woodpecker, greenfinch, robin, chaffinch, long tailed tit, lapwings, wigeon, mallard, coot, cormorant, Jacobs sheep and Canada geese.

Wednesday 09 January 2013

Colder but Sunny

At last the dull weather has gone and Wednesday was much brighter with some decent sunny spells. The arrival of the much brighter weather has also brought a dramatic drop in the mild temperatures of the last week or so to more normal January levels.

It’s forecast to be a bitterly cold weekend with severe overnight frosts. There seems to be plenty of uncertainty about the weather into next week but it seems a possibility that the colder weather might hang around awhile.

Thursday / Friday 10 & 11 January 2013

Sunshine Didn’t Last

Well Wednesday’s sunshine didn’t last long and by Thursday we were back into dull conditions. This time with temperatures much more like January with highs around 5°C but so far no very cold nights. Some suggestions are that next week will be colder with overnight frost and snow showers by day. We’d better get some vegetables from the allotment tomorrow in case bad weather really does set in.

We’re always left a little bit disappointed, after visiting RSPB Reserves, that we haven’t managed to see any of the many birds up close. Most of the birds are at the full zoom limit of our camera lenses as the above shot of some lapwings shows. So we decided to invest in a descent bird spotting scope so we could at least get a good view of the birds. However, it is possible to fix a digital camera to a spotting scope with the correct  attachments and use it to take close up pictures. Our first task is now to get used to using the spotting scope and at least be able to get it trained on a suitable subject.

I just couldn’t resist the temptation to hold a digital camera at the end of the telescope and see what the camera saw. Here it is our first camera shot down the lens of a telescope.

I soon found out why a special attachment is required as I tried to hold the camera in the correct place on the telescope as well as attempt to follow any bird movement and focus telescope and camera all at the same time. Then of course all that’s required is pressing the camera shutter at the right moment.

After a bit of time spent messing about I managed this picture of one of our flock of ‘legless’ sparrows. The telescope was set on its minimum zoom of 24x for this picture and will zoom all the way up to 72x. Room for improvement certainly but this method might just hold some scope for close up photography.

Saturday 12 January 2013

First Visit of 2013

Saturday was rather chilly but we needed some fresh vegetables so we made our first trip of the new year to the plot to see if we could do some harvesting before any of the forecasted snow arrives.

These are Autumn King a variety that normally performs well for us. However not all the carrots lifted were in such good condition as some had obviously split in the wet growing conditions of last summer leaving the insides of the carrots open to attack from all sorts of nasties lurking in the soil.

We managed a good harvest which is detailed here. Our carrots are still in reasonable condition despite the very wet soil conditions they’ve been left in this winter.

Not very pleasant at all but luckily for us this has only happened to one or two carrots the rest still being in good condition even if some were strangely shaped..




Sunday 13 January 2013

Just a Sprinkling

On Sunday morning the temperature fell below freezing for the first time this month. So after a mild start to the month some cold wintry weather has arrived. It was sunny and cold most of the day clouding over late in the afternoon with a dusting of snow arriving late into the evening.

We noticed on our visit to the plot at the weekend that the pesky pigeons had been up to their tricks again this time choosing to devastate our sprouting broccoli plants. It’s difficult to decide whether to keep some protection on the winter brassicas or leave them vulnerable to  the pigeons. In previous years the plants have been damaged when sudden collapse of the netting due to heavy snowfall has broken the plants. It’s a bit of a no win situation.

We’ll just have to hope that the plant manages to make a recovery and produce some delicious broccoli spears in a few weeks time. If it doesn’t then I think in future winter brassicas will need protecting with the risk of damage from the collapse of the protection  the least problematic of the two options

Just a dusting of snow on Monday morning 14 January 2013