Sunday, February 22, 2009

lunch, territory, speed

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In the Pantiles.

Although I would not describe myself as a birdwatcher - a description which suggests more knowledge and commitment than I have - I do listen to birds and attempt to identify them by their song and appearance. In the Grove, recently I have learnt to recognise certain territories where different species regularly appear. In one tall silver birch there is invariably a great tit, which I was able to identify the other day high up in the branches through the lens of the camera when I zoomed on to it, though I could not have seen the detail (a yellow breast with a bar down the middle) with the naked eye, for it is a very small bird. In the opposite corner of the Grove, a song thrush is invariably in the branches of one of two oaks, singing now, as it is supposed to, in mid-February, a the top of its voice. A few trees away, the ring doves reside. Of one I posted a snapshot, yesterday. I find that the closer you look into the branches of the trees here, and the harder you listen the more there is to see and hear. But clearly for me, it will be necessary to put a name to the many I do not yet recognise.

Although I enjoy taking photographs, I do not and never will claim to be a photographer. Digital cameras make life very easy and their ability to simplify complex procedures for the amateur are remarkable. Even then it has taken me a long time to fathom what the Olympia which I acquired last summer can do with a little prompting. Objects in motion have, until now been a problem, because I have not know how to coordinate speed and aperture appropriately. Now I have discovered that by turning a dial and clicking, the camera will make the calculations and operate the machinery more or less correctly, I can photograph running dogs, flying birds and the like, and I have been experimenting ever since. Nothing very much to be proud of, as I can scarcely lay claim to the art of capture, but there is a pleasure in the achievement.


The Crow said...

Your photos remind me of the chaos that ensues when I put food out for the crows that live nearby.

There are great hordes of house sparrows and starlings lurking just out of sight when I whistle for the crows. Before the food I toss out for the crows hits the carport roof, the Great Hordes descend and scatter it all over the lawn.

Everything works out all right, I suppose, because the crows raid the nests of the Great Hordes for eggs and fledglings.

Good luck with your camera. I like mine for the ease of editing out images that didn't turn out so well.


Unknown said...

There are nearly always two crows who preside in the little park called the Grove round the corner from where we live. I sometimes call them Mr and Mrs Crow because they strut around, when on the ground, as though they own the place. And I think they believe that they do. I never tire of watching them. It gave me great pleasure to see the crows on your blog, and to feel that a crow called Martha should fly all way from the USA should to visit mine.
She's very welcome, and I wish I could personally introduce her to Mr and Mrs Crow. I'm sure they would get on.

The Crow said...

I dare say they would, Joe, once they grasped the nuances of each others caws, or crocitations (one of the words I recently adopted, promising to use it as often as possible.)

When I visit my sister in Louisiana, I make the mistake of trying to "talk" to the crows in her woods, using the dialect of my neighborhood crows.

Hers answer in a rather quizzical voice, fly low overhead to check me out, then chastise my efforts, no doubt referring to me as one of those "damn Yankee crows!" You know, I think I detected a southern drawl in their retorts.

I wonder if your Mr. and Mrs. were doing their springtime bonding and courtship strutting? It's that time of year, of course.

Thank you for your kind remarks, by the way. They are welcoming, indeed.