Wednesday the 9th of January saw me making a visit to Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. It was a very spur of the moment decision to make this trip. I had seen the weather forecast on the Tuesday night and it looked promising for a change. I had thought I would probably go somewhere local like Barton or Worlaby. However, I awoke early unable to sleep. I checked the weather forecast and it was an excellent forecast with a good chance of full sunshine for the best part of the day. I decided, as said on the spur of the moment to visit Sherwood Forest. I would normally have contacted some of my photography friends to see if they fancied the trip, but at such short notice and at such an early hour I didn't think they would appreciate my calling them.
I soon had all the camera gear in the car and a packed lunch ready. I left home at 06:45 and made good time, arriving at Sherwood Forest around 08:00. I decided to use the Canon 7D and the Canon 500mm F4 lens as I knew the lighting conditions in the forest wouldn't be particularly good even in sunny weather, as although I would be in a fairly open area of the forest the trees would keep putting shade on my chosen spot. I decided to use the Canon 7D and the 500mm F4 lens as this would be a better option than the Canon 400mm F5.6 lens as far as shutter speeds were concerned.
I made my way into the forest to a spot that I have previously photographed at. As it happened a new bird feeding table had been erected at this spot. This was fine, but it didn't look very natural, so I found a rotting piece of log from the forest floor and some moss. I wrapped the moss around the log and placed it on the table. I put seed and nuts on the table in the hope that the birds would land on the log before dropping onto the table to feed.
Within minutes I had a steady stream of birds visiting. They did land on my moss covered log, but boy I had to be quick on the shutter button to catch them before they hopped off onto the table. Some of the first birds to arrive were the Nuthatches and they are also some of the quickest as well, Lol.
It wasn't long before the tits and chaffinches appeared. The Marsh tits like the Nuthatches are also very fast. The light was very challenging. One minute my moss covered log would be sunlit, the next in shade as the sun filtered through the trees. Exposure was a bit of a nightmare with the changing lighting conditions and the differing plumage colours of the various birds and I did finish up with quite a few very over or under exposed images as I was constantly altering the exposure settings on the camera to try and compensate.
A Dunnock and a Chaffinch were a little more cooperative being slower movers than the tit's and nuthatches. I was at the side of one of the many public paths that run through the forest and as such I had many people and dogs pass by that temporarily disturbed the birds. However they would soon return once the people and dogs had passed by. There were some other logs nearby that hadn't moss on them and a few of the birds chose one of these logs to alight on before coming to the table. I managed to catch a very nice shot of a Blue tit on one of these logs whilst the light was good as well.
The morning flew by and a quick sandwich and a drink were consumed in situ. By around 14:00 hours the light was gradually fading, the sun now being too low in the sky to reach my position. I decided to call it a day. I had taken just over a thousand photographs and although as said a lot would be unusable due to incorrect exposure or motion blur I knew I had some decent shots as well. No day at Sherwood Forest would be complete without a photograph of a Robin.
The journey home was a little slower due to the traffic being heavier but I had really enjoyed my day. It had been a little on the chilly side but I was never what I would call very cold. Although a spur of the moment decision to go to Sherwood it was definitely one of my better photography days. Don't forget you can view all the shots from this Sherwood forest visit via this link. http://lincsbirder.zenfolio.com/p90496710