I woke this morning to bright sunshine and a dusting of overnight snow, so before giving in to the temptation to go out in search of wildlife I pottered around the garden with the macro to see what I could capture. I always like the sight of delicate moss spores against frost or snow, which is why this shot gets the nod today. In the past I've focus stacked this kind of image to increase the depth of field, but today I decided to embrace the shallow focus look. Lazy, you see.
As with on my previous visit to Upton Warren, I found surprisingly few birds there today; a lot of work was done in the early part of the winter, repairing some of the islands and installing fox-proof fences to protect the ground nesters, and I think the disruption must have seen off a large part of the population to other nearby lakes and pools. I'm sure they'll come back in time, but right now it's a frustrating place to visit. I did benefit from a chat with a very experienced birder in one of the hides, who gave me some really helpful advice about sites in Wales - which reminds me that I haven't yet made notes on what he said, and I must do so before I (inevitably) forget his directions.
On the way home I swung into Hillers with a view to spending half an hour in their bird hide - only to discover that it's currently shut because some work is being done on the wildlife area in the wood. Sigh. However, just walking around the show garden produced a couple of nice sightings, of a goldcrest and a coal tit. I missed by a whisker capturing what would have been a nice portrait of the goldcrest posing on the stone wall of a raised pond - sadly that fraction of a second was all the time the goldcrest needed to remove itself twenty metres away, where it resumed hunting for insects on the inside of an evergreen shrub. I stalked it for a while in the hope that it would emerge, but its patience outlasted mine.
74 Coal tit