Friday, October 28, 2011

the fields at home

Did you know that Leeds/Bradford airport is the highest airport in England?
Well, it is.
Did you also know that the M62 from Liverpool from Leeds, is the highest motorway in England?
Well, it is.
Yesterday I had dealings with both.
In my 13 years of flying between Dublin and Leeds with Ryanair, I've never once been diverted, not really had all that many delays and I've never had a flight cancelled.
So when thick fog over Leeds threw everything into turmoil yesterday, I felt it was probably about time I got to experience the utter joy of sitting in a plane on Dublin's runway for over an hour (gross), the excitement of circling over the airport where you want to land for 15 mins and the adventure conjured up when told the flight is being diverted back on itself to Liverpool where we'll be driven back to leeds on a (very smelly) bus.
The adventure of my 45 min flight (which I was up at 5.30am for!) lasting 7 hours wasn't all that bad, but I'd happily wait another 13 years before I enjoyed it all again.

Still, we arrived safely and I got to have a coffee in John Lennon airport and see a bit of the city where I went to University, so I was happy enough. Plus, the trip across the M62 was pretty cool, especially going over the Penines in misty fog and seeing the Yorkshire moors and the old mill towns in some of the valleys.
It was nice to be home.

Today I went for a walk in the fields.
I got some great views!

First thing this morning I saw this Jay from the kitchen
I know this is out of focus but look at the electric blue and black on the wings!
Jay carrying acorns to hide and bury them for winter
That's some handlebar moustache
A Sparrowhawk flew right over my head - It's a bird I've never seen up close. Barring not streaking, no moustache.
Its times like this I'm glad I have a camera so I get a chance to look at the bird that just whizzed past.
Our most common garden bird, Redkite
I think these are the closest shots I've got - all on Aperture by the way!
I can tell you I took this on F8, 400iso at 1/1250 and no exposure change
Cool the way its tail is angled and the talons are out and its looking ahead
Yep, it is what you think it is - I think its an amazing photo! but I'll never look at toothpaste the same way again.
'How rude'  - Better keep my flight path above that Redkites - Kestrel
Kestrel flying over my head - streaking not barring and faint moustache, dark eyes and vivid yellow eyering

I managed my first glimpse of a Redwing, it was deep within a tree but I saw its sharp supercillium and thought 'finally' I've seen a Redwing.
Then I reckoned I saw a flock of around 20 Redwings, but the sun was behind the tree, so I didn't get a proper look to see if there were any Fieldfares in with them.

In a few hours I was gifted with great views and sounds from several Jays, a Sparrowhawk, Kestrels, several Redkites and a Buzzard. I did get a photo of the Buzzard but its not very exciting so haven't posted it.
Noticeable numbers (in hundreds) of Wood Pigeons flying over the fields, one flyover flock was easily 300+.
I also saw Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Coaltits and Bluetits, Chaffinches, Bullfinches, Goldfinches and Greenfinches, a Starling and a couple of Robins. None of the smaller birds came out into the open for photos today, but I'm not complaining looking at the photos I did manage.
I love that I got a photo of a Jay carring an acorn, even if it was pretty far off (across 2 fields), the cropping brings it closer.
The day was bright and still and I was lucky the Redkites were really taking it easy allowing for those great closeups.

Not a bad first day home.