Tired of looking at snow and ice photographs from across Europe and on your friend's facebook pages? Hope not because although there is a limit to how many times you can make the snow bound terrain and frozen waterways look good on film, I've discovered some new angles! Like this simple image of a snowy field (right). I love the contrast of those compacted mounds and dimples in the foreground with that stunning blue sky. Interesting huh!?
The River Gartempe is almost completely frozen over at Saulge now with just a tiny rivulet still running on the Northern side of the bridge (I'd take that tiny flow in my water pipes right now!), and I must say that the bridge itself is looking more splendid than usual in the Winter sun
Now then, on that last photograph you might be able to spot some big black birds in the tree tops behind the bridge ...... there you go, you've got em! 'Just a bunch of crows in a tree Baggins' you may say! Well yes you may say that and you would be partly correct, they are members of the crow family but these are Rooks as a pose to Carrion Crows. Many folk just see a big black bird and think 'crow' and think no more about it but apart from the 'bigness' and the 'blackness' they are quite different species and one of the most intelligent of birds to boot!
There's an old saying that goes 'a Crow in a crowd is a Rook, a Rook on its own is a Crow' .... Rooks are very social birds and are almost always seen in flocks, whilst Carrion Crows are more likely to be seen singly or in small family groups. Carrion Crows have black beaks whilst Rooks have a very distinct grey / bony beak and look vaguely sinister (they're the original Hitchcock scary bird!). Both species nest early in the year (February) and you can see some territorial squabbling going on in the picture below - this in fact a close up of the aforementioned birds behind the bridge (what would I do without my super 500ml lense!)
And on this pic of a Rook in flight (right) you can clearly see that monstrous bony beak! The more I look at this pic the more I like it and reckon it's the best Rook photograph I've taken to date .... you can even pick out it's rib cage if you look closely!
It was all a bit dicey down by the river's edge and to get some of these shots I had to tread very carefully, it was difficult to judge whether I was standing on the bank or the river and was probably being a tad foolish (nothing new there then!) ... this was borne out just before I took this shot -
My knee went straight through the ice! Good job it was shallow but my was that a shock .... cold too!
Whilst I was berating myself for being so stupid and nursing my cold and bruised knee, this beautiful pale phase Common Buzzard floated across the river. I'd like to think that being an avian friendly kind of chap, that he (or she .... its difficult to tell these days) was maybe looking out for me, making sure I was ok, that sort of mystical man / creature phenomenon, maybe in my slightly distressed state I was easy prey (now I'm being silly) ... in actual fact I think he (or she) just fancied being a star on my blog!!