Out on a Limb

Winter Storm Cleon has moved east and it’s finally possible to get out of the Stone House and get back to work. It’s still unseasonably cold, and today I got my first mail delivery in almost a week. During the storm I worked from home and stayed warm and mostly dry by the fire. By day two the symptoms of cabin fever were starting to set in. I was getting up every thirty minutes and walking up and down my hallway several times. I constantly stocked the indoor firewood pile. I starting to feel restless and cooped up. I decided that to clear my head that I would take a walk outside over my “lunch hour”.

I put on my Carharts and tucked my weatherproof camera and lens inside my jacket. The activity around the house was extraordinary. Cardinals were hanging onto the branches of the crepe myrtle for dear life. A fallen tree limb over the pergola was a lifeline to a small woodpecker as winds blew snow almost sideways. Birds that typically dart away held fast in hopes of spotting fallen seed below on the patio.

I came in almost soaked through and freezing, but invigorated and ready to focus – on work.

Shutterbug notes:

Shooting birds in the snow can be tricky. Your camera’s autofocus wants to focus on the nearest object in your field of view – I found that if I made my focus point as small as possible and tried to get it to lock onto a bird’s eyes or beak that I could eventually get a focus between flakes. I took all of these shots in shutter mode at 1/400 second and an ISO of 1000. The white of the snow added ambient light that made a moderate ISO setting sufficient. A slower shutter speed would make the flakes look more like streaks – a faster one would require a higher ISO and would create unnecessary noise in a limited light situation.

34 thoughts on “Out on a Limb

  1. We had such fun watching the birds line up along the icy fence. I was surprised how many hung out on the frozen fountain waiting for a turn at the feeder. The Cardinals pop against the snow.

  2. Hi Lorri – Aren’t the birds a treat to watch – but I may need to get a part time job to pay for seed 🙂 I was back to work Mon – Bob took me in the 4wd truck and I drove myself in today. Roads here are clearing off quickly with the sunshine even tho it is still bone chilling cold! And I love the pic of the downie with the titmouse – so great! K

    • Boy Kathleen, they were a treat to watch and I went through about 10 pounds of songbird food during that weather. All the roads in Eureka are finally open as of today – it’s been tricky getting around. Looks like more on Sunday.

  3. Those cardinals are so colourful. Wish we got colourful birds here – well we do have woodpeckers and kingfishers, but I never see those. Excellent photography as usual Lorri 🙂

    • Thanks Jude – we do love our cardinals here in the states, especially in the snow. Most of my colorful birds are here in the summer – cards stay red all year long. I do love woodpeckers though – what intricately patterned birds.

  4. Lovely series of bird shots – I’m amazed that there are so many birds through the falling snow. Maybe they were seeking shelter near the Stone House. I used to love the snow when I went skiing up in the ‘high country’ 25+ years ago.

    I’ve had a little of that ‘cabin fever’ myself recently, but it’s been because of the gusty winds and intermittent rain in the city. Haven’t been out much for nature walks at all recently. We’ve had only a few bright sunny days this Spring (& now Summer). I think we might even get a wet Christmas down under. Rain is welcome, but it does cause a surge in grassy undergrowth which can signal bush fires late Jan, early Feb. I have friends who’ve been bushwalking in the ‘high country’ and got caught in a light snowfall which made for some very cold bushwalking. Yes, we’ve had some very cold summer days indeed.

    • Thanks Vicki, I think because I have so many feeders they stayed nearby – but the feeders were covered in snow too. I had to scatter food on the snow. It’s too bad you’re not getting great summer weather, it seems a bit unfair after being holed up for the winter. I have seen snow in July in the Cascades – just a skiff – but it was surreal.

  5. Beautiful pictures Lorri! It’s been so cold here I haven’t seen any birds except the Magpie. Poor things. I haven’t even been able to get out and feed the birds, but it’s suppose to get above freezing this weekend so hopefully I can get out there.

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