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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
Concentrating on the intended subject it is easy to overlook what else is going on. The photo being taken was of the Small Copper Butterfly but we only later noticed also the grasshopper (below the butterfly's Proboscis) and 5 Red Soldier Beetles, 1 under the butterfly on the right, and 4 more in the next flower along, one pair mating as usual.
The rear underwing of the Small Copper butterfly is different to the other 3 surfaces on each side, undoubtedly to provide camouflage when at rest.
A Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) inspecting a beetle, which probably became midnight supper.
Sweet little fieldmouse (wood mouse) gorging on corn and spoilt fruit.
4 days later maybe the same mouse clearing up the oily remains of peanut butter.
Our usual crop of Arum lilies is not in evidence this year, but we found some deep in the mature hedge along the trackside in the ditch edge, presumably finding a little more moisture than the other sites.
One wild rose is smothered in Robins Pincushion - an insect gall. One at the top of the stem (above this framing) is 6cm in diameter, but these are more typical on this plant at 2 to 3 cm.
Atypically early first blackberry fruit, and rather small for the
'lead fruit' - the one at the head of a spike is usually by far
the earliest and biggest. The
Woodland Trust 'Natures Calendar'
phenology section are particularly interested in the effect of
the 2011 Spring severe drought on blackberry fruiting.
We are puzzled by the tiny 'fruitlets' in the same stem.
A week after its previous one-off sighting, this pristine young fox visited this site for at least 20 minutes.
Detail from above.
We didn't realise Hover-flies came this big or Gorgeous and had an expert confirm our ID as a Volucella zonaria. He commented 'I think it's the biggest native species of hover-fly, but only took up residence in Britain in the 1940s. ... The larvae live in wasp nests.'
We haven't spotted a Sparrowhawk 'in the flesh' for many weeks since the fields were killed for conversion from pasture to arable, so this image came as a nice surprise outside the kitchen window.
Coquettish Dunnocks are a rarity!
We rarely see a rodent and bird at this site at the same time - this a genuine single frame on a dingy evening. We don't think the Dunnock quite knows what to make of the mouse.
A pair of Meadow Brown butterflies mating artistically positioned
across a grass stem in a shape reminiscent of the lover's Heart.
Butterflies mate 'tail to tail'.
We think we have a buzzard family of Mum, Dad and one juvenile using the thermals and updraft from local geography to go off and hunt. This one came quite close, banking as it approached (hence the increasing size left to right) and we couldn't resist this montage, much too closely spaced for reality but echoing what you see as your eyes follow the bird.
Our juvenile kestrel male gave us a good look at his changing tail feathers - note the male centre feather we have seen before but now nearly full length, and now at his left (image's top) some more male style feathers peeping round the edge.
He flew off to the distant East where another Kestrel joined him but they never got close and he flew off. The other bird resolved the puzzle by flying our way and it turned out to be a female - almost certainly Mum.
Next day the juvenile kestrel male, the ID more obvious from other less interesting shots at the same time, skimming atypically low over the dead grass.
First sighting of a Small Skipper Butterfly here enjoying the thistle flowers.
Second sighting (the first was already bird pecked) of a Small Copper Butterfly down on a fresh flower in the mostly withering clover.
Foxes must find this stone a heaven of scents - Peanuts, fruits, and other food along with mice and rabbits leaving their aromatic calling cards.
Ringlet butterflies have only been regular visitors for a couple of years, with more appearing each year. This one likes the blackberry flowers.
On the trackside privet hedge 4 Ringlet butterflies were having a scrummage of mating rights - we suspect 1 female and 3 males.
3 minutes later - 'The winner takes it all'.
Butterflies mate joined back to back.
Meet Kevin the Kestrel - a recent arrival that appears to be
juvenile male who has adopted our patch & the surrounding area
in which to hunt.
In the Black poplar he is watching the nearly bare ground for some inadequately cautious rodent or insect.
Ooh look - a quick descent onto something tasty?
On the ground we have frequently watched the kestrel struggling to subdue prey. Whatever he caught has always eaten on the spot and out of our view.
Another Little Egret flyby along the side of our patch. Even taken at about 7 frames/second these images are show much to close together to get them into one image.
A couple of frames on from the above, the egret might have noticed us, but we are apparently in the 'harmless' category!
This montage is from successive frames about 1 minute apart - a nice opportunity to show the yellow face mask of the two most common Tits here - Great Tit on the left and Bluetit on the right. Even losing one box to Bumble bees after it's use for nesting, we seem to have a fantastic 'crop' of tits - they must have had multiple broods this year.
Not good Spring for the blackbirds though - we have eyeballed only a couple youngsters over the whole site. This female is obviously busy on a new nest - caught twice in 90 minutes at the same site carrying maximised beakfuls of materials.
The first couple of warm days at last brought out the Odonata
(Dragonflies and Damselfies) and this male Brown Hawker Dragonfly
obliged with some in-flight images.
Just taking off from the twig (not a montage).
A Brown Hawker male viewed from underneath the insect.
This detail from another image seemed to us to show how the pattern of veins in the wings forms sheets of corrugations when the wing is under stress as here when the insect turned back in flight.
The first couple of warm days at last brought out the Odonata
(Dragonflies and Damselfies).
This Banded Demoiselle damselfly male flying along in all his glory.
The Banded Demoiselle damselfly female doesn't have the bands on the wings but makes up for it with the glorious green and gold abdomen.
The Moth trap caught this huge moth - our first sighting of a Privet Hawk Moth.
Yes - it is a BIG moth.
Here it was vigorously flapping its wings to warm up for flight and making a noticeable draught and blowing dust about on the 'set'. But even when thoroughly warm and flying round the room we couldn't persuade it to fly in the right direction to get images in flight.
One of our favourite moths is the plume moth. When perched it is a white 'T' shape with the 'plumes' brought close together. (Another Plume moth called the 'T' is brown and really does align all the plumes) In flight the plumes separate out to form a wing 'surface'. Here the insect is flying away from the camera and upwards.
This time the moth is flying right to left and banking towards the camera.
Last year we glimpsed what might be a new species here, and this year we have the confirmation of the Beautiful Demoiselle Damselfly. This is the male - we have only glimpsed females so far. This insect requires running water for laying eggs, and we will be trying to work out where they are breeding off our site. But the corner we find them is also 'midge corner' and we think they visit for 'eat-on-the-hedge' meals.
In the corner of our plot often plagued by midges we saw this immature Common Blue damselfly (not a regular species here) which has caught a midge and is chewing it.
Another frame provides more detail at the 'business end'
Thistles are an invasive plant that needs to be controlled, but
they certainly attract butterflies.
We have only previously recorded a marbled White butterfly in 2008. This year a few of them are a delightful sight flitting over the flowers.
A visitor in declining numbers is the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly. Here are 2 images of the top wing and underwing of the same insect on the same thistle flower although the lighting has changed a bit.
This Bullfinch male (and his out of shot mate) were feeding in a shingle bed covered in weeds, decimating the seed heads and flowers.
Some of the back garden thistles are infested with aphids and this Chiffchaff knows what to do with them.
This buzzard flew down into the trees to our North East and vanished. About a minute later it came zooming out with this Carrion Crow in hot pursuit. When the pair had skirmishing for about 400m the crow suddenly broke off engagement and flew back while buzzard carried on out of sight.
Its Wimbledon tennis fortnight - Strawberries (no cream for us), and rain (we hope - well at night to fill the ponds) - and this jackdaw is joining in the evening feast.
Easy as falling off a log?
We normally see skipper wings open or partially open hiding their underwings, and did not appreciate that the bottom of just the rear wing has a subtle green colouring different to all the other surfaces.
And here on a thistle flower with proboscis unrolled and in full action sucking up nectar.
3 in one
Although this is a montage its real - 2 frames taken in a few seconds with different choice of focus combined to get them all sharp.
4 in one
This time a single frame containing what we thought was 3 insects turned out to contain not just a Meadow Brown butterfly and 2 skippers sharing a flower, but a winged ant flying by and casting a shadow on the butterflies wing it was about to land on.
Next frame the ant had landed (sort of).
Each of our photo sites has its own brave little robin that arrives the moment we arrive with the food bowl. This adult has produced a family this year and the first signs of molt are apparent.
Its about 2 months since we saw the male and female blackcaps, and here is the female, probably collecting nesting material for a new nest, She is standing at the same place as the robin, but a day and a half later.
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