Return to moorhen home page
Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
At around 3 a.m. this fieldmouse (wood mouse) really can't be doing anything but having a lick of the (we are told) sweet and protein rich slime of the Leopard slug.
Down in the hedge bottom this male chaffinch is twisting exquisitely as it flies over a female or juvenile another frame height below.
This young heron came to check out the meadow while there was
still frost on the grass. This is the third visit (at various
times) we have spotted him hunting in the rank grass so it must
be worthwhile for him. The large image is the bird reasonably
alert, but a couple of minutes later the neck had folded into the
relaxed position oblivious to the camera perhaps 25 metres away
looking through a window.
(Techie: First image 600mm + 1.4 Teleconverter, second with converter removed and the scales left unchanged.)
After a several months absence the Tree Sparrows have returned. First seen on a feeder they now seem to have commandeered this Great Tit box. We can see here that a Great Tit isn't pleased but didn't manage to shoo them away. At the moment the birds are only 'prospecting' and looking for winter shelter, but we often get 2 pairs breeding here in Great Tit nestboxes, sometimes including this one. They are rare birds (RSPB Red status) so especially welcome
A later view with one of the Tree Sparrows exiting the box while the other continues preening.
From the house across the main pond, we spotted this tiny wren having an unusually long stay at the water's edge. Normally you see a wren for barely more than a few seconds before it rushes off elsewhere.
Perhaps 30 minutes after putting out the bait at this site, the majority was gone and this robin seems determined that his beak was going to be the last to get the easy food.
A Christmas day treat for Owl lovers - who isn't?
This tawny owl made several visits to the tree stump over a few days, obviously not the least bothered by the flash.
Don't be shy!
44 Hours later, a nice portrait in profile. The yellow-green colour around the beak is real.
Another day on we see a landing from straight ahead, and maybe discover one of the attractions of this tree-stump - one claw has trapped one of the Leopard slugs - a nice easy meal for the owl? The next image was 4 hours later so we will never know!
This juvenile heron spent some 20 minutes avidly hunting in the meadow, including about 5 minutes mostly hidden in the tall weeds, stock still and focussed on something it eventually lunged at, but we never saw what it was.
This is a montage of two leopard slugs on the side of the
tree-stump over about 30 minutes around midnight. We are assured
that this behaviour is definitely the prelude to mating. The
initial frame looks like the initial nip the slug finding the
invitational slime trail gives to the slug it finds.
The mating itself is an amazing sight - you can see a Video of it from a BBC documentary we remember seeing 'off air' at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtgPAQTJLQs
A couple of weeks later we caught just this one frame of 2 leopard slugs 'formation slithering'.
No teeth or claws being presented, so we assume this is a 'friendly' encounter between these 2 fieldmice (wood mice)
Most definitely NOT a friendly encounter between these 2 fieldmice (wood mice).
There are a male and female kestrels about in the area now, but the female stays mainly to the north & never gets close enough for good portraits. The male uses posts and wires around the house and the fields to the south for hunting, as here on our mains electricity supply wire
The grey squirrels beat us to most of the hazelnuts while they are unripe on the trees, so we buy them at the local supermarket like everybody else! A few of these go down a treat with our population of 'tree rats'
This is a single frame of 3 fieldmice (wood mice) 'playing' follow my leader over the stone. The middle one seems likely to have lost grip on the stone, and we would love to have had another frame half a second later!
There were 5 male pheasant wandering about on the path across the 'meadow', but the camera was set up such that we couldn't get all 5 at once. At the top is one female, and then 4 of the males resplendent in the milky sun showing vibrant down to absent white neck rings.
Along the hedge of the sprouting crop in an adjacent field 9 grey partridges saw us (before we saw them as always!) and scurried together, like the books say they do and then wandered into the bottom of what is left of the hedge.
This Kestrel, probably a mature male with atypical lightly barred
tail, was at this time a daily visitor. Apart from occasionally
hovering, he likes to hunt from various posts and treetops, and
as here from the mains wires which sway in the wind. He is
totally intolerant of humans - we can only get images through
windows from inside the house as a 'hide'.
3 minutes of HD video on the same camera (far too big for our web site) showed us that the bird does the same 'keep the head still' scheme as when it is hovering while focussed on the ground, but the moment he looks up the head just sways about with the rest of the body. All of the positional correction comes from the neck - the legs are locked in place.
The previous day he had obliged with a bit of hovering. This is a selection of 3 images from 31 as he spotted something and dived out of camera frame and then out of sight.
This is whole spoilt apple - Grey Squirrels are strong little beasts.
Sunset over Grey Squirrel
We have a closer crops showing all the edge lit whiskers etc., but it just doesn't capture the moment.
"The house is over there"
Fieldmice (Wood Mice) normally run from anything larger than themselves, so this is an unusual paring of a Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) actively moving towards the rabbit. Other images and poor grooming of the rabbit suggests that it was very static and in the early stages of Myxomatosis (many rabbits here catch it, some recover)
A quiet gathering of fieldmice (wood mice) in a single moment. The 3 on the right are all tucking into corn grains missed by the birds.
Practice for the Mouse Olympics - nicely judged synchronised leaping.
Not so cooperative ...
We are starting to recognise 'whisker contact' as quite common. Here a couple of rabbits around a gloomy dawn
We often see fieldmice (wood mice) so close their whiskers must be touching. What a different world of sensations they inhabit.
This delightful female Muntjac deer was unexpectedly spotted on the back of the main pond's island. It is all so overgrown they can probably walk across without getting their hooves wet! The sunlight came and went - this is the 'prettiest' of the many images we took.
She was intensively grooming, licking over her fur, but we never got a really illustrative shot. But here she is licking her cheek with her impressively long tongue.
And here she is dealing with an itch under the chin using a back hoof.
A really common insect - the Hawthorn Shieldbug, but none the less welcome for that, and seen very late in the season - an ever increasing trend of starting earlier, and for some carrying on later, depending on what limits their lifespan.
Same individual, now on the stem of the fallen leaf showing the underside.
One of our several Grey squirrels tucking into a piece of apple. Fruit is generally very popular at the moment as the creatures 'feed up' ready for winter's meanness.
As animals feed up for the winter, almost everything, including rabbits normally content with grass, is carrying off pieces of fruit.
Genuine single frame of 3 fieldmice (wood mice) going crazy. We love the apparent nonchalance of the one top left.
A fieldmouse (wood mouse) sharing a peaceful moment with a much less vigorous Leopard slug.
This carrion crow was wobbling about on the top of a black poplar in a breeze, and decided to depart while the camera was running. We kept 6 consecutive pictures, but they overlap too much to show all at once, and couldn't decide which set of alternates images to montage, so in the end did them both. The larger gap to the right-most image in each case is due to acceleration.
Down in the hedge bottom a Great Tit shows off it's wings with lovely symmetry. The bluetit watches.
Birds and rodents together in single images is not as uncommon as it used to be. We think this fieldmouse (wood mouse) is warning off the arriving robin. We have no idea of the outcome if a real battle ensured - sharp beak and 2 claws vs sharp teeth and 4 claws!
From the house we have seen 2 herons visiting our patch, but this adult came flying along our East boundary, saw us outside and promptly turned away to fly over the centre of our patch. This single frame of the 12 we kept seemed to catch the light 'just right'.
At the end of the same sequence the heron faded from view through the trees. The montage is accurately spaced at 7 frames/sec
There is a lot of leaping about and showing off in the hedge bottom at the moment. We really don't know what's going on here, but so what.
A nice show of feathers from this Bluetit fluttering through the hedge bottom.
Attack the err - apple?
Perhaps the apple didn't run away fast enough!
We could not resist making up a little story as soon the hunting fox and the fleeing mice, both in the same positions you see in this montage, taken 90 minutes apart, ended up next to each other on the screen.
This Little Egret flew right over our meadow. This montaged selection of images is for enjoyment rather than accuracy.
Return to image of the day
Newer page of archive Older page of archive