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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
A really cold air-frost (reaching -8C) and staying iced until past mid-day provides a new perspective on many items in the landscape. First an old oak tree across the field from us.
In our own patch this blackberry leaf is outlined by frost.
The Thrush family, in this case Fieldfares and Blackbirds, are making the most of apples moved to the photo sites. Note the frost on the ground and the birds tail.
6 minutes of apple demolition!
We adore our pheasants, and have lots about the plot at the moment. This image just fits the width of the photographed area.
At the same site after dark we got our first siting of a shrew
for many weeks. This is 2 visits about 2 hours apart in the
'early hours' montaged into one image.
Compare the scales - the bottom image is 'zoomed in' about 2.5 times bigger than the pheasant.
We don't know how long this Fieldfare eventually spent pecking away at this apple because our first frame is at 07:33 (really dark at this time) and the last at 08:59 when this camera is timed to turn off in 'Winter'. But it was interrupted by this grey squirrel which always attacks anything it can bully when it arrives. But 5 minutes later the squirrel had gone and the bird was back to carry on. The images are sequential down the left edge, with the apple rolling about.
This grey squirrel (about 80 metres from the other site) is obviously collecting winter bedding, and at these temperatures we hope it was warm enough. Caught in another photo a few days later doing the same thing, so it is probably a routine 'housekeeping'.
These 2 jackdaws spent several minutes together on the perch in what looked to us a companionable (possibly more) mood. In the distance Rooks are already re-furbishing nests so these Jackdaws may also be a 'couple'.
15 minutes later the jackdaws have gone and smaller birds have arrived for THEIR breakfast (4 species in genuine single frame).
The tail seems to be pressed really hard against the body as this mouse eats it's corn grain. While it does show that the tail is a controllable and muscular appendage used as a 'fifth limb' when climbing about, we have no idea why it has done this here.
Classic ... (at left edge of frame or you would have got the tail as well!)
Table manners Rook style - open wide and cram it full!
Continuing the snowy and freezing cold theme.
Snow must be odd if you only see it a few times in your life. 'Who nicked summer?'
Snow is a problem for many of our creatures. While we can put out supplementary food for them most of the nourishment will be from fallen berries, seed, insects, worms etc. under the covering. With this much snow they tend to scrabble away the snow with their feet to probe with beak or mouth. It amazes us that such small creatures can carry on with their lives at the -8C that we experienced over these days.
Lovely male pheasant obviously scratching away at the snow to find food underneath.
We have at least 4 each male and female pheasants around the plot. A group of 3 females are often seen together but there is also an apparently solitary very dark female (much harder to spot except against snow!) who turned up in a single frame with probably one of the trio. We have LIGHTENED the bird on the right to compensate for being further from the light source, but she is still somewhat lost against the dark.
Smears of peanut butter we use to attract mammals end up all over the place - obviously on this leaf being avidly licked.
Elegant pose of this Dunnock with corn grain in beak.
Atypically sharp image of a bluetit in flight at dusk, wings still folded even though only 30cm or so from the tree stump it is obviously aiming for.
No - not the bird above after landing but probably a different individual (we have scores of tits each autumn) next day posing for a portrait.
Lets get really stuck into this feast ...
A more portable feast being carried off for enjoyment somewhere safer and probably warmer.
Brrrr - this first-light Fieldfare has an iced up tail and fluffed up feathers.
A couple of hours later here are about 20 Fieldfares with a couple of starlings (lower left & bottom right) getting in on the act. Unusually there were no Redwings with them - Redwings are slightly less skittish and were feeding on Hawthorn berries nearer the house.
We have seen a fox many times recently on the CCTV and IR surveillance cams, but one has at last made a (one off) appearance for a good quality pic.
Not much by way of thermals this time of year means the buzzards tend to be lower where we can get better photos of the corvids making their displeasure felt. This is one of a pair of carrion crows mobbing a passing buzzard. Un-fudged (cropped only) single frame.
We showed you this group of 7-spot ladybirds on the image for
1 Jan 2011, but not like this after an
overnight frost. Doubt that they could be active now, but working
with them for technical photos we can tell you that they can be
quite lively at 4 degrees C.
We are trying to decide what to do with this stem. It is very exposed and fear it will break & dump its cargo.
We have a patch of Hawthorn photographable through a window but not well lit until mid day when the sun decides to appear. Once the easier to reach berries elsewhere have been taken various of the thrush family of birds wobble about on the thin branches reaching for the fruit. Here are 2 images of fieldfares working at stripping the fruits.
Grey squirrels may not be as pretty as the native Red (which we have never seen except in wildlife films & photos) but are nevertheless ridiculously photogenic. We couldn't resist picking a few for this montage at just one site over a couple of days.
Unexpected moment of the week, a jackdaw has a small rodent in its beak. Out of the original frame we saw a few more jackdaws were intent on relieving this bird of its catch (or already stolen prize!) and the action disappeared behind trees where we were aware of aerial gymnastics but have no idea what happened.
We hide larger vegetable items on the top of the angled stick at the back this tree stump as they tend to move about and either block the IR beam, or mostly hide the subjects. But this squirrel has picked it up on the climb up.
Licking up the final dregs around lunch time.
And finally a portrait looking the picture of innocence
Farmland & building work in surrounding farm has produced an unexpected influx of male pheasants to our little refuge. They rarely appear together in photos (though we have some surveillance pics confirming 3) but these 4 head and shoulder portraits show sufficient difference that we think it is 4 different birds (though the two on the right are uncertain). Glorious beasts we hope can settle the 'pecking order' without too much 'pecking'.
We spotted this female pheasant keeping completely still relying on her camouflage. There are probably many more we don't spot. Certainly the sudden flight of the female pheasant from close by is a characteristic of a walk about at this time of year. She did suddenly decide to make a hurried exit - on foot!
We use a bucket of mud slurry to repair eroded photo sites in a morning
so it is firm by the end of the day when we 'bait' it. But in the cold and
damp it is still sopping wet as the day ends. We don't put food
on the wet mud, so this mouse is in for disappointment.
It looks like a young one - mum will not be pleased at the muddy paws?
Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) with paws so clean you can see them shadowed against the white fur.
Did the vole startle the mouse?
Reed Buntings are irregular visitors seen only once or twice some years. The last inclusion on this site was a male for 6 May 2009. This single image was the only image we got and is of a female.
Portraits of birds feeding in the hedge bottom. We probably don't appreciate our fortune in seeing perhaps 50 pictures of Dunnocks each week at this site. This one seemed particularly classic.
Even a single corn grain looks quite big for that little bluetit's beak.
The Autumn 2010 show of leaf colours was a short lived affair.
Up came the colour, up came the wind, and down came the leaves
all in 10 days.
First a general view of the woodland edge looking North showing the interesting variety of tree colours.
We have a little cluster of 'Large Leaf Lime' and have been photographing the canopy over 2010 every few days. First an image from 30 Oct 2010
Same view a week later.
Same view 3 days on. Ouch - the autumn colour 'blown away'.
An irregular visitor seen briefly only some years is a Grey Wagtail (what else do you call the most coloured wagtail!). This one has been hunting on the roof and you can see the legs of the insect 'going down the hatch'.
Similar for a more regular visitor.
We have been trying to get good photographs of Fieldfares. But it was this Redwing, of which a few are scattered through the Fieldfare flock, seemed to be slightly less nervous and could be photographed through gaps in other trees. We love the subtle blending of bird and foliage.
A week later this Fieldfare finally ignored us sufficiently for this portrait.
Some stale chestnuts hung around many hours. It may be that a squirrel with sharp teeth and paws to hold it is the best equipped creature to get at the insides.
And now the fruit course - you can see the peel crinkling up as the squirrel takes a bite.
How twee the mouse looks ...
.... until you see what it picks to eat!
One of our Hazel tree/bushes has a particularly striking orange tinge. Here is one of the leaves with a capricious 7 spot Ladybird.
Talking of 7-spot ladybird - this dead hogweed seems to be a good place for them to cluster in the sunshine.
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