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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day

31 Jul 2011

For several days bluetits have been clambering around in the Ash tree on the main pond island. We thought they were hunting insects, but the tree does a good job of obscuring what is going on. Altogether too long spent trying to catch images finally result in a single glorious minute where one bird did it all in reasonable view:-
Tear off a still green seed (known as a Key - these become winged seeds), clamp it to a branch with a claw, rip it to bits and eat the unripe seed.
Unfortunately these are the visible bits of TWO seeds being 'processed' so the frames are not in their natural order, but it illustrates what was going on.

Ref: DC1_20110620_0851_071-_034 Bluetit collecting unripe Ash seeds (keys) clamping to branch with claw to tear them up 4+3+1+2 of 4 (montage).jpg

30 Jul 2011

After several weeks of only distant sightings (usually just one) of a pair of Little Egrets, this one did us proud with this flyover catching the light in a magical way. This is 3 successive frames in the right order over about 0.3 seconds but montaged purely for effect.

Ref: DF1_20110622_1108_095-97 Little Egret flying overhead @ 7fps 1-3 of 5 (artistic montage).jpg

29 Jul 2011

No this isn't turned sideways!
The swift was sweeping up to catch an insect (not big enough to spot even in the original).

Ref: DF1_20110622_1337_238 swift in flight reaching up for insect (unprocessed crop).jpg

Swifts are normally photographed as sickle shapes, but they have a full range of wing movements, here caught near the top of its wing stroke.

Ref: DF1_20110622_1337_290 Swift in flight at top of wing stroke.jpg

28 Jul 2011

The mallard duck pair that spend much of their day in this favourite spot. They are starting the moult and that whole area is littered with feathers.

Ref: DC1_20110611_0848_008 Mallard duck pair resting on bank of dragon pond (crop).jpg

The above was taken from the house. These ducks are not 'tame' but are used enough to us to not take instant fright. Approaching the pond on foot was enough to see them both take off for a fly round and return when we had gone. He was off to the left but only partly in frame. We love the sheets of water and fine spray at the tips of her wings.

Ref: DF1_20110611_1031_054 Mallard duck pair taking off from Dragon pond 2 of 6 (crop).jpg

27 Jul 2011

A male Chaffinch aerobraking to land on the tree stump just off lower right.

Ref: D35_20110614_1751_031_FB4 Chaffinch male aerobraking approach to tree stump (crop).jpg

And 10m from the previous site is another individual, sadly determinable by his being afflicted with the Fungal disease Bumble Foot. But he is in full breeding colours and we guess was still well enough to breed this year.

Ref: D5C_20110615_1918_112_FB2 Chaffinch male (with bumble foot) diving towards ground.jpg

26 Jul 2011

A bank vole has become a regular visitor to this relocated site.

Ref: D45_20110613_2140_035_FB1 Bank Vole.jpg

25 Jul 2011

We have seen a young fox on the nearest covert IR camera to this site once or twice a week. At last we have a good view & what a beauty.

Ref: D45_20110612_0155_057_FB1 young Fox (crop 1).jpg

Tongue, wet nose & lovely whiskers.
Sadly it is bound to kill some birds we are fond of, but that how it goes.

Ref: D45_20110612_0155_057_FB1 young Fox (crop 2).jpg

24 Jul 2011

Chance flyover of a common Tern carrying a fish that we don't stand any hope of identifying.

Ref: DF1_20110612_0702_231 Common Tern flying by with fish in beak (crop).jpg

23 Jul 2011

This buzzard was working its way along the tops of concrete mains supply poles. This is an accurate montage except for the doubling of the post to illustrate the landing. It is selected shots from an overlapping sequence at about 7 fps - the frame counts are listed in the file title if you are interested

Ref: DF1_20110614_1213_388+340+342+345+351 Buzzard flying up to electricity post 02+04+06+09+15 of 16 (accurate montage).jpg

22 Jul 2011

Dunnock doing a lovely more than 90 degree banking turn while keeping the head nearly vertical.

Ref: D45_20110614_1912_078_FB1 Dunnock in flight banking past vertical (crop 1).jpg

21 Jul 2011

Blackbird breeding is NOT going well here - we haven't seen a single juvenile. According to various reports the drought has locked too many of the worms and insects they need deep in the hard soil. Each blackbird nest we happen to spot has already been abandoned.
But they haven't given up - here is a female collecting material for yet another try and some rain has finally arrived

Ref: D45_20110616_0436_136_FB1 Blackbird female with nesting material (crop).jpg

20 Jul 2011

The Woodland Trust asked us to see if we could supply some 'animals stealing picnic food' pics. The local squirrel was the most obliging - they can't resist (low salt) peanut butter!

Ref: D5C_20110610_1254_025_FB2 Grey Squirrel in plate of food (crop).jpg

19 Jul 2011

We don't normally treat animals as objects of comedy, but sometimes an image suggests a silly title. Here is a selection. "Mine - all Mine - hic"
(through we suspect squirrel anatomy doesn't allow hiccups)

Ref: D35_20110527_1809_063_FB4 Grey Squirrel behind pile of food (crop).jpg

"'Evening all"
With apologies to the Legendary Jack Warner

Ref: D5C_20110529_1842_094_FB2 Jackdaw walking toward camera with head turned.jpg

Classic baby rabbit eating carrot - or at least wondering what it is.

Ref: D5C_20110529_2024_102_FB2 Young rabbit nibbling carrot.jpg

4 days later - perhaps the green end is easier to chew!

Ref: D5C_20110602_1951_024_FB2 Young rabbit nibbling green end of carrot top.jpg

18 Jul 2011

One advantage of birds feeding young is that rather than eating what they catch immediately, they carry some of it back to the youngsters and give us a chance to see it.
Firstly a Buzzard carrying a rodent. It never got close enough to identify the prey accurately.

Ref: DF1_20110604_1351_041 Buzzard in flight with rodent in talons (@432).jpg

Half an hour later this Hobby made a rather high flyover. At the time we could not see the dragonfly clutched in it's talons. The abdomen (tail) is sticking out below the tail and the dragonfly's wing outline can be made out below that. We were out looking for dragonflies & didn't spot one all day!

Ref: DF1_20110604_1435_057 Hobby in flight with dragonfly in talons (ID crop @576).jpg

Next day a Buzzard carried a rabbit along the line of the brook. The bird was flying into wind (making poor progress) but we noticed that it was doing the Osprey trick of lining up the prey with the direction of flight to reduce drag. A brief skirmish with a rook had it back in it's normal feet together position, but quickly reverted to the aligned position here. 7 days later we saw a similar flight but the rabbit was just hanging down as we usually see.

Ref: DF1_20110605_1117_098 Buzzard in flight with rabbit in talons aligned with body (crop @576).jpg

17 Jul 2011

Just about the only butterfly recently - a large skipper. Looking this up 'in the book' we see the underwing is completely different.

Ref: DF1_20110604_1448_064 Large skipper male (top view) on Blackberry leaf (crop).jpg

First identification of this moth here - a 'microlepidoptera' about 2 cm across with common name the 'Mint moth'. The petals & other parts on some of the oxeye daisies this year are deformed in various ways, as you see here.

Ref: DF1_20110604_1449_067 Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata) on oxeye daisy (crop).jpg

16 Jul 2011

Swifts are the most regular fly catching bird at the moment - here a portrait with the wings catching the light nicely.

Ref: DF1_20110607_1601_142 Swift in Flight (crop).jpg

And here a more conventional view showing the sickle shaped wings.

Ref: DF1_20110608_1314_123 Swift in Flight.jpg

15 Jul 2011

Most birds, especially larger ones such as Owls, Gulls, Corvids (including this Magpie), Woodpeckers & Terns, produce 'pellets' of undigestible food. In Raptors and owls this is mostly bones and chitin, but our magpies produce a more catholic mix including undigested corn. Here a magpie played about with an unripe cherry fallen from the tree above, before disgorging the pellet you see next to it. These 3 images each about 2 minutes apart.

Ref: D35_20110608_0804_029+0806_030+0808_031_FB4 Magpie expelling Pellet 1-3 of 3 (montage at about 2 minute intervals).jpg

14 Jul 2011

Pleasingly sharp and positioned chaffinch male banking and braking to land on the perch.

Ref: D3B_20110607_0549_046_FB3 Chaffinch male turning and aerobraking to land on perch.jpg

13 Jul 2011

We got 2 frames almost identical to this, but don't know why the juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker has chosen to hang from the perch. But then why not - they spend their lives on vertical trunks and search top and bottom of branches for insects.

Ref: D3B_20110610_0555_213_FB3 Great spotted woodpecker adult on perch with juvenile hanging underneath (crop).jpg

40 minutes later the mother Great Spotted Woodpecker defends her place from aggressor male starling.

Ref: D3B_20110610_0638_224_FB3 Great Spotted woodpecker female skirmishing with Starling male in flight (crop).jpg

12 Jul 2011

This buzzard seems to have got used to us 'harmlessly' watching from a corner of our patch, and made a lovely low flyover. Here are 3 successive picture over about 7 fps more closely spaced for effect than the actual separation.

Ref: DF1_20110608_1630_509-511 Buzzard flying by 1-3 of 3 (arbitrary montage @ 7fps).jpg

11 Jul 2011

Chiffchaffs have suddenly started nest building. A frantic hour or two saw a huge quantity of dead grass & other weeds taken into a bramble infested bush about 10m from the house.

Ref: DF1_20110610_1459_045 Chiffchaff collecting nesting material from ground (crop).jpg

10 Jul 2011

About 1 second of 'The Lark Ascending'.
The spacing and slope is reconstructed from memory and probably too close - see later.

Ref: DF1_20110607_1022_060-065 Skylark singing in flight (selected) 09-14 of 16 (sequential impression montage @ 7fps).jpg

This skylark seem to have a nest about 300m away in the (still uncut but very sparse) meadow to our east and we got an atypically good view of the top of the wing.
Try to imagine the liquid silver song pouring from that open beak.

Ref: DF1_20110607_1022_039 Skylark singing in flight (selected) 01 of 16 (crop).jpg

Next day some soft cumulus clouds gave us reference points to accurately space the images but were sparse enough not to flare out the images. So this is about half a second of 'flight' - skylarks seem to spend about half their time singing with wings firmly closed.

Ref: DF1_20110608_1513_296-298+1414_299 Skylark singing in flight 3-6 of 8 (accurate montage @ 7fps).jpg

And then he briefly got quite close to us overhead.

Ref: DF1_20110608_1633_602 Skylark singing in flight 3 of 7 (crop @432).jpg

09 Jul 2011

A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker arrives behind an apparently oblivious Grey Squirrel. When we first saw this we wished we had another frame a second or two later.

Ref: D3B_20110601_0701_236_FB3 Great spotted woodpecker juvenile landing on peanut feeder perch occupied by grey squirrel (crop).jpg

4 days on we feel we have the 'what happened next' picture Not so oblivious this time!

Ref: D3B_20110605_0705_160_FB3 Grey squirrel fending off arrival of Great Spotted Woodpecker juvenile (crop).jpg

08 Jul 2011

Tree sparrows are breeding well here. We will be watching the effect on this as the surrounding farm is converted to arable.

Ref: DC1_20110601_1203_018 Tree Sparrow.jpg

07 Jul 2011

The moorhen of the main pond have been mating, and have made a nest about 1 metre above the (low) water level on some folded over Iris fronds. Bird's red beak at the top, the water along the bottom edge.

Ref: DC1_20110603_1332_007+011 Moorhen adult on high folded over Iris nest (accurate montage).jpg

Next day (from a different vantage point) we caught a change-over at the nest on camera. The moorhen with its back to us on the left is arriving and the bird on the right promptly left. It's a precarious and very visible nest - we are not hopeful.

Ref: DF1_20110604_1304_017 Moorhen adults changing over incubation duty on high folded over Iris nest 1 of 5 (crop).jpg

06 Jul 2011

First sighting of this species here - a Mistle Thrush. Probably a juvenile, it stopped briefly on the concrete electricity pole and it was obviously too big for a Song Thrush and quite different stance.

Ref: DF1_20110603_1532_083 Mistle Thrush Juvenile (q) (crop).jpg

05 Jul 2011

Our first 'Chiffchaff' (confirmed by the call even if it may be a sub-species) has rather taken our fancy. Here it is a montage of it calling from it's favourite perch on the mains wire between the house and the first concrete post.

Ref: D01_20110524_1810_090+1811_097 Chiffchaff singing on overhead wire (montage).jpg

3 days later a Chiffchaff stopped off at one of the camera sites collecting insects. Maybe we have a pair and they have nestlings. Hooray!

Ref: DF1_20110527_1728_007 Chiffchaff with insect in beak (crop).jpg

04 Jul 2011

The brown band above the beak of Great Spotted Woodpeckers is always shown as white in ID books and other photographs. But some of the birds we see gradually change to shades of brown during the breeding season (and moult back to white) so we think it must by something about the nest site or other feeding habitat that leads to staining to various degrees - this is as dark as we remember seeing it.

Ref: D35_20110528_1507_068_FB4 Great Spotted Woodpecker adult with white feathers above beak stained brown (q) (crop).jpg

There are at least 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker youngsters being fed peanut fragments extracted from the feeder by a parent. This adult female (left) shows the more usual light stain above the beak.

Ref: DF1_20110530_0747_021 Great spotted woodpecker female feeding peanut fragments to juvenile.jpg

03 Jul 2011

We mostly use peanut feeders made of pierced steel rather than cages around normal net, so the Grey squirrel can get some nut fragment if it is hungry enough, but leave plenty for the birds and can not wreck the feeders Here it is showing us that it is a messy eater!

Ref: DF1_20110527_1747_079 Grey Squirrel on peanut feeder perch (crop).jpg

02 Jul 2011

A baby Bluetit doing what it does best - begging for food!

Ref: DF1_20110529_1248_119 Bluetit chick demanding food.jpg

A few days later they are learning to find their own insect food. Here are 2 that were exploring a willow tree for insects.

Ref: DF1_20110602_0730_210 2 Bluetit youngsters in willow (adjusted crop).jpg

And here hanging precariously at the end of a twig of a Copper beech tree.

Ref: DF1_20110602_0734_252 Bluetit juvenile hanging from twig of copper beech tree (crop 2).jpg

01 Jul 2011

A couple of portraits of an immaculate male Common Blue butterfly as it flew around our 'meadow'.

Ref: DF1_20110531_1228_075 Common Blue butterfly male on Buttercup (crop).jpg

While we were watching the butterfly, this Thick-legged Flower Beetle got in on the act. According to some books this is the male, the females not sporting the leg bulges, but the descriptions get muddled into another species & we are not sure.

Ref: DF1_20110531_1230_094 Thick-legged Flower Beetle (Oedemera nobilis) male in buttercup flower.jpg

By now the Common Blue butterfly had moved on to a patch of clover.

Ref: DF1_20110531_1232_127 Common Blue butterfly male on Clover flower.jpg



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