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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
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.
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.
No this isn't turned sideways!
The swift was sweeping up to catch an insect (not big enough to spot even in the original).
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.
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.
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.
A male Chaffinch aerobraking to land on the tree stump just off lower right.
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.
A bank vole has become a regular visitor to this relocated site.
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.
Tongue, wet nose & lovely whiskers.
Sadly it is bound to kill some birds we are fond of, but that how it goes.
Chance flyover of a common Tern carrying a fish that we don't stand any hope of identifying.
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
Dunnock doing a lovely more than 90 degree banking turn while keeping the head nearly vertical.
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
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!
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)
With apologies to the Legendary Jack Warner
Classic baby rabbit eating carrot - or at least wondering what it is.
4 days later - perhaps the green end is easier to chew!
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.
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!
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.
Just about the only butterfly recently - a large skipper. Looking this up 'in the book' we see the underwing is completely different.
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.
Swifts are the most regular fly catching bird at the moment - here a portrait with the wings catching the light nicely.
And here a more conventional view showing the sickle shaped wings.
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.
Pleasingly sharp and positioned chaffinch male banking and braking to land on the perch.
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.
40 minutes later the mother Great Spotted Woodpecker defends her place from aggressor male starling.
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.
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.
About 1 second of 'The Lark Ascending'.
The spacing and slope is reconstructed from memory and probably too close - see later.
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.
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.
And then he briefly got quite close to us overhead.
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.
4 days on we feel we have the 'what happened next' picture Not so oblivious this time!
Tree sparrows are breeding well here. We will be watching the effect on this as the surrounding farm is converted to arable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
A baby Bluetit doing what it does best - begging for food!
A few days later they are learning to find their own insect food. Here are 2 that were exploring a willow tree for insects.
And here hanging precariously at the end of a twig of a Copper beech tree.
A couple of portraits of an immaculate male Common Blue butterfly as it flew around our 'meadow'.
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.
By now the Common Blue butterfly had moved on to a patch of clover.
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