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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
In a wonderful flurry of wings the robin that 'owns' this site sees off the long-suffering dunnock. A male Chaffinch just watches - they seem to be more evenly matched & the robin may get more resistance.
2 days later the Robin and Dunnock are still skirmishing
Now all the posts along the bridleway have gone, Kestrels have started using the overhead powerlines as hunting perches - much less effort than all this hovering business! We caught this female as she made a flight along the wire to a new hunting position. We got the whole flight in 40 shots at about 7 per second but she landed unfortunately obscured by a nearer wire. Accurately montaging these 5 taken with Hanslope Church tower as the backdrop (less than half the height of the proposed wind turbine towers and 3 times as far away) gives an impression of the elegant bird.
This time not so elegant - defending herself from a rook, upside down to bring her talons into use as a weapon.
A really sweet Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) amongst the leaf litter. The mouse is holding the corn grain in a single paw which got us thinking 'opposing thumbs' and the like. Well is seems mice have 5 digits on the hind legs, and 4 on the front, Voles the same, but Shrews 5 on each foot.
This is one of those images we have long hoped for - a fox actually catching a rodent. A mouse or vole is in the foxes partially open mouth sticking out of the left side as we see it. After this successful hunt the fox has started turning up at this site a few times a week.
Carrots tops and bottoms have been reliably one of the last foods to be taken, but suddenly they seem to be in favour with both birds and fieldmice (wood mice).
A robin launching from the ground to see off an over-flying Dunnock.
This is a 'compare and contrast' pair of images we might doubt if we hadn't taken them ourselves! First a rather murky sunrise (to the South East of course) but at a quite narrow angle (long focus lens).
Turning to the South West 1 minute later with similar lens and it is so different - like something from an industrialised Japanese print. We didn't even notice stunning difference at the time, the camera colour balance is locked, and we haven't 'fiddled' anything. The images nowhere near overlap & wish now we had taken a wide-angle shot to see how the change occurred.
A heavy dew turned many spider's webs into jewelry, but the spider won't be pleased the web doesn't work any more!
The Black Rustic moth appears almost black at rest, and the first time you see it fly it is quite a shock when the white rear wing is exposed. Its probably the normal 'don't be seen, and if you are seen, startle the hunter'.
The underwing class of moths go in for cryptic camouflage on the forewing, and the startle effect with an orange hindwing only showing as defence and in flight. This is two views of separate flights of a single insect to show predominantly the upper (left) and bottom wing surfaces.
We are expecting to be blighted with wind turbines 1000 metres towards the sunrise. Until then we shall make the most of the view we have. Here a dawn kestrel surveys the plot in search of breakfast.
A passing swoop into the wind of the female Kestrel on an overcast afternoon accurately montaged so you have a bit short of 1 second of flight here.
The week this photo was taken TV was full of Dinosaur programmes.
So we present 'Stegomouse', a previously undetected cross between a Stegosaurus and a small Jurassic Mammal.
On the other hand it could be just a fieldmouse (wood mouse) in line of sight of a pine cone, but that's not as much fun!
Landing: Probably OK - they can twist to get their feet down like cats.
The previous day we have seen a number of craneflies, so we decided to have a go at some of them in flight. Typically - all we could find was this unusually willing flier but with a leg missing.
This appears to be a Cuckoo Bee but we don't have enough experience or the right books to definitively ID it. Cuckoo Bees do what their name says - they lay eggs in another bees nest.
This is 2 adjacent Blackberry (bramble) stems in the patio flowerbed - nature loves untidyness! One is in as good a fruit as we are getting this year, next to another in full flower with no hope of finishing the fruit but welcome by the insects. Is easy to think the plant has 'made a mistake' but maybe help feeding the insects in the autumn helps them overwinter to the benefit of next year's fruit - its all so complicated and interlinked.
Our own un-cut hedges are awash with Hawthorn berries - first choice by birds looking for this type of food. The larger Blackthorn fruit is second choice by far.
Entry 1 for Twee Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) of the week
Entry 2 for Twee Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) of the week
Not so sweet - the mouse on the right may be trying to gain an advantage by using to apple to gain some height over the opponent.
Kestrels currently visit tree and post tops at either end of the
day when rooks that chase them off are elsewhere. Here one was
preening in the treetop before flying off.
The flying sequence from 5 to 9 skips 4 & 6 which would have overlapped. The branch tip 3rd from the right is springing back up after the bird launched. The 4th from the left is a different branch from a bifurcate.
A great crop of pine cones this year (in fact getting more every year so far as the trees mature) and such opportunities are not lost on the squirrels, probably taking them off to bury in their winter cache.
Whole conkers are raining down and barely get a chance to bounce before a squirrel carries them off for the winter store.
A cherry pip gets taken away for the fieldmouse (wood mouse) to bite open for the kernel
This time the fieldmouse (wood mouse) carries off a whole cherry!
An atypically very warm few days in Autumn brought out some moths. This is a Barred Sallow Moth which we haven't identified before.
The Angle Shades Moth is very common, but doesn't normally oblige with flying on request for the camera!
After initially fighting at one pond, two unexpectedly pristine (for late in the season) male Southern Hawker dragonflies settled to patrolling one pond each for hours on end for a few days - lovely to watch. We brought one of them in for a little photo-shoot.
Here you are looking up at the male Southern Hawker dragonfly from underneath.
A young chaffinch in the final stages of aerobraking before landing by a conker (which as far as we know they don't eat).
A sweet little mouse dwarfed by a couple of ordinary sized windfall apples that have obviously been pecked by assorted birds
Two images of Autumn
We picked this hawthorn twig to 'decorate' the insects-in-flight set, but decided it deserved a picture of it's own.
Hunting the cherry?
Autumn's plenty is collected and stored by many creatures before winters meanness. Many creature just put on weight, while other like this Grey Squirrel bury or hide food where they think they can find it later. Hence the saying 'Squirrel Away'?
This individual has some abnormality or healed injury to it's tail that shows as a coloured ring in the fur, but it uses its tail normally.
We have an old apple tree (we call it the 'red' apple tree - the apples are red even when unripe and the apple flesh is pink as well) that is next to a pair of old but bushy oak trees. While collecting apples to store this Oak Bush Cricket suddenly leapt out of the trug onto the grass. We guess it either switched tree without realising (they grow into each other somewhat) or we knocked it down shaking branches to get the apples to drop. Crickets have these enormously long antennae - grasshoppers are much shorter.
A huge surprise was this Bat triggering the camera at the tree stump at 4:56 a.m. (2 hours before sunrise). We think it is a Pipistrelle bat that was hunting the insects that gather on the sticky fruit residue from the previous night's food.
A pair of leaping fieldmice (wood mice), the startling vertical one with his whiskers unfortunately disappearing off the edge of the camera frame.
We have never before seen before a mouse shaking out it's fur in
the rain, droplets flying quite a height by mouse standards.
Slow motion movies of dogs drying themselves after a swim by counter-rotating twists are a favourite in animal programs, and we think this must be very similar on a different scale.
This apple is typically eating apple size - its reminds one how tiny the world of the fieldmouse (wood mouse) is.
A few damaged cherries from harvesting our favourite tree set the scale for this fieldmouse (wood mouse).
"What - ME?"
We have seen teats on Grey Squirrel pics before, but never this obviously
'in use'. The Mum is tanking up on something we
can't identify is obviously busy feeding youngsters.
Just what we need - more 'Rats with good PR' stripping bark off the trees!
The shadow falling on his friend on the ground indicates he is leaping towards the camera, which makes an unfortunate landing unlikely.
At another site, a quieter moment with this little creature looking like it is really enjoying his tiny corn grain, mouth open in anticipation of the next bite.
A leaping mouse is watched by two on the ground
The leaping mouse is unusually sharp, and we think the detail is worth a closer look.
We found a dead young rabbit on one of the grass walks and took it to one of the photo sites. The only visitor taking an interest in it was this first Polecat of the season. It didn't drag the rabbit away, but we saw a few fresh bites next morning.
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