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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
Some hazy sunshine brought out this male Southern Hawker dragonfly. The insect hovered long enough to get the camera on him for 9 frames, of which we have selected 4 for a little montage of various wing positions.
There is lots of natural food for the wildlife now, so we collect odd bits and offer it at the photo sites. Here is a beautiful Bluetit as it flies down for a sample.
These 2 squabbling fieldmice (wood mice) remind us of Sumo wrestlers, or the avatars in 'Wii Sports Resort' fencing game, both trying to push their opponent out of the ring or off the edge!
By chance, 3 days later (and on the other side) a mouse demonstrating base jumping without parachute.
Recently fieldmice (wood mice) leaping in this vertical position have appeared at one of other edge of the frame, making a decent crop awkward.
"Sitting on the 'bleachers' watching the world go by."
At another site a couple of hours earlier a more relaxed pair of fieldmice (wood mice) watching we know not what.
We found this beautiful Shieldbug in the conservatory and parked it on a arm of a garden chair to take it's pic. Its body is about 15mm long
A female Blackbird launching into flight from the ground, and just coming into frame. This makes a nice change from the more normal 'head out of frame' that leads to so many 'if-only' discarded pictures,
The Lookout? "Midnight, and all's well"
It reminds us of the classic pose of a Meercat, but in miniature.
Another means of obtaining a high view, but we think this is more about joie-de-vie than viewing the surroundings .
Whenever the wind is strong the rooks and other corvids can be seen obviously playing or showing off in the updrafts over the fields, and here at the top of the local Lombardy Poplar tree. The top bare twig isn't really stiff enough for their weight but that doesn't stop them trying to land on it. Here we think the bird was using the beak as an extra grip. Despite several tries it never got a stable perch.
More of the top of the tree, and two birds gently sparring and playing in the wind. The bird is on the same twig but here not bent by the bird's weight.
The Corvids (Crows etc.) have largely abandoned feeding at the 'Meadow post', there temporarily being plentiful natural food available from the freshly cultivated farmland. So the Grey Squirrel now has little competition when it turns up to excavate the crevices full of peanut butter and ground nuts. It leaves the easier to reach corn at the top untouched though a lot of it get knocked down where the pheasants can reach it easily.
This montage shows a Green Woodpecker juvenile standing on the meadow post, noticing movement at the house window, and deciding to depart.
Eat at the snack bar
A corn-grain makes a little feast for this fieldmouse (wood mouse)
We don't see voles anywhere near as often as mice, and even rarer them carrying off food. So this one carrying off a whole small (domesticated cherry sized) wild plum by gripping the stone really caught our attention.
The continuing process of turning the fields of the farm around us to arable has attracted an assortment of gulls to add to the local rooks and jackdaws. This one flew over us and we enjoy the texture and shape - gulls always seems to us to be flying sculptures.
Next day the land is still being picked over by Black-headed gulls and rooks
5 minutes later part of a flock of about 100 Black-headed gulls moving to another field pouring across the sky and making this gull-against-sky and gull-against-tree almost abstract study.
Watching the meadows being ploughed and worked for arable has
been something of a machine eye-opener. The largest tractor in
use and the cultivator (see details in the Ref field) seem to
have a fan base that includes 1:32 scale models of the tractor
and attachments to fit it.
U-tube hosts several videos of this tractor and Sumo attachment being driven in front of a crowd of spectators jumping about with excitement. Humans are an amazingly varied bunch!
We have several more images & details should they be of interest
There is a family of 4 Buzzard in a copse 600m to our East. The young birds seem to be given sparring lessons by the parents. Here the bird below was hovering in a strong wind blowing from the left and had a passing skirmish with the bird flying above. The bottom bird held its position relative to the trees, so we have spread out the montage to the left. All in half a second!
We collect pine cones fallen on the grass paths, and move them to the photo sites. Here a Great spotted woodpecker 'just' juvenile (only a few red feathers left on top of her head) has picked one up and will fly off with it ...
We know this because 15 minutes later we spotted this bird on the pole near site one having a peck at the pine cone, and within the same minute a hazelnut. Yes, there are 2 holes, and she chose different holes for the two items. We have montaged 2 of the images together (trying our best to match the exposures). We are sure it is the same bird as the ground level image from examining the head detail in the originals..
A bit of sunshine brings out a few dragonflies. This one is perched on the pond island on fallen sedge - the colours of the insect match that of the foliage rendering them very hard to see until they move or you see them land.
As the sun went behind cloud this male southern hawker dragonfly ceased his patrolling and literally hung himself up inside a pond-side bush. We could only find him because we saw him fly in.
We had no idea the pheasants would tackle nuts in shells. The nut disappeared but we don't know whether the pheasant could have cracked it open.
On either side of midnight a Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) and Bank vole both at the same place to enjoy the plum pulp. These are at exactly the same scale.
Fieldmice (Wood Mice) can be delightfully affectionate to one another.
It all seems very quick to us, but they live at a different pace.
"Are you Awake?"
About the same time next night, we think two different mice
At times of plenty fieldmice (wood mice) have the energy to spare to leap about in extravagant ways, sometimes to impress the potential mates
We don't often see Voles leaping, but this one is leaping towards camera (hence shadow on stone) and may have been startled the arrival of the Dunnock behind the stone.
Fieldmice (Wood Mice) have been all over the place last & this week and a bit of rain (about 12mm = half inch) has brought out the slugs and snails as well.
"Whats this?" - it's weeks since it rained and this young fieldmouse (wood mouse) has probably not seen a snail before.
Rabbits are so twee when young ...
But when Rabbits reach this size they are responsible for a lots of damage to young trees - hence the sea of plastic you see at new woodland and hedge plantings protecting the bark of saplings.
At the extreme right of the frame this Grey Squirrel feeds messily at the freshly baited site, taking up the 'classic' pose' whilst while bits of Hazelnut husk & shell go flying as it bites it's way to the kernel.
The first Horse chestnut Conkers are falling, and the Grey squirrel is busy collecting and hiding them.
An angled stick at the main pond attracted this mating pair of Common Darters. The male at the top clasps the female by the 'neck' - only the claspers of the same species will fit! They can fly about in tandem like this, and lay by the pair dipping the females tail into the water. Different dragonfly species lay in range of ways and places.
A male Ruddy Darter kept bothering the pair - he probably thought the female was 'suitable' for his amorous attentions - we all know what lads are like! Each time the pair landed on the stick along he would come and disturb them.
This Hobby made a flyover and opportunity for some photos. They mostly hunt dragonflies so will be having a hard time this year.
A visit by the young male kestrel was swiftly curtailed by a couple of rooks. The following morning he was perched on a telephone pole footrest hunting in peace.
We still have several blue butterflies on the plot whenever the sun comes out. Here a Common Blue male feeding on a nearly finished clover flower.
The dominant meadow flower at the moment is the Purple Loosestrife. Here a male Common Blue butterfly sips up some nectar
These two mating flies arrived on the sloping stick to attract dragonflies.
ID was difficult even with help, and are absent from all but one of our
books. Wikipedia & some other web sites came to the rescue -
the general consensus is the primitive Crane-fly
Ptychoptera contaminata which has no common
If you can provide a positive ID please let us know.
An unusual and rare plant is the parasitic Greater Dodder loaned to us to take photographs in Ultra Violet which turned out, like most things, not very interesting. See our UV Section. The plant starts off seeding in the ground, but then taps into the stems of nettles and eventually gives up its own roots.
Here is a Southern Hawker Dragonfly laying eggs on a sodden branch left by the edge of the main pond for a couple of years. If you want wildlife, untidiness can be a virtue! We noticed the insects unusual behaviour through the window and stampeded out into the drizzle to see these few minutes for a first time.
We watched entranced (and wet) for several minutes as the Southern Hawker Dragonfly placed eggs in various spots. Here you get a good view of her egg laying equipment.
A pair of Wood Pigeons watched us approach and finally decided that we were close enough. About 7 fps but the frames are separated by about 50% extra gap to stop them overlapping
Wonderful dramatic show of clouds, but it didn't produce any rain for our parched plot.
The bottom of hedge ground level camera caught this image at the right edge of the frame. This one has to have been jumping down from climbing high in the hedge to find berries
Next day, at about the same time, we have a sort of 'what happened next' moment. We have no idea whether it is the same mouse.
We had hoped that the characteristic purple centre flower of 'Wild Carrot'
(also known as 'birds nest' plant)
might show something interesting in Ultra Violet light, but
were disappointed all of the petals on both sides dark in UV
See A survey of British Wildlife in Ultra Violet (UV) Light
This natural light image includes detail showing the centre flower which takes a different form as well as colour to the white flowers.
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