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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
For a couple of days the main pond was visited by just this one male Mallard Duck with 2 females. While the females are building themselves up the male 'guards' them - i.e. tries to keep them for himself come Spring!
Looking UP we see the characteristic bare branches of Winter against a still blue sky. The lowering sun lit up the bare silver birches. But birch bark only goes white after a few years so you get this lovely brown shading near the top of the tree.
Looking DOWN we see the first signs of Spring. Snowdrops are making an appearance in a shaded but sheltered corner of the main pond bank. If you look at the tallest spike you can see the cross-over of two as yet unfurled petals.
Corn grain eaten like we would tackle of whole corn cob.
In the dark, two fieldmice (wood mice) mingle their whiskers in the hollow gouged under the end of the stone by numerous denizens looking for food.
A bank vole looking under the side of the stone to see what the mice might have missed.
A Plunging Dunnock caught crisply in focus for once.
Only 6 minutes after the last recorded bird visit the evening gloom attracts out the first fieldmice (wood mice).
A little romance in the offing, like the balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet?
A little whisker mingling at the top!
What a sweetie - a young fieldmouse (wood mouse) poised on a small red crab apple.
3 creatures selecting their favourites from the menu.
A favourite food of the Fieldmice (Wood Mice): Corn grains
A favourite food of the Grey Squirrel: Hazelnuts
A favourite food of the Magpie: cooked food waste - here a small potato (when there isn't a tasty mouse available)
Up in the branches this Bluetit is wheedling seeds from the Birches
This male Pheasant makes an unexpectedly elegant landing on the kitchen window perch. These 2 frames taken within the same minute.
During cold weather birds can get very aggressive around the feeders.
4 Successive frames saw this chaffinch flying fairly close by the male Great Spotted Woodpecker within just 3 minutes. We are sure it was trying harass it away.
Its no good - we think the powerful Rook on the left looks 'sweet'. We must be spending too much time looking at birds!
This juvenile heron took about 7 minutes to catch this insect (no idea what it is). It stood still for about 5 minutes in relaxed pose (sometimes on one leg) and then suddenly took an interest, speared something in the long grass, and tossed it back into the gape (very poor image not included)
This Tawny owl made this nice landing on the perch (which we saw
on CCTV as well) but stayed for only a few seconds before flying off.
The time stamp for this image is a few minutes fast.
A minute or two later it (or another - we have in the past seen 2 Tawny owls at once here) Tawny Owl landed on the Meadow post and we got a few portraits by the light of the full moon (the same day that it was finishing being eclipsed as it rose). The exposure was at 6400 ISO for 'a few' seconds.
Just run your eye over the variety of brown black and white feather patterns!
We see foxes every night on the end of orchard IR stealth cam, but this is the first sighting for weeks at a high quality site, and what a lovely youngster.
A cold but sunny and still middle of day unexpectedly had this buzzard flying right over us in the characteristic circle and climb indicating it had found a 'thermal'. Of course it is a local temperature difference that creates the thermal, rather than warmth.
A few days later another raptor, a Sparrowhawk with a more smash-and-grab technique, triggered the camera at a peanut feeder. We have no idea of the outcome - the Great Spotted Woodpecker is banking hard with head at the left and already wings folded so probably had enough speed to escape.
During a short snow shower (try saying that a few times!) the camera caught this moment as this bad tempered chaffinch male told the Great Tit it "wasn't welcome".
Greenfinches reappeared after a summer and autumn absence, and are really aggressive towards each other and any other creature that gets in their way. Here a Great Tit flees the wrath of the Greenfinch.
Destructive though they are, Grey Squirrels really are a delight to the eye. Here one has picked up a rather stale half-chestnut to give it benefit of the teeth.
The original frame shows a skirmish between two Great tits, but this crop is more satisfying by omitting the very blurred second bird also in flight.
Many small birds chase away members of their own or other species to get access to food. Here a Chaffinch is chasing off a Bluetit.
Several Fieldfares spent some time drinking at the back of the main pond. This is the same bird over a couple of seconds . Most birds, like this one, drink by submerging the beak, closing it, and then tipping the water back into the throat.
This is an original frame of a Sundog that lasted about 1 minute as this little patch of cloud moved through the right position. It started as an abnormally bright white cloud, moved through the static sky positions for the colour bands, and then reverted to a normal looking hazy cloud.
There was a total eclipse of the moon on Saturday 10th 2011 but by the time the moon rose in the UK it was almost over. Here are a couple of images taken at dusk (4.20 p.m.) using a hand-held camera as the moon appeared above the haze at the horizon. The first image gives the impression including the dark landscape.
The image shows more how the moon appeared to the eye which can adapt to the huge contrast far better than a camera. The earth's shadow was creeping off at the top right.
The Grey squirrels are stuffing themselves with nuts and other goodies.
What the Grey squirrels don't want to eat now, they take away and hide.
Goldfinches seem to be many peoples favourite small birds, and are certainly high on our list. This bird (and a few of his friends nearby) wheedle seeds out of teasel heads for many months.
The various members of the Thrush family have profitably feasted on the hawthorn berries (haws) in hedges and trees. Here is a Fieldfare part way through swallowing a Haw.
This is the female blackbird that 'owns' the back garden manoeuvring a Hawthorn berry (Haw) down with her tongue.
Although this heron has been mostly catching worms in the meadow, here it has caught a fieldmouse (wood mouse) incautiously out in daylight. It caught it at the edge of long grass along with a lot of dead grass, shook it about obviously still very much alive, turned it round (last frame we show), then crushed it in the beak and swallowed it. The last few images might upset some of you, so we have stopped before it becomes more graphic. They are available on request as usual.
This juvenile Heron that regularly visited our meadow area mostly took earthworms from in and around fresh mole-hills. It could catch one every few minutes when it puts it's mind to it. It picks them up in the beak tip, and then throws them back into the gape. These two images are about 0.2 seconds apart, and in the next one (another 0.2 seconds on, not shown) the beak was closed again. This explains why its hard to see what's happening using only the eye.
More Owls as a New-Year treat.
We hear tawny owls calling less than kilometre to our south, and at least one is making regular visits to either the Kitchen window perch or the tree stump. Here a bird landed to make a lovely portrait.
This is one of many taken through the kitchen window to maneuvering the normally static camera about by guesswork in the dark. It has landed on top of a large peanut feeder which is just a convenient perch for the owl, rather than a souce of food.
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