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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day

31 Dec 2014

A peaceful moment as a pair of chaffinches feed on the freshly sprinkled corn.

Ref: E63_20141030_1628_046_FB1 Chaffinch pair feeding on ground.jpg

This male chaffinch just looks so pristine and full of himself that we couldn't resist including him.

Ref: E63_20141031_1614_094_FB1 Chaffinch male in proud posture.jpg

30 Dec 2014

In the conservatory we hear the scrabbling feet of Wagtails exploring the roof. By leaving through the front door and walking round the house we can sometimes get to see & photograph them from the outside. This White Wagtail has shortened the usual 'wait for a fly to emerge and dive on it' strategy - it just picked this torpid fly out of the crevice!

Ref: DF2_20141031_1222_036-038 White Wagtail picking fly out of crevice in conservatory roof 1-3 of 4 (montage).jpg

29 Dec 2014

Breakfast time for this Song Thrush.
All of the known 'Anvil' sites are currently disused - we hope to discover where snails are now being smashed.

Ref: E63_20141027_0819_011_FB1 Song Thrush.jpg

28 Dec 2014

In the Autumn debris, an immaculate Magpie took this photo.

Ref: E64_20141027_1529_010_FB2 Magpie.jpg

A chance moment of a Grey Squirrel hogging down a corn and peanut butter mix, as a magpie takes off behind.

Ref: E64_20141028_1629_059_FB2 Grey Squirrel with mouthful of food as Magpie takes off behind.jpg

27 Dec 2014

One of a pair of White Wagtails caught an insect taking off from the roof ridge. The top image shows the White Wagtail launching towards the fly just above the surface of the ridge cap. The second image (about 140mS later) the insect was fleeing but the bird has caught it anyway already within the open beak. It is clearer in the shadow than in the direct image!

Ref: DF2_20141028_1241_044-045 White Wagtail catching fly from roof ridge 1+2 of 3 (accurate montage).jpg

This was our first attempt at the above montage. The initial position of the insect was muddled in with the shadow of the foot of the flying bird, so we didn't include it. The third image was obviously delayed but it sort of finishes the sequence.

Ref: DF2_20141028_1241_044-046 White Wagtail catching fly from roof ridge 1-3 of 3 (impression montage).jpg

26 Dec 2014

"What's up there then?"

Ref: E64_20141025_1756_148_FB2 Grey Squirrel looking upwards.jpg

25 Dec 2014

Not long enough sunshine for a decent thermal so this Buzzard flew round the plot on flapping wing power, and thus rather lower than usual

Ref: DF2_20141027_1225_100 Buzzard in flapping flight (selected) 05 of 15 (crop).jpg

24 Dec 2014

A family group of Goldfinches was feeding around the back of the house. The adults were feeding on Teasel heads we poke into the hedge top for them. Although in shade we can actually get within a few metres looking through the living-room window and get some detail. Here is a seed about to go down the hatch.

Ref: DF2_20141023_1219_105 Goldfinches feeding on Teasel heads (crop).jpg

On a clump of Willow trees at the edge of the pond a couple of juvenile Goldfinches (with gold flash but no red on the head yet) were picking over the willow tree for insects.

Ref: DF2_20141023_1220_134 Goldfinch juvenile feeding in Willow tree (crop).jpg

We have not noticed before that the adults 'garden' the teasel heads when the long spikes prevent them from reaching the seeds. They bite as far down the spike as they can reach, then grip the top to bend it out of the way, and then push it down. Not so 'bird brained' then!

Ref: DF2_20141023_1221_178 Goldfinches feeding on Teasel heads - breaking & bending long spikes (crop).jpg

23 Dec 2014

We have reached the time of year when sun-warmed roof slates bring along the Wagtails - in this case a pair of White Wagtails. All the Wagtail varieties hunt by waiting on the ridge and flying down to grab whatever appears. Here one flew past the other who was calling, and then launched itself after the passing bird. No fight ensued - they just landed separately on the roof ridge out of frame to left.
We had some trouble representing this as a montage. This first try is most attractive.

Ref: DF2_20141022_0936_072-074 White Wagtail flying past another on roof ridge 1-3 of 3 (right to left montage).jpg

This vertically aligned montage from the same images says more about how the birds were actually moving, but has lost a lot of its elegance. A third try with white horizontal bars seems likely to be better, but didn't work at all (not included).

Ref: DF2_20141022_0936_072-074 White Wagtail flying past another on roof ridge 1-3 of 3 (vertically aligned montage 1).jpg

22 Dec 2014

Surprise of the week was this Peregrine Falcon - our first ever ID of one. The bird is a bit bigger than a Sparrowhawk, but smaller than a Buzzard. As we exited the house it was flying over a pair of 25 year old Black poplars. This was the first frame in-focus.

Ref: DF2_20141019_1222_003 Peregrine Falcon (1st record) flying round plot as we left rear of house 01 of 30 (crop).jpg

Peregrine Falcons are known for being the fastest creatures in the world when in a 'stoop' after prey. But they fly pretty fast just going from A to B - we measure about 25 bird length per second making a montage view not very satisfying. From the flyby here is a decent view of the top of the wings

Ref: DF2_20141019_1222_023 Peregrine Falcon (1st record) flying round plot as we left rear of house 10 of 30 (crop).jpg

It wasn't until we examined the images later that we realised that this a captive bird fitted with Jesses and two bells on it's feet.

Ref: DF2_20141019_1222_077 Peregrine Falcon (1st record) flying round plot as we left rear of house 28 of 30 (crop showing jesses).jpg

21 Dec 2014

As the nights lengthen we are starting to see more of the Owls. Here is the dark-faced tawny owl and a rather attractive 1-off image of the Barn owl with right leg ring.

Ref: D01_20141019_2334_010+0541_006_FB6 Tawny Owl 2 minute visit 3 of 4 + Barn Owl (right leg ringed) single frame (montage).jpg

20 Dec 2014

In the distance we saw a large dark bird getting the mobbing treatment from about a dozen Rooks, but we were unable to decide what the target bird was and assumed that this would remain one of life's many 'don't knows'. But the bird slowly flew in our general direction, and finally over an adjacent arable field and between us and the black poplars about 100m away. Well this turned out to be our first ever identification of a Raven.

Ref: DF2_20141017_1228_062-064 Raven flying by @ 5fps 7-9 of 9 (accuate montage).jpg

The closest our first sighting of a Raven got to us - about 100m away as it passed in front of a Black Poplar tree.

Ref: DF2_20141017_1228_090-92 Raven flying by in front of black poplar tree @ 5fps 1-3 of 7 (accurate montage 2).jpg

19 Dec 2014

What seems to be the same Tawny owl made 3 short visits to the post about 3 hours apart (10p.m + midnight + 3a.m.). Not seen at all in the following 4 days.

Ref: D01_20141014_2051_008+2348_012+20141015_0315_015 3 Tawny Owl visits about 3 Hrs between each (montage).jpg

About 30 minutes after the middle image above, we got this (most likely the same) Tawny Owl flying away from the kitchen window. An inspection of the CCTV recording shows that the bird landed on the top of the free-standing peanut feeder (out of crop to the right) 15 minutes earlier (without triggering the IR beam to the left of the feeder) and had stayed there until take-off breaking the beam for this image.
Way out of focus & heavily 'sharpened' - any larger sample looks horrid!

Ref: E60_20141015_0023_071_FB3 Tawny Owl Flying away (crop).jpg

18 Dec 2014

This Barn Owl is catching a rodent (looks like a mouse) and eating it on the top of the Meadow post. This is the whole sequence.
From the timings of the frames & very poor CCTV images we see that the owl spent about 30 seconds on the top of the post, flew away from camera to catch it's meal, then flew back and took his photo again after landing (the beam runs through the middle of the post and did not trigger on the landing). It then eats its prize in about 4 beakfulls (dips to the talons visible on CCTV). We have only ever seen them eaten 'whole' in TV programs so were surprised to see the bottom left frame showing some uneaten parts that fit with our '4 dips' observation The final frame shows the cleaned up 'plate', and then it flew off.

Ref: D01_20141011_1915_003+004+1916_005+1917_006 Barn Owl (ring on right leg) momentarily on Meadow post returns with rodent & eats it 1-4 of 4 (montage).jpg

17 Dec 2014

We have suddenly clued in to Grey squirrels having a partly developed 'thumb' on their fore-paws. They have 5 claws on the hind paws (feet) and 4 claws plus 'thumb' on the front paws (hands). We don't find the 'thumb' at all well represented in ID book drawings, and some even get the digit counts the wrong way round for front and rear paws.

Ref: D36_20141002_1740_019_FB4 Grey Squirrel with view of paws with poorly developed thumb.jpg

We have suddenly clued in to the rear paws of Grey squirrels turning right round so that the claws can grip a tree running down the trunk head first - a very unusual feature!

Ref: D36_20141009_1352_013_FB4 Grey Squirrel leaving tree-stump showing rear claws swivelled to grip wood (crop 2).jpg

We have suddenly clued in to the rear paws of Grey squirrels turning right round so that the claws can grip a tree running down the trunk head first - a very unusual feature!

Ref: D36_20141014_0749_035_FB4 Grey Squirrel leaving tree-stump top with rear paws swivelled.jpg

16 Dec 2014

We spotted this female Kestrel hunting over our meadow and photographed her through the bars of a security gate - she is intolerant of humans in the open. The end of her third hover, when she flew off to the South.

Ref: DF2_20141008_1616_182-186 Kestrel female hovering over meadow looking about & flying off @5fps (selected) 27-31 of 33 (montage).jpg

Moving between hovers we get a view of the top of this female kestrel's wings

Ref: DF2_20141008_1616_091 Kestrel female hovering over meadow looking about & flying off @5fps (selected) 05 of 33 (crop).jpg

During one hover this female Kestrel's attention gets taken with something we had no sight of off to our left.

Ref: DF2_20141008_1616_155 Kestrel female hovering over meadow looking about & flying off @5fps (selected) 20 of 33 (crop).jpg

15 Dec 2014

A Sweet Chestnut has been taken to the top of the tree-stump to be Ripped open. Judging by the debris we find, they also use the slates on top of bits of photo equipment and other flat surfaces .

Ref: D36_20141003_1418_038_FB4 Grey Squirrel opening Sweet Chestnut.jpg

We don't know why the Grey squirrels bring food, like the earlier sweet chestnut and this time a bunch of Ash seeds, to the top of the tree-stump. Maybe it is flat and another Squirrel can't try to steal the food without warning!

Ref: D36_20141006_1805_037_FB4 Grey Squirrel with carrying bunch of Ash seeds.jpg

14 Dec 2014

We occasionally see a Cormorant or pair flying high overhead, but here a single bird gave us this chance for a reasonably close image. Accurately positioned at about 5 fps .

Ref: DF2_20141005_1012_104-107 Cormorant in flight over Lombardy Poplar @5fps 6-9 of 9 (accurate montage).jpg

Another sequence (not accurately spaced) gives you a closer look at the Cormorant's wings in up and down positions.

Ref: DF2_20141005_1012_132+133 Cormorant in flight (selected) @5fps 09+10 of 10 (close montage).jpg

13 Dec 2014

A couple of visits by what is probably the same Tawny Owl across midnight The first visit lasted at least 14 minutes - this is a selection of the better images.

Ref: D01_20141006_2348_003+20141007_0001_016+0042_017+0043_018 Tawny Owl visits to meadow post 14 mins + 40 mins later 3 mins 1+6-8 of 9 (montage).jpg

12 Dec 2014

A single frame of two birds probably surprising each other with what looks like a simultaneous arrival.
No 'Air Traffic Controllers' here.

Ref: E63_20140929_1728_042_FB1 Robin and Chaffinch male flying into site simultaneously (crop).jpg

11 Dec 2014

After a summer without a sighting, a Barn owl took 4 frames of itself on the meadow post. This is the only image with a face, and you can see staining from blood on the white feathers just to the right of the bird's beak.
Owls look lovely, but they survive by killing.

Ref: D01_20141002_0254_008 Barn Owl 4 minute visit with traces of blood around beak.jpg

10 Dec 2014

We could have 'erased' the one bird breaking the symmetry of this Vegetarian society 'V' shape, but think the shape is lovely anyway. Birds fly in these formations to use the wake of the bird in front and to one side to get a 'tow'. At the moment all the geese fly off to the North East rather than to the local lakes.

Ref: DF2_20140928_0705_387 30 Canada Geese in V-shaped Skein at dawn (crop 1).jpg

When an image is overexposed and 'burnt out' we often make a negative of it as part of the procedure for correcting the highlights (which become lowlights where you can use gamma correction to selectively correct it). But as the negative appeared on the screen we both went 'oooo' and thought you might also enjoy the purity.

Ref: DF2_20140928_0705_387 30 Canada Geese in V-shaped Skein at dawn (negative crop 2).jpg

09 Dec 2014

The Hobby collecting lunch. The dot just below middle was in this position in the frame with the left bird, had just caught it about 200mS later, and was already moving it to the beak 200mS after that.
Life in the fast lane!

Ref: DF2_20140927_1228_133-135 Hobby catching insect in flight @5fps 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

08 Dec 2014

A 10 p.m. picnic for a pair of Fieldmice (Wood Mice)?

Ref: E63_20140919_2205_120_FB1 2 Fieldmice (Wood Mice) feeding in front of stone.jpg

Can you read expressions in mice? We don't know - but this one doesn't look too happy about what it is looking at.

Ref: E63_20140929_0026_442_FB1 Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) standing upright on stone.jpg

07 Dec 2014

On the CCTV we saw this heron land outside the kitchen and we crept into the kitchen for a few pics.

Ref: DF2_20140925_0908_021 Heron on grass in front of main pond (crop).jpg

The departure of a post van persuaded the Heron to leave. Standing back from the window so as not to be seen (the kitchen is very dark without lights) the windows frame quickly got in the way so we only got this launch. This montage is mirrored to give you left to right movement - the bird actually took off into the wind TOWARDS the post van.

Ref: DF2_20140925_0909_040-042 Heron Taking off from grass in front of main pond 1-3 of 3 (mirrored montage).jpg

06 Dec 2014

Stepping up to look over a hedge surprised both the photographer and this Heron just on the other side which promptly flew off. This image amazed us with the definition of the body contours, presumably a mix of feather patterns and muscles powering the startled climb, with lighting just right to accentuate the shapes.

Ref: DF2_20140924_1633_462 Heron in flight startled from ground (selected) 6 of 6 (crop).jpg

The startled heron powering it's way into the sky after being as surprised as the photographer at spotting each other.

Ref: DF2_20140924_1633_455-458 Heron in flight startled from ground (selected) 2-5 of 6 (approx montage @5fps).jpg

05 Dec 2014

This Sparrowhawk landed outside the kitchen Window for this drop-dead gorgeous portrait.

Ref: E60_20140924_0821_050_FB3 Sparrowhawk on perch (crop 2).jpg

Later in the morning possibly the same Sparrowhawk flew past us and then back, no doubt eyes peeled for an unsuspecting victim for his 'elevenses' (it was 10:50 a.m.).

Ref: DF2_20140924_1050_170+173+176+179 Sparrowhawk in flight (selected) 1+3+5+7 of 8 (montage).jpg

04 Dec 2014

"Eat this!".
Recently fledged juvenile Swallows perch on tree branches or cables, to be fed by the adults without them even landing
The claws of the parent (right) are unusually visible as his beak goes completely into the juveniles gape.

Ref: DF2_20140922_1418_612 Swallow juvenile on cable being fed by adult in flight (adults claws visible) 5 of 8 (crop).jpg

Recently fledged juvenile Swallows perch on tree branches or cables, to be fed by the adults without them even landing
This is a left to right montage. The bird lower right was disappointed this time, but the parents were surprisingly even-handed overall.

Ref: DF2_20140922_1400_486+488+490 Swallow juvenile on cable being fed by adult in flight 3+5+7 of 8 (montage alternate frames @7fps).jpg

03 Dec 2014

Recently fledged juvenile Swallows perch on tree branches or cables, to be fed by the adults without them even landing
In this instance the adult visited both of 2 juveniles next to each other on the wire, delivering part of his load to each bird all in about 3 seconds.
Start bottom right and follow clockwise. The 2 perched birds are shown at the moment that each was fed, and the bird in flight circled round to feed the bird on the left before flying back the way it came (top right).

Ref: DF2_20140922_1354_302-323 Swallow juveniles on cable being fed in sequence by adult in flight 01+02+06+10+17+22 of 22 (montage lower right clockwise).jpg

02 Dec 2014

Recently fledged juvenile Swallows perch on tree branches or cables to be fed by the adults without them even landing
Here you see the whole feed taking less than a second. The order is

          2   3
          4   5

Ref: DF2_20140922_1353_262-266 Swallow juvenile on cable being fed by adult in flight 1-5 of 7 (montage @ 7fps).jpg

Recently fledged juvenile Swallows perch on tree branches or cables, to be fed by the adults without them even landing
Here the adult in flight has delivered a beakful of insects to the perched juvenile, but a lucky one escaped and can be seen flying away. View the montage as pairs of birds left to right.

Ref: DF2_20140922_1349_171-173 Swallow juvenile on cable being fed by adult in flight with a fly escaping 4-6 of 6 (mirrored montage @7fps).jpg

01 Dec 2014

A couple of juvenile Swallows perched on main electricity cables for what must have been a late brood for these youngsters to be waiting to be fed - supplementary feeding 'on the wing' is more typical for this time of year. Here one of the Juvenile Swallows was briefly joined by a Goldfinch landing on the wire.

Ref: DF2_20140922_1308_010+011+013 Goldfinch landing on electricity cable near to juvenile Swallow 1-3 of 3 accurate adjusted montage @7fps).jpg

While waiting for food (sometimes 10 minutes or so apart, sometimes more than one visit a minute) this juvenile Swallow had a lovely stretch of both wings in turn. Note the very long wings.
The bird is going to need strong healthy wings for the first journey to Africa.

Ref: DF2_20140922_1317_065 Swallow juvenile stretching while perched on wire for next parent visit.jpg



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