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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
The next frames (adding nothing to the action) reveals no fly - it went in the beak of this Black-headed gull!
In this montage the fly is still visible just above the left wing of the middle image of the Black-headed gull and it is visible in the beak of the bottom frame. For once we actually got the whole thing!
With the air full of various insects, especially the
juicy Craneflies (Daddy Long legs for the uninitiated) we discovered that
Black-headed gull can catch & eat them in flight.
This bird almost stopped horizontal motion as it swung up to catch the insect, so the vertical positions of the bird are arbitrary, but the horizontal positions are approximately right. We were fortunate that the wing positions of the last 3 images almost fit together like a jigsaw for a nice compact presentation!
Another Cranefly goes down the throat of an ever hungry Black-headed gull. The third image just shows one of the wings hanging out of the beak - enlarged at the bottom right.
Seeing this ladybird at the beginning of autumn reminded us that after a flurry in the spring, we saw very few in the summer. This is our regular 7-spot species, and relief at seeing very few Harlequin invaders this year.
In the last warm days of summer this pair of Speckled Wood butterflies fluttered around each other in a pool of woodland light. We love watching this, and sometimes try to capture the feeling as here.
We photographed this Hobby flying by, but it was only later when
the images were on our PC that we saw to our astonishment that
this hunting bird caught an insect in front of us.
Read the montage left to right in 3 descending rows:-
Image 1: The insect is about 3 bird lengths to the right of the bird.
Image 2: The gap is down to 1 body length and the talons are swinging forward.
Image 3: The catch!
Image 7: Transfer to the beak.
Image 12: All done and the talons start their way back to 'retracted'.
The whole sequence lasts just over 2 seconds.
Here are images 3 and 7 in more detail.
Don't get confused by the numbering - the 12 image montage starts at Frame 3 (Image 1) of the 14 image sequence we have on file.
Wow - a close to full frame Sparrowhawk at the kitchen window just as it landed on the peanut feeder perch and took its own portrait
We noticed that many of the gulls were jinking about in flight,
and wondered why, so spent several hundred frames trying to catch
the behaviour. This one event really surprised us - chasing and
catching a small insect in the tip of it's beak, then opening the
gape and letting the breeze of flight blow it in.
Subsequent photos show that this is not typical - gulls catch crane-flies and similar in an open beak - perhaps this was a bee that it needed to subdue first.
Read this montage left to right - that black dot really is the insect which is in the beak tip in the second and third image and is in the gape in the last.
This montage from the same set of originals is at the camera's resolution. Look carefully to see what we described above.
A Comma butterfly showing the dark bottom of the wing with the white 'comma', and a glimpse of the vivid orange top surface.
Nobody wants to be stung by a Hornet, but if you don't interfere with them they generally return the compliment. This one seems to be feeding on the wood of the roof of a dilapidated shed by scraping at the loose wood fragments in water damaged chipboard.
Another image of the Hornet showing the fascinating face with weird shaped compound eyes and the 3 'simple eyes', formally called Ocelli, as dots between the main compound eyes. The Ocelli have small lenses (unlike compound eyes) and are thought to help in flight stability.
Since seeing the first hornet on the Chipboard we have seen several Hornets around the site. This one landed on the Duckweed and from the other side of the pond we could see it was drinking.
A Buzzard occasionally visits the 11kV crossbar where we can just about get interesting images of it. Here was a flight down to below the hedge. It didn't re-appear in the several minutes we waited. We have split the fight into 2 sequences so the bird appears more than just a speck.
The Greenfinches have only just re-appeared for the Autumn, and already they are squabbling. Who turned away first we wonder. Genuine single frame.
We picked up this Cricket on a path before it got trodden on, and photographed it 'in the hand' - for scale this is the base of an adult's thumb. The Antenna rising upwards continues for about another frame height - we didn't want to lose the detail of the insects body by shrinking it.
We put the insect in the longer grass, and then struggled to get a good image! One antenna goes up and left, the other is bent down to the right.
To our horror it then leapt off towards the pond, and jumped right in. We grabbed a hat to scoop it out, but it was managing perfectly fine on the dense weed, so we left it in peace.
About 7 seconds of action of a surprise encounter with a fox has
taken several hours of decision making and 'argument' to produce
this set of impressions. We surprised the fox over a hedge with the
fox trotting along the field edge. The moment the fox spotted the
human it went into a fast run, and once past settled to lope.
This was the moment of horror as the Fox spotted the human.
These two montages are an un-broken run accurately montaged at 5 frames per second as the fox ran over disused track onto the grass.
Our favourite image of the fox, all 4 paws well clear of the ground, just before it disappeared behind the hedge again.
Several Red Admiral butterflies were sunning themselves on the orchard apple and plum trees. The rotting & fermenting fallen fruit attracts a variety of butterflies to feed and sometimes get a little 'drunk'!
A detail from the above.
2 Red Admiral butterflies resting on some weed seed heads tangled in some the branches of a young plum tree. Although they show well here we hadn't noticed the one on the right until the one on the left landed next to it. Black is usually a very good camouflage, except in snow!
Most Grey squirrels have fairly uniform fur on their tails - mostly grey with streaks & areas of black and brown. But this individual has a lovely white brown and black mottled tail that from some angles gives the impression of rings down the length.
"Boys will be Boys"
.. says the girl chaffinch peeping round the side of the stone beneath the fracas.
After a few days absence, a Tawny Owl made a 5 minute visit. This is the middle 3 photos of 5, arranged for effect rather than by time.
This Grey Heron was stealthily working its way along the hedge obviously hunting in the base. The walk and actions were too erratic for an accurate time-lapse montage, so here is an impression. The whole sequence covers almost 20 minutes.
Finally getting too close to the road entrance another 20m or so to the left, the Heron finally departed on the wing but staying close to the ground, finally flying over the hedge and vanishing from our site without re-appearing.
A chance single tiny purple Buddleia flower in a patch growing through brambles by the garage attracted this pristine Small Tortoiseshell butterfly for a feed. This insect will hibernate for the winter and re-appear in the Spring to breed.
A pristine male Brimstone butterfly at this time of year means the first of the autumn emergence. It will spend the winter in some protected spot (shed, loft, woodpile) and emerge next year to find a girl to mate with to make another generation of yellow shimmering.
Hawker Dragonflies can basically fly in any direction they want. This Southern Hawker one was dropping down at about 45 degrees under perfect control. Accurate montage at 7 fps
This male Southern Hawker dragonfly seemed at the time to be stationary, but over the 22 frames of which this is the first and last, he rose about 1 body length during the 3 seconds.
This juvenile Green Woodpecker stopped on the post top, jumped around a bit on it for a couple of minutes, and then flew off. See how the breast is a mix of down and speckled feathers.
Sparrowhawk sightings are usually brief affairs as they speed from one hunting area to another, catching their prey by surprise. They fly fast - this is about a third of a second of flight and the correct spacing between the bird images should be about 3 times body length. Sparrowhawk always show what we call the 'mad yellow eye'.
Who would be a Kestrel.
This one is being chased by about 30 Jackdaws!
Several Jackdaws pursued the Kestrel as he made his escape. (This is a single frame - not a montage)
A Rook took exception to this buzzard invading his 100 acres!
The buzzard below turns right over to defend himself with his talons.
Several minutes later a buzzard made this close flyover. These are too closely spaced - we have no reference to montage accurately so haven't even guessed.
A Hobby in hot pursuit of dragonflies flew around the site. This is an accurately montage sequence.
This is the first 3 images from the montage to provide more detail of the bird.
3 moments from a buzzard flying past, spaced about 1 second apart arbitrarily spaced.
We normally try to avoid showing you images where birds are blinking or have their eyes protected by the inner eyelids - the nictating (aka nictitating) membrane - because it gives the wrong impression. But a sequence at 7 frames per second of this buzzard in flight had just one frame with the membrane over the eye as it blinked, so we are showing you how it looks like a diseased eye but is not.
Our favourite single frame of the Buzzard flyby.
This Grey Squirrel sports the 'punk' fur look in the rain. Looks really uncomfortable but the lure of the freshly filled peanut feeder is irresistible!.
A young Rabbit that really doesn't need to practice looking sweet.
Some years a Rat appears for a week or two. Lets hope this one stays in it's proper place - OUTSIDE!
Even Rats can look Twee!
This male Southern Hawker dragonfly landed on this leaf of a Sweet chestnut (not that we get a crop - the Grey squirrels take them all before they are ripe) and was unusually tolerant of us moving around him. He looks absolutely pristine and likely emerged from the nearby Duck-shaped pond.
This male Southern Hawker dragonfly landed on this leaf of a Sweet chestnut and was unusually tolerant of us moving around him. He looks absolutely pristine and likely emerged from the nearby Duck-shaped pond.
This juvenile Chaffinch seems to have mastered both landing and doing so along the sense beam line so she is in focus!
A squabble at the peanut feeder - the Great Tit knows when it is beaten!
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