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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day

30 Apr 2015

Through the branches of a Black Poplar the sun was dimmed by the layer of clouds so you could easily see the sunspot at '6 o'clock' with the naked eye.

Ref: DF3_20150317_1737_020 Sun through clouds showing full disc with sunspots at poles (crop).jpg

This is the progress of the eclipse over 50 minutes. The times are the 4 digit number in the label. This image is rendered in Monochrome for clarity.

Ref: P34_20150320_0840_895+0921+0931+0942+1020_944 Eclipse of Sun 20 Mar 2015 & cloud 1+3+6+8+10 of 10 (montage monochrome).jpg

In previous Eclipses of the sun we have enjoyed the dappled light through trees making hundreds of mini-crescents on the ground. But that was in summertime and the bare trees of Winter do not oblige. But we did notice that the weak shadows of the bare branches looked unusually crisply edged on smooth surfaces such as the concrete track near our garage. You would expect this from the smaller size light source the eclipse provides.

Ref: P34_20150320_0937_916 Eclipse of Sun 20 Mar 2015 through thin cloud - unusually sharp edged shadows 07 of 10 (crop).jpg

2 days and half an hour later the morning sun obliged to allow this comparison of full sun (between the clouds). Although the shadows are darker at the centres the edges are distinctly more fuzzy.
Neither of these images has received any sharpening during image processing. The viewpoints are unintentionally not quite the same but we think this serves to illustrate the point. If you make a pinhole camera or lens-less camera obscura you get the same effect - the larger the hole (light source ) the brighter the image but the more fuzzy it will be. Very small holes produce other deleterious effects (by diffraction) but we are far from these effects here.

Ref: P34_20150322_1005_946 Similar image of tree shadows 2 days after Eclipse of Sun 20 Mar 2015 but full sun (crop).jpg

29 Apr 2015

The Robins have to smother their normal territorial aggression if they are going to 'get together' to make a new generation. Here is an evening assignation and a morning song!

Ref: D36_20150316_1637_025+20150317_0729_037_FB4 Robin pair courting evening and next morning (montage).jpg

28 Apr 2015

As the nights shorten the number of Owl visits declines
This was a short visit by a Tawny owl to the meadow post. That last gaze downwards looks very purposeful to us!

Ref: D01_20150318_2310_012+2311_013+2313+016_FB6 Tawny Owl 4 minute visit to meadow post 1+2+4 of 4 (montage).jpg

The last Barn owl visit recently - this Owl is starting to visit less as the nights shorten.

Ref: D01_20150319_1838_002_FB6 Barn Owl (right leg ring) 1 minute visit 1 of 2 (crop).jpg

27 Apr 2015

The Muntjac deer must know by now that visits to this site will be accompanied by clicking noises and a flash, but she comes anyway. A click and flash 2m away is much less frightening than a human 30m away!

Ref: E64_20150313_1759_056_FB2 Muntjac Deer female.jpg

26 Apr 2015

We rarely manage to catch Dunnocks taking off or in flight. So catching this one even deep shade was worth making a montage of taking off from a Hazel tree already with a few catkins. The leaves behind the bird belong to the ever rampant Blackberry brambles.

Ref: DF2_20150313_1559_101+106-108 Dunnock taking off from trimmed hazel branch 1-4 of 4 (montage 2).jpg

25 Apr 2015

We often find items at the photo sites moved about, but don't know who did it. Here over 5 minutes we see that this Rook rolled over the log to get at the food fallen underneath.
Every few weeks or months we repair these sites from a bucket of liquid mud to fill the creature excavated cavities and glue the log or stone back into place for a while. But you can only do this on warm dry days when the mud will quickly set. We are still waiting for the weather!

Ref: E64_20150310_1705_073+1706_074+1710_075_FB2 Rook rolling over log for food underneath 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

24 Apr 2015

The first Ladybird out and about this year, rather than comatose in some protected cranny. This is our most common - the 7-spot ladybird - sunning itself on a piece of Lichen.

Ref: DF2_20150310_1608_269 7-spot Ladybird in Blackthorn hedge on piece of Yellow Lichen (crop).jpg

Our Blackthorn hedges seem to have 2 types of lichen on them - a yellow variety and a light grey. Normally one or other dominates on a particular twig, but here they are 'fighting it out'. Lichen looks as if it should be soft, but is quite hard to the touch.

Ref: DF2_20150311_1334_441 Lichens with yellow and grey colours on Blackthorn in hedge (crop about 8cm wide).jpg

23 Apr 2015

We noticed that the Yew Tree was shedding pollen when bumped, and tried to capture the moment. The Pollen is white and only shows against dark, here the tree's own leaves.
Two facts seem to emerge:-
1: 'The Book' says that Yew trees are either male or female - in that case ours is male.
2: By evergreen standard they are pretty measly with their pollen - we had a lot of trouble getting even this poor effort.

Ref: DF2_20150310_1107_063 Yew tree catkins shedding pollen (crop).jpg

22 Apr 2015

This moorhen visits all of the ground leve camera sites, and all of the 3 large ponds. At one time it was sometimes accompanied by another, but we haven't seen 2 together for weeks.

Ref: E63_20150308_1701_156_FB1 Moorhen at stone with shadow.jpg

An evening moorhen looking particularly well preened. We have not seen 2 moorhen at once for weeks, but go on hoping.

Ref: E64_20150309_1718_029_FB2 Moorhen.jpg

21 Apr 2015

The Sad tale the Rabbit and Fox ...
Mid-morning we found this Rabbit lying dead on the inside path of our East boundary. It was still limp and an examination showed no signs of injury or distress. It has just died within the last hour or so. We moved it to a photo site to see what would happen to it.
At about 2 a.m. this young fox arrived, probably couldn't believe it's luck, and dragged the prize away. We could find no trace of where the rabbit was dragged to. Better this outcome we think, than left rotting in a hedge somewhere.

Ref: E64_20150308_0155_089_FB2 Fox pulling away freshly dead Rabbit moved from Inner East path to FB2 4 of 5 (crop).jpg

20 Apr 2015

9 Tree sparrows here. If you count them as 8 note that there are 2 birds almost aligned where the left edge of the feeder is hidden by their heads. There may be more on the hanging feeder out of frame below.

Ref: E60_20150309_1335_024_FB3 9 Tree Sparrows around peanut feeder.jpg

Here is the same group feeding the grass at the edge of the main pond is 9 of them, and we think there were a few more not visible in the tufty grass.

Ref: D5C_20150308_1604_012 9 Tree Sparrows feeding on Grass at edge of Main pond.jpg

19 Apr 2015

A shaft of afternoon sun catches the whiskers and straggly fur of this Grey Squirrel.

Ref: D36_20150306_1338_042_FB4 Grey Squirrel with fur and whiskers highlighted by sunbeam.jpg

An hour or so later the wind was lifting the feathers of this robin, and a beam of sunlight highlighted the straggly bits for us.

Ref: D36_20150306_1510_046_FB4 Robin with wind ruffled feathers in shaft of sunlight (crop 2).jpg

18 Apr 2015

First meal of the night just after dark brought to the convenient dining table from somewhere around the post. We remember watching this in CCTV and the meal was caught on the left several metres towards the camera in rank grass tussocks.

Ref: D01_20150305_1833_011+1834_012+1835_013_FB6 Barn owl (leg ring) arriving with Rodent & swallowing it 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

Owl beaks normally hardly show among the feathers of the face. But in just this one frame we see the beak from top to bottom and is quite similar to most other hunting birds. Like other hunting birds, the capture of prey is done by the impressive claws.

Ref: D01_20150305_2020_073_FB6 Barn Owl on post top showing both halves of beak.jpg

17 Apr 2015

The only decent photo of a Badger at high quality photo site this week, and even this was at the edge of the frame.

Ref: E64_20150302_0431_165_FB2 Badger front view at edge of frame.jpg

Two nights earlier (allowing for this before midnight and the previous image just before dawn) the delight of 2 badgers fossicking around by the edge of the Round Pond. We don't know of any familial relationship

Ref: SW1_20150302_2212_025_SC1 2 Badgers (crop).jpg

16 Apr 2015

Wide open beak pointing at an unconcerned partner.
Courtship and bonding can be uncomfortably close to aggression in many species including our own.

Ref: E62_20150303_1612_097_FB5 2 Rooks one with beak wide open but not a threat.jpg

Lots of activity but no threat - this must be another couple of Rooks cementing their Pair-bond across the plot a few minutes from the other pair.

Ref: E64_20150303_1618_086_FB2 2 Rooks displaying to one another (q) (crop).jpg

15 Apr 2015

"Where's the Mouse Snack bar then?"

Ref: E64_20150303_0458_061_FB2 Fox (crop).jpg

14 Apr 2015

For over half an hour this Rook kept looking upwards from it's perch on the tree-stump. We suspect there was a Grey squirrel in the trees above who wanted to explore the stump for food, and the bird was concerned that it might get 'mugged' from above.

Ref: D36_20150302_1626_020_FB4 Rook on tree stump focusing upwards (crop).jpg

13 Apr 2015

Our pale plumage male Pheasant doing his Sunrise rounds.

Ref: E64_20150302_0657_172_FB2 Pheasant male with pale plumage.jpg

12 Apr 2015

We sometimes comment of the debris left by Grey Squirrels feeding, but here is an unusually complete illustration - the chewed centre of the fir cone, and a lot of the debris from the stripped segments. This is how we found (and left) it - 'untouched by human hand'.

Ref: DF2_20150301_1405_184 Fir cone debris after Grey squirrel dismantled cone (orig).jpg

11 Apr 2015

This Moorhen (may be a male or female) was 'chugging' about on the main pond in bright morning sunshine, complete with reflected light streaking her body, and a not too bad reflection.
It's no good - we have enjoyed Moorhen on our ponds now for over 2 decades, and they still remind us of a windup clockwork toy with their heads moving backwards and forwards in time with their leg movements.

Ref: D5C_20150301_0832_174 Moorhen on main pond with reflection (crop).jpg

10 Apr 2015

The Great Spotted Woodpeckers use the Ash tree on the main pond island as a staging post to and from the peanut feeder. We adore the yellow Lichen on many of our trees. Although it looks likely to be soft even when about to touch it, these Lichen are hard & almost sharp.
Lichens are interesting symbiotic organisms of algae and fungus and grow best in clean air. See

Ref: D5C_20150223_1334_013 Great Spotted Woodpecker on Ash tree.jpg

09 Apr 2015

One of our lovely Collared doves illustrating how cold some nights are at this open-air site

Ref: E62_20150222_0711_176_FB5 Collared Dove in frost.jpg

One of our Collared Doves looking particularly perky.

Ref: D36_20150220_1350_032_FB4 Collared Dove.jpg

08 Apr 2015

We recently installed a replacement perch at the kitchen window peanut feeder and realigned the camera. We now see more small birds at once feeding together. Here a Great Tit plays King of the Castle on the hanger ring at the top.

Ref: E60_20150220_1510_145_FB3 5 Bluetits + Chaffinch female + Tree Sparrow + 3 Great Tits around peanut feeder.jpg

07 Apr 2015

A Robin in an almost 'Wren like' posture may still find some tiny piece of food caught up in the wood grain.

Ref: D36_20150223_0945_005_FB4 Robin angular posture while pecking over stump top.jpg

The Tree sparrow doesn't seem pleased to see the Robin arriving in this pre-dawn encounter.

Ref: E63_20150222_0711_143_FB1 Robin about to land by or on tree sparrow standing on stone (crop).jpg

06 Apr 2015

This Barn Owl sometimes brings along it's supper (or is it Breakfast?) in the form of some unidentified rodent. In the next frame 45 seconds later (not shown) the rodent was gone and the owl seemed to us to have a smug satisfied look!

Ref: D01_20150225_2110_064 Barn Owl with Rodent in beak & swallowing it 1 of 2 (crop).jpg

The longest single stay we have yet recorded for any owl is the 77 minutes for this Barn Owl. The automatic camera took over 100 exposures in succession. It looks like it started raining while it was there.

Ref: D01_20150225_2117_072+2208_116+2231_146 Barn owl arriving for 77 minute stay 1-3 of 4 (montage).jpg

05 Apr 2015

This female Kestrel took off from an 11KV power pole crossbar and flew a series of curves that took her close to us. We captured this sequence over about one third of a second here accurately montaged against clouds (which are out of this montage crop).

Ref: DF2_20150221_1512_148-150 Kestrel in flight 1-3 of 3 (accurate montage @7fps).jpg

2 minutes later she suddenly stopped a static hover and plunged down onto prey hidden from us by the hedge. This is just under 2 seconds of real time controlled descent and final dive.

Ref: DF2_20150221_1514_214-222 Kestrel female plunging to ground 01-11 of 11 (accurate montage of bird @7fps).jpg

04 Apr 2015

A badger is back at last!
Our last sighting was in June 2014 of an injured Badger taking refuge under a tarpaulin covered straw bale near our garage.

Ref: E64_20150217_0251_025_FB2 Badger stayed 15 minutes (crop).jpg

Fur detail indicates that it is the same individual at different sites 20 minutes apart. Note how this open site is frosted while the site above under a conifer is sheltered from the cold sky.

Ref: E62_20150217_0312_063_FB5 Badger (crop).jpg

03 Apr 2015

Not yet 'March' but the Hares are already beginning their frolics. This Hare launched into a run with the rising sun flaring the image in a way that rather reflects our memory of the moment with the dazzling sun sitting on the horizon. This montage is accurately positioned over about 1 second of run.

Ref: DF2_20150219_0721_033-039 Hare running in field to South flared by rising sun 7fps 01-07 of 13 (accurate montage).jpg

Before the run above this Hare was ambling partly towards the camera. These images are shifted successively leftwards so that the montage doesn't overlap.
We have 'tidied' the grass to hide the repeating pattern.

Ref: DF2_20150219_0721_023-027 Hare Lolloping in field to South 1-5 of 5 (horizontally spread montage @ 7fps).jpg

02 Apr 2015

The local female Kestrel spent a couple of days intensively hunting around our patch.
Here are 3 images vertically spread of her hovering. She spent about 5 minutes in a hover near the farm entrance oblivious to the traffic, dropping down in steps over what was obviously a 'beak-watering' prey.

Ref: DF2_20150218_1043_003+027+028 Kestrel female hovering 1-3 of 3 (vertically spread montage).jpg

Here we caught her hovering for 2 seconds against a distant hedge, and we hope you can see just how still the eye is as the wings, body and tail maneuver around to keep her eyes focussed on the ground.

Ref: DF2_20150218_1047_097+109+111 Kestrel female hovering over road eye motionless for 2 seconds @7fps 01+13+15 of 15 (montage).jpg

Finally attacking her target, the female Kestrel never actually touched down. Here is her upward flight from near the ground into the nearby Black Poplar tree where she rested for a minute or two before flying off.

Ref: DF2_20150218_1048_121-126 Kestrel female flying from failed stoop to land in Black Poplar 1-6 of 6 (accurate montage @5fps).jpg

01 Apr 2015

The Willow trees provide a feast of protein in the form of pussy willow that the Bluetits really know how to 'harvest'. The birds pluck out a piece of the down, bite off the nutritious end to eat, and discard the 'fluff' as you see just to the left of the head in the rightmost image. Below the bird are the wrecked sites of earlier feedings.

Ref: DF2_20150217_1550_240+242+244 Bluetit feeding on Pussy Willows 1+3+5 of 5 (montage).jpg



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