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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
The last Barn owl visit recently - this Owl is starting to visit less as the nights shorten.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
An evening moorhen looking particularly well preened. We have not seen 2 moorhen at once for weeks, but go on hoping.
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.
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.
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.
A shaft of afternoon sun catches the whiskers and straggly fur of this Grey Squirrel.
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.
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.
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.
The only decent photo of a Badger at high quality photo site this week, and even this was at the edge of the frame.
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
Wide open beak pointing at an unconcerned partner.
Courtship and bonding can be uncomfortably close to aggression in many species including our own.
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.
"Where's the Mouse Snack bar then?"
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.
Our pale plumage male Pheasant doing his Sunrise rounds.
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'.
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.
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 &
Lichens are interesting symbiotic organisms of algae and fungus and grow best in clean air. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichen
One of our lovely Collared doves illustrating how cold some nights are at this open-air site
One of our Collared Doves looking particularly perky.
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.
A Robin in an almost 'Wren like' posture may still find some tiny piece of food caught up in the wood grain.
The Tree sparrow doesn't seem pleased to see the Robin arriving in this pre-dawn encounter.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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