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A Pair of Mallard Ducks sitting at the duck-shaped pond decided to leave as we approached. The female launched first, but the camera was aimed at the male who waited a second or so before following.
The camera followed the male Mallard duck giving this opportunity for a longer montage. The frame rate was about 7 fps but this is alternate frames and it is just chance and the flap rate that means the bird has his wings down in each frame, showing us his luscious speculum.
The Wren nest by the living room window getting a visit every couple of minutes or so in the early morning. Here a parent is taking in what looks like 2 Craneflies crammed into that tiny beak.
A Wren stopping off in the hedge top for a moment, with another mix of food types for the youngsters.
Smorgasbord, Wren style.
The Wren's tiny beak seems to have managed to catch a small moth, two small grubs and something with long legs to take to the nest.
A Heron is occasionally visiting the Duck-shaped pond. Here the bird is on the bank and taking off. The bird upper right should be roughly where the head of the middle image is, so we have moved it to make an 'impression'.
A juvenile Robin appeared at this site 2 days before this (i.e. 24 May 2015) but this is the first good image. The bird has shed its baby down, and has assumed the quiet 'do not attack me' colours of the juvenile.
In the hedges near this photo site the Hawthorn is flowering like mad this year. We seem to have varieties that flower in White and another less common in Pink. If you trace them back to their roots they are always on separate plants even though the plants are tangled in the hedge.
A Little Egret flying along the line of the 11kV power lines gave us this opportunity for a flight study. These 3 consecutive frames at 7fps are at about half the true spacing in order to enjoy some detail on the bird. The original montage is adjacent.
While walking down the road verge this Little Egret made a delightful flight along the 11kV power line. This is an accurate montage at 7fps from which we extracted 3 images for the closer look adjacent.
After a brief hover this Kestrel flew off to the left just under the height of the wires (accurate montage at7 fps).
The Kestrel landed on a branch of the Black Poplar tree at the end of our track to the main road. We walked quietly down the track and 3 minutes later caught this moment before she decided to move on.
She landed on the crossbar of the nearest 11kV post and ignored cars and lorries streaming past during the lunch-time peak, so perhaps she just didn't notice us on the other side of the road. We got this pic from perhaps 15m away before she decided to fly off at speed to the South East and vanish.
What looks like a young Hare outside the Kitchen window. This year Hares have appeared in our patch rather than on the farm's land. What did we do that was right?
Scale it up, and this Grey squirrel looks like something out of a horror movie.
Some real Grey squirrel aggression here - we wouldn't want that aggressive creature right behind us!
What do you mean - how could I be an aggressive pest?
We have been trying to catch Wrens taking food to the youngsters
in the nest outside the living room window, but they no longer stop off on the
hedge, and are hardly visible as they fly in. We did catch this one stretching
upwards and moving about excitedly, but never worked out what was going on.
It is possibly only the female is now feeding the youngsters. Male wrens go off and try their 'luck' with other females once they have a nest going.
By our heating Oil tank (We are about a mile from the nearest gas main) this young rabbit looked so appealing we just had to take its photo nearly hidden in the long grass.
This is two Stock Doves apparently messing about in the early evening. It was raining - you can see the water drops flying about.
Stock doves in daylight seem to have all-black eyes, but in fact the Iris is very dark brown you can only see in the right lighting, or with a little help post-processing a photo. This is a camera resolution crop of the head in the adjacent image lightened enough to see the brown ring of the iris.
The Bluetits feeding the youngsters in the nest over the utility room are getting ever more frantic delivering food. Here you can unusually make out the whole of the next meal still distressingly thrashing about.
This Great Spotted Woodpecker isn't exactly looking his best!
A Strong Sundog to the right of the sun showing in just this small fast moving patch of cloud. Ignoring the slow movement of the sun in the sky we have aligned the two images of the cloud so you can see how the sundog colours are fixed in the heavens (relative to the sun) and the cloud sort of moves through the position where the sundog will show. The brightness of the parts of the cloud change substantially as it moves through the critical area.
This is an accurately spaced montage of a Common Gull gliding by into a headwind taken at 7 fps.
A selection of 4 images (in the proper order but not consecutive) of a Collared Dove flying by, arranged for effect.
This year's 'truce' seems to be at an end now that parents are frantically feeding their every-demanding chicks.
4 days and a few minutes later we were surprised to find this almost identical event again at the right edge of the frame.
Red Campion is everywhere at the moment. A walk down the side of the crop to the brook has us discover a 10 metre or so wide strip of wild flowers along the edge of the crop to the brook. We understand farmers get paid for 'set aside' land and this would be a good place to pick commercially and for the wildlife.
Clumps of Forget-Me-Nots are all over the place - little drifts of a positive but soft blue.
Back in the Yew tree this Grey Squirrel was looking so twee as it was probably destroying this years catkins :-(
Animal grooming stills mostly look rather awkward, but this Grey Squirrel was performing a little Flea removal with a degree of elegance.
Our appearance displeased this Hare who made a speedy exit along the edge of the crop. We took 23 consecutive images at about 5fps. Join the two images together to see the action
A continuation of the montage of our Hare running along the crop edge
A closer look at a section from the first 11 images. All the individual images are available in this quality on request, but at 24MB the pair you will have to download them from a URL we can send you.
Delight of the week was a couple of Hares wandering just outside the house. Despite one cut already, the grass is very shaggy at the moment while it is too wet to cut without a struggle. Perhaps long grass feels like 'home'.
Here a Hare was right outside the study full height doors
A better view of the Hare's large feet and heavily built rear legs.
A montage of a Bluetit perching on the vertical edge of the wall before squeezing the way into the nest.
Here you see the exit - a sort of leap towards the open and spread your wings when you have the room - they never perch anywhere on the exit.
Part of the household duties of Bluetit nests is being lavatory attendant to their heap of steaming chicks. Actually the 'Fecal Sacs' are fairly clean until they drop them and they burst!
Our first Odanata of the season was this Hairy Dragonfly (the proper common name) distinguishable by the 'fur' on the body clearly visible on this detail crop.
The Hairy Dragonfly moved around in the hedge, and provide this more conventional view of the top of the insect. The body length is about 7cm. Dragonflies are big impressive insects but completely harmless to humans.
This an about 5 cm long insect is an Ichneumon.
We have always called them 'Ichneumon Flies' but recent usage seems to favour 'Ichneumon Wasp'. We found this description on a web site that described them nicely and highlights the Fly / Wasp dilemma all in the first line from http://www.countrysideinfo.co.uk/woodland_manage/ichneum.htm:-
The Sabre Wasp is a type of insect called an Ichneumon Fly. Ichneumons have a wasp waist, and often, long, flexible antennae. The apparently fearsome-looking sting at the end of the female wasp's abdomen in the picture above, is actually an ovipositor, rather than a sting. These insects are harmless to humans. The adults feed on nectar from flowers and aphid honeydew.
The description fails to mention that the eggs are laid inside other creatures that the young parasitises and eat alive from inside.
A female Mallard Duck and two males appeared near the 11kV power lines with much flurry and quacking. They disappeared behind the hedges, and a few minutes later 1 pair landed next to the crop without angst.
A female blackbird makes an elegant landing, raising the tail a second or so after touchdown.
This male Mallard duck was managing a thorough preen in an atypically elegant way.
Behind the preening male Mallard duck on the bank of the pond was 'his' female' duck busy up-ending in the water about as inelegantly as you can get!
A favourite butterfly is the Orange-Tip, and here is one using its underwing camouflage to great effect. We had trouble find it even though we saw it land only a few metres away. This is the male with the upper wing tip bright orange, but folded out of sight. You can just make out an orange tinge near the back top of the upper wing, but the disguise is near complete.
This attractive flower Bugle has found it own way to the slope of the predominantly clay mound that is the spoil heap from digging the Round Pond.
We have seen one or two Blackcaps fleetingly feeding around the pond, but this the first decent photo of one, a male, this year.
'The Voice' (a UK TV singing
'talent' show we DON'T watch) wildlife style.
Taken in the same minute these two Song Thrushes, perhaps 30m apart, seemed to be competing for the most impressive song - for us in stereo!
The competing Song Thrush prefers this branch of an Ash tree.
Food for the Starling chicks - in this case it looks like a worm plus a fly.
The Starling flew to the top of a nearby drain vent, and then glided and aerobraked to the hole into the loft a minute or so later. At least two families are nesting in the loft
Never too early for a fight with the neighbours?
This photo of 2 male Blackbirds squabbling over territory was taken by the automatic Owl camera just before it's 'switch off' at 6 a.m. (BST) during May (the software adjusts itself each month).
Each year a hole above the roof of the utility/boiler ('furnace' in USA) room gets used by nesting bluetits. They are obviously now feeding the youngsters as evidenced by the small grub in the birds beak. This bird routinely uses this TV aerial about 3 metres above the nest hole as a stopping off point.
For perhaps 40 minutes in the morning the sun shines into the gap between
wall and gutter pipe to see the Bluetit nest hole.
Here the bird was caught exiting.
The bird in flight shadow shows her head & beak shadowed on the wall by her, but her body and legs have their shadow on the wall behind the pipe.
A Jackdaw stops off on the tree stump with about as much nest lining material as can be crammed in the beak.
What seems to be the same Tawny Owl as last week made a single minute or two visit to the post in the meadow.
22 hours after a Tawny Owl visited the post in the meadow, this Tawny Owl visited the perch outside the kitchen Window. Markings indicate that this is a different Tawny Owl to the one on the post. We don't know whether they are a pair, or even which sex each might be.
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