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29 Feb 2016

We unfortunately see quite a few foxes with bad Mange, so it is a pleasure to see this healthy beast visiting the hedge site. The mixture of peanut butter and mouse perfume on the stone must be irresistible!

Ref: E63_20160127_2252_222_FB1 Fox (crop).jpg

28 Feb 2016

The unexpected Buzzard on the post was also tackled from a downstairs window catching this unusual posture shooting through some intervening foliage.

Ref: D5C_20160125_1138_004 Buzzard 4 minute visit to meadow post 14 of 14 (crop).jpg

A couple of days later we disturbed the Buzzard while hunting in our woodland section, and thought we wouldn't see it again for days. But only 2 hours later, with no disturbing humans about, the Buzzard makes an unexpected visit to the Woodland camera site, unusually left active all that day in the dreary weather. It looks like the bird wing probably broke the IR beam over the log to take his portrait - the first time a buzzard has been photographed at any of the ground level cameras or the tree stump, though it was seen on one occasion in Feb 2015 at the kitchen window perch (see 2/3 down page 2015 mar.htm)
Jan 2016 and Feb 2015 have been our only Buzzards seen inside our patch - maybe the Parents are kicking out the youngsters ready for a new batch.

Ref: E64_20160127_1318_131_FB2 Buzzard landing on ground (crop).jpg

27 Feb 2016

We unexpectedly spotted this Buzzard perched on the meadow post, and dashed upstairs to the pre-focussed camera covering the post top.

Ref: D01_20160125_1135_008_FB6 Buzzard 4 minute visit to meadow post 05 of 14 (crop).jpg

A re-ordered sequence of the turning head - actually almost as impressive as an owl but the more slender neck makes it look less extreme!

Ref: D01_20160125_1137_019+1135_001+006_FB6 Buzzard 4 minute visit to meadow post 12+01+03 of 14 (montage).jpg

26 Feb 2016

Oh Wow - all this fuss over the top of a carrot!
The Grey squirrel on the right on hind legs facing left and with carrot in mouth is being leapt at by one of its peers - judging by the movement blur there is no way there wasn't a big impact a fraction of a second later.

Ref: E63_20160127_1600_195_FB1 2 Grey Squirrels squabbling over piece of carrot top (crop).jpg

This looks like another serious encounter with the Squirrels face to face and claws flying as they roll over the log.

Ref: E64_20160121_0853_024_FB2 2 Grey Squirrels fighting 2 of 2 (crop).jpg

25 Feb 2016

Our dominant male pheasant giving a good view of his 'spurs' a third of the way up his legs.

Ref: E63_20160116_1259_214_FB1 Pheasant male with adult male spurs.jpg

On this female Pheasant you can just see a vestigial spur a third of the way up her left leg

Ref: E63_20160115_1549_163_FB1 Pheasant female with foot details and vestigial spurs.jpg

24 Feb 2016

This Bluetit spent several minutes searching the lichen crusted bark of this old Black Poplar. This first image is exactly what we saw - who cares about gravity!

Ref: DF3_20160120_1239_062 Bluetit searching for food in Black Poplar bark 1 of 5 (crop).jpg

A montage of a single Bluetit searching the lichen crusted bark of this old Black Poplar, working its way along a branch.

Ref: DF3_20160120_1240_065+067 Bluetit searching for food in Black Poplar bark 2+4 of 5 (montage).jpg

A Bluetit flying in for lunch at this ground level feeding site

Ref: E63_20160116_1243_210_FB1 Bluetit aerobraking to land.jpg

23 Feb 2016

A male Muntjac Deer at the Woodland camera site hoping to find a little food.

Ref: E64_20160120_0755_137_FB2 Muntjac Deer male with his right front leg raised showing hoof (crop).jpg

A close view of the interesting markings on the face of a male Muntjac Deer.

Ref: E64_20160121_0349_200_FB2 Muntjac Deer male (crop).jpg

22 Feb 2016

We have chosen 6 images of a 6 minute barn owl visit to make animated GIF of the bird searching surrounding from the post top without moving the feet.
Don't imagine that the Owl spends 6 minutes turning his head once - we catch various positions in each frame 45 seconds apart and select the order.

Ref: D01_20160118_2051_029-2055_034 Barn Owl (no leg ring) 6 minute visit to meadow post (reordered) 2-6 of 7 (animated montage).gif

This Barn Owl (with no leg ring) making a 6 minute visit a few hours after sunset. This is the landing.

Ref: D01_20160118_2050_027 Barn Owl (no leg ring) 6 minute visit to meadow post 1 of 7 (crop).jpg

The Barn Owl (with no leg ring) made a 6 minute visit a few hours after sunset. Here are three images showing a nearly 360 degree rotation of the head.

Ref: D01_20160118_2051_029+2052_030+2054_033 Barn Owl (no leg ring) 6 minute visit to meadow post 2+3+6 of 7 (montage).jpg

21 Feb 2016

A pair of Rooks obviously a 'loving couple' trusting each other with those powerful beaks so close to each other.

Ref: E62_20160114_1318_007_FB5 2 Rooks feeding close together with Rook and Jackdaw in background.jpg

The Jackdaws are paired up ready to start the seasons activities.

Ref: D01_20160118_1527_014 2 Jackdaws sharing meadow post food.jpg

20 Feb 2016

Our love of Sundogs continues. This 3 layers of cloud makes for an interesting effect. The top cloud looks remarkably like a birds longer body feather with down on the side against the body. Feathers are amazing constructions each made to fit it's niche.

Ref: DF3_20160116_1526_098 Sundog (left of sun) in feathery Cirrus clouds 1 of 4 (crop 1).jpg

Along our access track this feather was caught on a thorn on the outside of a hedge. It is about 4cm (1.5 inches) long. We guess it is from a Sparrowhawk who will attack birds perched in hedges.

Ref: DF3_20160119_1226_032 Small feather (Sparrowhawk (q)) caught in hedge near locked gate (crop).jpg

19 Feb 2016

As we walk about the Robins in each territory make their approach in the hope of some food from the bottom of Marie's bottomless corn pocket. This one is perched on a 'weldmesh' ring which does service as an incinerator.

Ref: DF3_20160116_1231_051 Robin on edge of incinerator ring (crop).jpg

An image of the robin shows a reflection in his eye of the world behind the camera.

Ref: DF3_20160116_1231_054 Robin on edge of incinerator ring (crop 1).jpg

18 Feb 2016

A Tawny Owl making a 4 minute visit.

Ref: D01_20160117_2149_029+2152_032-033_FB6 Tawny owl 4 minute visit 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

17 Feb 2016

Before the Snow (midday 15 Jan2016 ) ...

Ref: D10_20160115_1220_004 weekly field left 15jan16 (processed whole frame).jpg

... and the fresh snow (only about 4cm) changing the world (morning 17 Jan 2016).

Ref: D10_20160117_0911_006 weekly field left 17jan16 (processed whole frame).jpg

16 Feb 2016

This Tawny Owl stayed for only a minute or so in the early evening. This is the landing with spread wings edge-on to camera, but with a view of the facial disc and the tail.

Ref: D01_20160115_2127_004_FB6 Tawny Owl short visit 1 of 2 (crop).jpg

15 Feb 2016

A Bluetit standing inside a frozen apple is probably managing to peck some bits from it.

Ref: E62_20160114_0829_375_FB5 Bluetit in frozen apple after light snow.jpg

14 Feb 2016

A Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) at the hedge bottom suddenly raised our interest because it shows a nictitating membrane over the corner of the lit eye. We often see these on birds where they are fully active transparent eye protection but we didn't know anything but birds had them.
A little web-search discovered that they are more widespread, but that in Mice they are vestigial - they have them but no longer have the muscles needed to actually use them.
More info at
We love the instructions on looking at the membrane on a sleeping dog - it does not mention losing fingers as a potential hazard!

Ref: E63_20160111_1923_105_FB1 Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) on stone showing vestigial nictitating membrane on eye.jpg

13 Feb 2016

A fieldmouse (wood mouse) showing off to its potential mate?
The blurring on the front of the leaping mouse is most likely the effect of a water drop or mark on the glass window of the camera box.

Ref: E62_20160107_1727_139_FB5 Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) diving to ground by another.jpg

12 Feb 2016

OK - we put down the chopped bark (and it helps a lot).
Then the birds toss it aside to feed in the mud, and every boot footstep squelches up mud all around it!

Ref: E62_20160107_0752_071_FB5 Blackbird female with muddy beak on drenched site.jpg

Robin. Mud. What more to say!

Ref: E62_20160107_1640_133_FB5 Robin on drenched site.jpg

Robin on twig in a bit of hazy sunshine, waiting for the reward of some corn from the photographer

Ref: DF3_20160113_1215_007 Robin on twig (crop).jpg

11 Feb 2016

The firmer surface of the chopped bark we have had to lay over the sticky mud has encouraged back the leaping Fieldmice (Wood Mice).

Ref: E62_20160105_1653_183+1656+184_FB5 Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) leaping with others on ground (montage).jpg

10 Feb 2016

This barn owl made a short stay less than an hour after sunset.
Late last year we saw this bird with just the missing wing feathers. The black marks on the other wing have appeared since last years visits and we have no idea what made them .

Ref: D01_20160107_1700_039+1701_040_FB6 Barn Owl (no leg ring) 1 minute stay early evening 1+2 of 2 (montage).jpg

The following morning this OTHER Barn Owl (with ring on its right leg and pristine feathers) made a 3 minute visit.
This bird normally stands on just its left (unringed) leg and we have wondered whether the ring bothers the bird. But here it is standing on just it's ringed leg without obvious problems.

Ref: D01_20160108_0702_045+0703_047+0704_048_FB6 Barn Owl (right leg ring) 3 mins stay frosty early morning 1+3+4 of 4 (montage).jpg

09 Feb 2016

This is our first sighting of a Short-eared Owl inside our plot, and only our second record in the 25 years we have been here, so don't hold your breath for the next!
The previous sighting was over what was then over pasture on 9 Nov 2008 which you can see for 24 Nov 2008 at 2008 nov.htm

Ref: D01_20160106_0312_052+0315_056_FB6 Short-eared Owl on meadow post for 4 minutes (selected) 1+3 of 3 (montage).jpg

The face of the Short-eared Owl is very striking, so here is a larger version of the bird on the right.
From a page as
The very small & often unseen ear tufts from which the Short-Eared Owl gets its name have nothing to do with hearing but are used to communicate mood to would-be aggressors.
This bird is on the Amber list of species.

Ref: D01_20160106_0315_056_FB6 Short-eared Owl on meadow post for 4 minutes (selected) 3 of 3 (crop).jpg

08 Feb 2016

There is none of the wing activity we associate with a take-off, we assume that this Robin is jumping off a log in search of more things to eat.
The claws are already off the wood, leaving their shadows behind.

Ref: E64_20160101_1614_113_FB2 Robin jumping down from log.jpg

07 Feb 2016

This Song thrush is giving us a good look at the speckled breast.
Meanwhile a female Blackbird lurks in the background.

Ref: E62_20160103_0733_243_FB5 Song Thrush with Blackbird female in background.jpg

These two birds from a single frame give an idea of the difference in size between Chaffinch (left) and Goldfinch.

Ref: E62_20160103_1546_272_FB5 Chaffinch male and Goldfinch (adjusted crop).jpg

06 Feb 2016

This Wood Pigeon caught our eye for the range of colours on the neck plumage. We have NOT 'wound up' the colours.

Ref: E62_20160101_1321_107_FB5 Wood Pigeon neck iridescent feather detail.jpg

We have not tampered with the colour of the sheens on this magnificent healthy Rook

Ref: E62_20160102_1252_190_FB5 Rook with iridescent plumage.jpg

05 Feb 2016

The warm days see several Grey squirrels out feeding, and on the odd occasions that the sun comes out they find a sheltered branch out of the wind to have a sunbathe.
According to a BBC documentary broadcast a few days ago:-
     A Hazel nut is between 5 to 10 Calories.
     A Grey Squirrel needs 20 Hazel nuts or equivalent per day & will cache 3,000 nuts

Ref: DF3_20151231_1056_001 Grey Squirrel sunbathing on wind sheltered branch.jpg

04 Feb 2016

Our first Barn Owl sighting since the end of October last year.
A brief visit of just these two frames 45 seconds apart.

Ref: D01_20160102_0548_034+0547_033_FB6 Barn owl (no leg ring) short visit 2+1 of 2 (montage).jpg

03 Feb 2016

This open-air site had become so muddy we had to place about 100 litres of chopped bark over it. The mice made an instant (next night) reappearance now they didn't have to paddle in sticky mud.
This moment catches a moment an hour after sunset of two Fieldmice (Wood Mice):-

Ref: E62_20151229_1657_089_FB5 2 Fieldmice (Wood Mice) squabbling.jpg

Next morning the birds take over from the mice. On the left are 3 of several Tree Sparrows recently returned to our patch, along with a Bluetit and a Robin that looks rather like an 'overseer'.

Ref: E62_20151230_1036_127+1107_131_FB5 3 Tree Sparrows + Bluetit + Robin (adjusted montage).jpg

02 Feb 2016

A little assortment of small birds at the large kitchen window peanut feeder while the Squirrels couldn't cram any more in and allowed them to feed in peace.

Ref: E60_20151230_1441_214_FB3 2 Tree Sparrows + 5 Bluetits + 3 Great Tits around large peanut feeder (adjusted crop).jpg

01 Feb 2016

Along the path across the meadow this Robin came expectantly to the top of the meadow post (where you see Owls from a different angle at night) and we took a few portraits before delivering his reward from the pocket full of corn we take with us.

Ref: DF3_20151229_1218_054 Robin portraits on top of meadow post (crop).jpg

Along the path across the meadow this Robin came expectantly to the top of the meadow post (where you see Owls from a different angle at night) and we took a few portraits before delivering his reward from the pocket full of corn we take with us.

Ref: DF3_20151229_1218_060 Robin portraits on top of meadow post (crop).jpg



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