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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
A couple of minutes after a short visit, the Barn Owl arrives back with what looks like a vole for his 3 a.m. meal. The next frame 45 seconds later shows no sign of the vole - presumably now warming the inside of the Owl.
After swallowing the Rodent, the Barn owl departed but made a swift return followed by a 41 minute stay.
We at first assumed that this was a overshot landing, but CCTV tells us the bird managed to land on one edge without triggering a picture (so a little IR beam realignment required), and this was the bird on the hunt.
Just after dark the next day (with the IR beam now accurately over the top of the post) the Barn Owl made another exuberant landing.
This female pheasant doesn't know what to do about the sudden appearance of 2 humans on the disused farm track. She ran erratically a few paces as you see here, and stopped at the right hand side, before setting off left at speed and looped back the way she came to disappear behind the collapsing straw stack.
Grey Squirrels are wary of Pheasants despite the later not being obviously equipped with weapons. We suspect that one spiking with the pheasant's rear leg spur (where the squirrel may not be quite sure what hurt it) makes the Squirrel wary of further encounters.
The male Blackbird (above) seems to be attacking the female reacting on the ground. But we may be mistaking this for some sort of 'look how well I'll defend you' from the male.
Snow does nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of Robins for a little territorial squabble.
Elegance on mud!
This year the Dunnocks are almost as tolerant/demanding of humans as the Robins.
This year the Dunnocks are almost as tolerant/demanding of humans as the Robins.
Houses in the countryside have to 'control' invading mice. We make live traps
the primary means, but a few Fieldmice (Wood Mice) are either too big for them or have
had a close escape. So a few snapper traps are needed. We put out the sad
remains for the local foxes and corvids. So here we have
Another mouse that sadly avoided the live traps.
And another magpie not the least bit sorry.
A Barn Owl is back after nearly a years absence. The landing into the East wind (towards camera) so we can neither see whether it is the ringed individual, nor even if it has a white breast. But a very welcome return nevertheless.
This Barn Owl came in to land on the post along the sense beam line, so triggered before it reached the area of sharp focus. This is a white breasted bird with no leg ring - quite likely one we have seen in previous years.
An opportunity to show you the sizes of Corvids we normally see, plus a male Blackbird for scale.
This Buzzard spent at least 15 minutes on the post. The strong Easterly wind (towards camera) means most birds are landing with back to camera at the moment, as here.
"Eat it or bury it?"
This Grey squirrel is laying in provisions ...
... before sorting out the bedding for the Drey and the weather gets colder and
Contrary to popular belief Grey Squirrels do not 'Hibernate' - coming out to forage or eat cached food in any reasonably warm weather or when an good opportunity arises (like your's truly laying out food for the wildlife).
When we arrived here the bird was already on the ground near the 'favourite' pole, and then flew 100m or so to a similar pole carrying some sort of rodent. A Rook took exception and made a couple of passes as the Buzzard shrieked at it (right image as the Rook had passed), but soon the buzzard was left in peace to eat his lunch. All this action is about 200m away where the bird completely ignores us.
A Magpie reaching for a piece of food.
Magpies stomp over the ground really well, but even so we were surprised at the length of his stride - the right leg is almost at the right edge of the frame while the claws of the left leg reach right under the head.
This Tawny owl visit did not trigger the camera automatically but was spotted on the CCTV and triggered manually in (from a human's point of view) total darkness.
The less regular Tawny Owl (the individual with the blue-grey eyelids and
moustache) at his preferred choice of perch at the kitchen
The Owl broke the trigger beam on landing, folded the wings that allowed the camera to reset, and then triggered the camera again when opening wings to drop down. Rodents occupy the 'ground floor' between this perch and the house and expect that one of them became the bird's next meal. The bottom of the leaving bird was out of frame at the bottom of the original image, so this construct is the best we can do.
The early winter single 'local' Buzzard has been joined by another and they seem to have neatly divided the territory around us. This is the more recently arrived Buzzard on a northern 11KV crossbar. The bird took off into the wind before twisting round and flying off north.
We now have several patches of Snowdrops - this one under trees at the shaded west end of the main pond, is self spreading round the corner to the north and other patches have appeared without help in unexpected corners.
We have a few bushes of Viburnum around the site, which provide our first relief from unmitigated brown as well as wonderful perfume.
20 minutes after a very short touchdown the same Tawny Owl, arrives back at high
speed (seen on CCTV recording and reflecting the increased stall speed) from the
left for a 10 minute stay, unexpectedly carrying a Fieldfare in the Talons.
The Owl stood still for a few minutes, presumably waiting for the poor bird to expire while squeezed in the talons, before ripping it to pieces to eat it. At 10:35 p.m. it is far too dark for Fieldfares to be out feeding, so we are advised that this one probably chose a not very safe place to roost. To choose our post as it's butcher's table suggests that the Fieldfare was snatched from one of our trees in the main woodland area.
Early next morning we found the aftermath ...
Testing the IR beam trigger shows us the remains on the top of the post. These had gone by the time we had seen the pics and went out to look for signs. We found feathers scattered around the post and a few heaped at the bottom of the post on the South side shown here.
These two consecutive images just 3 minutes apart took us by surprise when we realised that they are different individuals - the red around the eye is only present in the 'top' bird and the marking within the body feathers are subtly different.
Our now 'resident' male Pheasant here shows us that the white edges to his crown are actually a row of tufted feathers.
A couple of excited Fieldmice (Wood Mice) mingling whiskers.
The mouse on the right has a truncated and healed tail - quite a common injury
Is it the Robin unusually 'lighting up' the hedges this year, or is it our perception of them? This little guy was over our access concrete track, obviously excited by the prospect of a hand-out from 'bottomless' corn pocket.
A Male Muntjac Deer around dawn re-arranging the leaf litter in the hope of finding some food underneath.
Muntjac Deer are small - about the same size as a medium domestic dog. These images at the same scale give you an idea of the size.
Pheasant tails really are very impressive. We are sure the 'girls' like them even if they don't know it is a sign of the male birds health and vigour
We ASSUME this female pheasant has been startled and is making a vertical take-off with such force that all the dry leaves around are lifted by the draught from the wings.
Bird tongues are said to be rather immobile compared to humans, and the easiest way to get this food item from tip to gullet is to toss it down! We see this behaviour in many species of birds.
This Tawny Owl visited that bird table outside the kitchen window an hour before midnight. The bird tripped the IR sense beam with it's right wing (our left). On the CCTV recording we see that the bird stayed for about 10 minutes before flying off to our right unfortunately without breaking the beam for a take-off pic.
Everybody knows that Grey squirrels cache large items of food (mainly nuts) to
eat another day. But this Squirrel was making repeated visits to the corn
scattered bird table to collect some grain in his mouth and then leap down to
bury it in the grass a few metres away. Here is one of the sequences all
photographed in the same minute.
Can we expect a fine crop of corn here next year?
Molehills are well used by the local bird populations as loose soil to explore for food. Here is a female Blackbird picking out corn grain scattered a few minutes before.
A few sightings of individual badgers in Infra-Red light at the mound in the last few weeks, here becomes a proper portrait as a badger breaks the sense beam at the woodland site in the early hour of the morning.
15 minutes earlier the camera caught a badger head-on to camera and the rump of another at the frames edge.
This Redwing has found a sheltered patch in the woodland, but is nevertheless obviously plumped up against the cold, and has frost on it's tail. Brrr. We normally see Redwings as a small fraction of birds among Fieldfare flocks, similar in size and habits.
We used to wonder why Fieldfares had their name, as we only ever saw them eating berries in trees or pecking at windfall apples. But more recently we only see them on the fields of over-wintering wheat crop.
Two-thirds through January & quite suddenly the Robins, normally solitary during the early part of winter, have dropped some of their aggression towards the opposite sex enough to see pairs quite often. We never see Robins 'canoodling' - mating and nesting seems to be a brief period of an armed truce!
A Robin perched on the nearly disintegrated strip of bark.
It is easy to miss Greylag Geese flying overhead because they are almost silent. Canada Geese calls can be heard before they come into sight, and swans powerful wings whistle if they get close. So spotting these before they got to us from behind allowed this nearly vertical above image. We particularly like the 4 birds at the bottom of the image managing to overlap but not hide any heads.
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