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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
Male Orange-tip Butterflies appear about a week before the females.
Here is a male tanking-up on a Bluebell flower.
Here is a female Orange-tip Butterfly (without the orange tips) sipping delicately
from a Garlic Mustard flower.
This plant is the food plant of the Orange-tip caterpillar, so she is probably attracted to the smell of them, although she can feed on other flowers.
The vivid yellow of the male Brimstone Butterfly is on the 'top' of the wing. The underside of the wing has this greenish colour. The top of the female's wing is white, and the bottom paler than this males, but with the same spots and contour.
Leaving the house we sometimes startle away a Kestrel, but have not previously spotted one on the house as we return. This bird then flew down from the top of the chimney to a roof edge just above the gutters where it was out of our sight. So moving to a new closer vantage point we managed a couple of portraits before he spotted us and decided to move on.
A chance moment catches a Magpie flying up and over the boundary hedge.
This Magpie was struggling to extract twigs from the edge of our main woodpile, but here finally succeeded
2 days later this magpie is landing with a twig on an 11kV cable before flying on out of sight.
We don't have a good view of any Magpie nest this year.
Mum or Dad (on the right) is tempting the nestling up the branch to get it's next feed. The other nestling (left in the middle & right image) suddenly realises it wants a piece of the action. A noisy business this is!
The 2 Rook youngsters in the nest can shout at the parents all they like - Mum and Dad are trying to take a rest!
Other Rook nests seem to be more advanced than any we have a view of. Here a youngster sits on a 11kV cable demanding food.
3 visits in one night from this Tawny Owl.
We are 'seeing' the bird several nights a week at the moment.
These 2 Tawny Owl visits over the same night make a nice comparison of the very different colouration above and below the wings.
The Barn Owl visited, a drop-dead gorgeous bird we feel privileged to see.
4 days later a Barn Owl stops over for just a couple of minutes.
A Rook standing on the remains of the broken trunk of the Ash tree in a the hedge to our south, with the vivid yellow of the crop behind. This almost looks like an aerial shot, but the tree is in a little valley photographed from the highest point on one side
Think Japanese print with gold leaf for the background.
May-day 2018 also brought our first sighting of Rook nestlings. They have obviously been around for several days but as long as they stay below the edge of the nest we can't see them from the ground.
Mum or Dad Rook stuffing food into whichever gaping beak looks most - err - appealing?
Rook nestling feed done for a bit, Mum or Dad exits - pursued by cries for more food.
As the daylight fades, the two male Reeve's Muntjac Deer appear together on the
island of the main pond, but we didn't get the aggressive behaviour we expected.
The Deer in velvet (left throughout) and the one with bone antlers proceeded to
have a rather gentle joust (top three images). Just after top right image the
Deer in Velvet jumped away - we suspect that his delicate velvet got spiked by
the bone antler and it hurt! The 'velvet' deer then approached the other more
circumspectly, burying velvet antler harmlessly in the side of the neck of it's
'opponent' for a harmless trial of strength.
Our explanation? Dad on the right is letting his youngster practice doing 'battle'! It was a lovely few minutes to watch.
This larger image (fits in between the bottom middle and right in the montage) shows the left Deer in velvet pushing quite hard against the unconcerned 'opponent'.
As they quietly leave both male Reeves Muntjac Deer reached up for some overhanging leaves . This is how the 'browse line' is created - for us quite a low one for small deer!
This male Reeve's Muntjac Deer has his antlers still in Velvet, wandering over the island of the main pond, nibbling vegetation and grooming as it went. An unexpected amount of attention was given to the tiny hooves.
This male Reeve's Muntjac Deer has his antlers still in Velvet visits the 'front' edge of the main pond to feed on the longish succulent grass.
A Buzzard made a few lowish passes as a couple of Rooks made it very clear it was not welcome near 'our' Rookery
The chase continues overhead and into the distance.
On this night the Tawny Owl spent about 2 hours hunting around our patch, landing on the Meadow post 7 times. Here are 6 of the landings
In this landing (the fourth) the Tawny Owl has caught some prey and brought it back to the post to eat. From the size of lack of feathers we think this is/was a Shrew,
A Carrion Crow doing his best to look like something out of a horror story?
Arriving in the early morning to exchange the camera card in the 'meadow' we came across this pair of Chaffinches mating just 4 metres away on an old breeze-block. This is about the fourth attempt after which the exhausted looking male finally flew off. All these pics taken in 3 to 4 seconds
A more detailed look at the mating Chaffinches that would slip in between upper right and bottom left images of the montage.
A male Chaffinch in the peak of breeding condition. There is a tiny black seed in the tip of his beak. This is a different day, different site and different individual to the male we photographed mating
The female (notice the teat) Grey squirrel scurried up an Elm tree as we
approached and then proceeded to eat this Hazelnut which she must just have dug
from her (or somebody else's) winter cache.
Once this Elm tree gets big enough it will succumb to Dutch Elm Disease, but by then there are new shoots will carry on the cycle.
Hunt the Flea?
This orange tip is newly emerged and flutters seemingly non-stop in search of a mate. Only the male has the gorgeous orange tips, but both sexes have the beautiful green and white patterning over the underneath of the rear wings, and along the edge of the forewing which perfectly lines up when the insect closes it's wings. Amazing!
A Green-veined White butterfly stops to tank-up on some Lady's Smock (Cuckoo Flower) flowers that grow all around the edge of the main pond and the main pond island. The butterfly takes it's name for the patterning under the wing.
A male Small White Butterfly (commonly called Cabbage White) stops off for a re-fuel on this Dandelion flower.
The clay soil along the crop margins makes a good medium for catching animal tracks. On the right a Roe Deer leaves Hoof prints, and on the upper left a badger shows us the wonderful claws.
The female Reeves Muntjac Deer wandering over the Mound, then for some reason gazing upwards.
Badger visits to the mound over 3 nights.
This beautifully restored/maintained 105 year old Model T Ford makes a really rather refined progress down to the industrial units, making his way back 10 minutes later. Top left of the montage is the detail of the polite notice affixed to the back. We notice that it is left-hand drive as one would expect for an American model - right hand drive versions are apparently now very rare. Googling finds this actual car portraying an Army WW1 Staff car.
Primroses are appearing in clumps all over the site, smiling up at us (or more likely the sunshine)
Two very different night hunters: Our 'regular' Tawny Owl visits the bird table at the kitchen window - most definitely NOT looking for scraps. We have noticed before that they like to perch on the top of the G-cramp, rather than on the wood.
Two very different night hunters: We see foxes a few times a week on the trail cam on the mound, but less often at the high resolution photo sites. Here this passing carnivore gives us a look at those effective canine teeth
Here is what we think of as the dominant male pheasant with his Blond plumage.
At the Woodland site the sun still gets through in the early morning to
burnish the plumage of our dark pheasant. Should we call him a brunet?
Blond is male, Blonde is female, Brunet is male, Brunette is female. What a crazy language English is!
Out in the rain, a be-speckled male Pheasant and not very impressed by the stale piece of cucumber.
The most advanced Rook nest (in the Black Poplar nearest the house) is now
clearly being incubated. We assume that the male at the left has brought some
food for the female.
We thought that birds feeding their partner while incubating would have a proper name, but it is mostly called 'courtship feeding' which it isn't. So we are using 'Incubation feeding' as a reasonably short description.
A lump of soft looking 'stuff' on it's way to line the Rook's nest.
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