Return to moorhen home page

Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day

31 Dec 2019

On the left is a Blue Tit, on the right a Great Tit photographed just 4 minutes apart.
The word 'Great' does seem an exaggeration, but it IS more sturdy than the Blue Tit.

Ref: E63_20191126_1436_102+1440_105_FB1 Blue Tit + Great Tit (accurate montage).jpg

Ever since we started cutting up the banana skins, instead of making a horrid mess all over the place, or just needing to be composted, it all now gets eaten, mainly by Grey Squirrels!

Ref: E63_20191126_1332_087_FB1 Grey Squirrel with piece of banana skin.jpg

30 Dec 2019

This female Green Woodpecker pays a mid-day visit to the meadow camera. We notice that the lower bill colours don't match the upper, although both the light and dark appearance of BOTH bills appears variously in our different reference books. The only image we have showing this asymmetric colouring is in an RSBP guide 50 years old.
The appearance is consistent on different days so unlikely to be mud smeared on the beak.

Ref: E62_20191124_1134_223_FB5 Green Woodpecker female (crop).jpg

This female Green Woodpecker is standing in the drizzle on a desperately grey morning. The feet barely touching the ground suggest she is just landing.

Ref: E62_20191126_0813_078_FB5 Green Woodpecker female in drizzle 1 of 4 (crop).jpg

Over 75 minutes we find 4 pics of Green Woodpeckers at this site. Only when we build this montage do we notice that the birds at the two ends are females, and the third from the left is a male. We choose 'don't know' for the last!
The male has the same asymmetric coloured beak that we noted earlier in the female. The image on the right is the same as the one above, but at the smaller scale the raindrops are too small to more than glimpse.

Ref: E62_20191126_0813_079-0926_091_FB5 Green Woodpecker female and male visits to meadow site over 75m 1-4 of 4 (approx montage).jpg

29 Dec 2019

On 24th November and this pair of Rooks have already started refurbishing a last-years nest, and observation suggests that they have already started courtship feeding in the Black Poplar nearest the house. This is over a month before our reference books mention earliest attempt at breeding.
Most likely the female is on the nest at the left and male arrived on the right to make his courtship offering of some disgusting morsel.

Ref: DF3_20191124_0830_066+067 Rook pair courtship feeding at nest in Black poplar 1+2 of 3 (montage).jpg

28 Dec 2019

The local Tawny Owl takes this one frame of himself at the kitchen window.

Ref: E60_20191128_0119_030_FB3 Tawny Owl visits kitchen perch and meadow post over 40 min 1 of 8 (crop 2).jpg

The Tawny Owl pays a 10 or more minute visit to the meadow post.

Ref: D01_20191124_0357_115-0404_129_FB6 Tawny Owl 10+ minute visit to meadow post 1+3+2+4 of 5 (montage).jpg

27 Dec 2019

A Blackbird does gymnastics to defend against the aerial attack.

Ref: E62_20191122_1134_125_FB5 Blackbird male leaping up to use claws to defend aerial attack (crop).jpg

26 Dec 2019

A brief glimpse as she flies by the house is later supplemented by this moment as the female Sparrowhawk lands on the meadow post.

Ref: D01_20191121_1138_024_FB6 Sparrowhawk on meadow post 2 of 4 (crop).jpg

25 Dec 2019

Lots of Fieldmice (Wood Mice) at the meadow camera over a day and a bit.
This montage was selected from four originals to capture some of the action.

Ref: E62_20191113_1820_019-20191114_2249_177_FB5 Fieldmice (Wood Mice) over 28 Hour (montage from 4 frames).jpg

This robin has caught another worm - a rather small one this time, but obviously worth the effort to pull out of the ground.

Ref: E62_20191118_1645_069_FB5 Robin pulling worm from ground.jpg

24 Dec 2019

A Badger visits one of the high resolution cameras, complete with mud splattered face and mud encrusted nose.

Ref: E64_20191119_0117_046_FB2 Badger splattered with mud (crop 3).jpg

23 Dec 2019

The local female Kestrel is visiting several days a week. This montage starts an hour after a really dingy 'sunrise' lightens over the next half hour. A visit of 10 minutes (first 3 images) is followed by a short visit (last 2 images).

Ref: D01_20191115_0833_027-0857_053_FB6 Kestrel female visits meadow post for 10mins then 3mins 1 of 5 (montage).jpg

The female Kestrel makes another brief visit to the meadow post.

Ref: D01_20191120_1306_057+058_FB6 Kestrel female landing on meadow post 1+2 of 2 (montage).jpg

22 Dec 2019

The female Roe Deer visits the Round Pond.

Ref: BU5_20191116_2158_413+415+416_SC1 Roe Deer female visit to Round pond 2+4+5 of 5 (montage).jpg

Having seen only 1 or 2 female Pheasant wandering the plot for weeks, suddenly there are a group of 7 wandering quietly through the orchard. Not a montage.

Ref: BU6_20191116_0914_407_SC2 7 Pheasant females (crop).jpg

21 Dec 2019

In the small hours of the morning this Badger is attracted to the smells left on the stone under the hedge.
On many weeks we see dozens of photos taken by silent camera without visible light, but the quality for portraits is just inadequate.

Ref: E63_20191113_0334_206_FB1 Badger.jpg

Apples are still occasionally falling from the orchard trees, and the nighttime denizens come to enjoy the bounty. Here we have a female Reeve's Muntjac Deer, what looks like 2 different Foxes, and then a male Muntjac, all sampling these hard and bitter apples over a few hours.

Ref: BU6_20191111_1829_086+1831_090+1907_105+2153_129_SC2 Muntjac Deer fem + foxes + Muntjac male inspecting apples (montage).jpg

20 Dec 2019

Several sightings of Kestrels this week have been mostly whoosh and gone. But this bird is intent on a hunt over the sprouting crop.

Ref: DF3_20191110_1015_028-030 Kestrel female hovering 1-3 of 3 (vertically separated montage).jpg

The female Kestrel's hunt is successful - she pounces on a Rodent, probably a Mouse or Vole, and flies to the top of the hedge with to devour her prize.

Ref: DF3_20191110_1016_047+1020_58+59+65 Kestrel female taking Rodent kill to hedge top to eat 2 + insert 3-5 of 5 (montage).jpg

19 Dec 2019

A local Tawny Owl drops by shortly after dark. The bird is having a really hard stare at the ground outside the kitchen.

Ref: E60_20191111_1741_013_FB3 Tawny Owl hunting from kitchen perch (crop 2).jpg

The local Tawny owl has been visiting again - here 2 visits to the meadow post in 2 hours

Ref: D01_20191108_1901_033+1710_023+1713_029_FB6 2 Tawny Owl visits over 2 hours 5+1+4 of 8 (montage).jpg

18 Dec 2019

On some years Wagtails hunt over our slate roof looking for insects. This White Wagtail in the sunlight takes up a new vantage point - they often hunt by diving down from the edge to catch insects close to the sun-warned wall.

Ref: DF3_20191107_1352_075+076+079 White Wagtail walking down slate roof to perch on gutter (impression montage).jpg

Wagtails also hunt over the roof to catch insects emerging from under the sun warmed slates. We couldn't find the insect in any of the 3 original frames.

Ref: DF3_20191107_1353_092-094 White Wagtail in flight hunting insect on slate roof 1-3 of 3 (approx montage).jpg

Along with the White Wagtail was this Pied Wagtail behaving similarly.
One of our ID books lists White and Pied as separate species, but our more recent books lists the white as a variant of the pied that can interbreed. No wonder we often have trouble differentiating the two!

Ref: DF3_20191107_1355_105+106 Pied Wagtail of slate roof (montage).jpg

17 Dec 2019

"Heave-Ho - I want my Teatime worm!"

Ref: E62_20191105_1646_105_FB5 Robin pulling earthworm from ground (crop).jpg

This Blue Tit spends a few minutes pecking seeds from this fallen 'weed'. It is most likely a withered Great Willow Herb stem.

Ref: DF5_20191107_1014_007 Blue Tit eating seeds from fallen weeds 2 of 2 (crop).jpg

16 Dec 2019

Here a Tawny Owl makes a visit to the Kitchen Perch as they tour the site in search of rodents.

Ref: E60_20191105_0130_005_FB3 Tawny Owl 20 minute visit to kitchen perch 1 of 4 (crop).jpg

The Tawny Owl's tour of the site started just after one midnight to just before the next, paying 3 visits to the meadow post, plus probably many more to other perches during the 24 hours.

Ref: D01_20191105_0040_021-2351_067_FB6 Tawny Owl makes 3 visits between midnights1of4+3of8+1of3+2of4 (montage).jpg

A Barn Owl made (at least) 3 visits to our site from just before midnight until dawn. Here is a little celebration of this lovely bird.

Ref: D01_20191107_2349_005-20191108-0553_019_FB6 3 Barn owl visits to meadow post over one night 3+1+6+5+4 of 6 (montage).jpg

15 Dec 2019

A few metres from the house we have a simple little conical rain gauge from which we record the last days rain every morning. On this morning the edge glowed with a green speck which close inspection turned out to be a Juniper Shieldbug. The morning was cold and wet and the insect was comatose with several raindrops on their back (very clear in the bottom image) and in the top image one at the centre magnifying the underlying pattern.
We managed to read and empty the gauge without disturbing the 'sleeping' insect!

Ref: P10_20191103_0912_368+371 Juniper Shieldbug (Cyphostethus tristriatus) with raindrops comatose on rain gauge (montage).jpg

14 Dec 2019

This Tawny Owl spends at least an hour probably touring various hunting posts around the site. Our cameras catch the bird making 4 visits - 3 to the kitchen window perch, and one to the meadow post. Here they are in order of appearance at 5:55 p.m., 6:04 p.m., 6:16 p.m. (meadow post) & 6:58 p.m.

Ref: E60_20191030_1755_030+1804_031_FB3+1816_033_FB6+1858_032_FB3 Tawny owl visiting Meadow post and Kitchen perch over 1 hour 1+2+4+6 of 6 (montage).jpg

The first 2 Tawny Owl visits differently montaged to show more detail

Ref: E60_20191030_1755_030+1804_031_FB3 Tawny owl visiting Meadow post and Kitchen perch over 1 hour 1+2 of 6 (montage).jpg

Our final pic of the Tawny Owl landing on the kitchen perch. You can see the birds nictitating membranes at the top inner corner of both of the Owls eyes.

Ref: E60_20191030_1858_032_FB3 Tawny owl visiting Meadow post and Kitchen perch over 1 hour 6 of 6 (crop).jpg

13 Dec 2019

An Autumn morning shows this 'comet and tail' effect in Cirrus clouds. Such ice clouds are said to be 6 to 12 km high.

Ref: DF3_20191029_1015_057 Clouds.jpg

A Red Kite being pursued by 50 Rooks when venturing too near the Rookery. Not a chance moment - every time the Kite changed direction so did the Rooks!
Ever felt unwelcome?

Ref: D73_20191025_1436_128 Red Kite mobbed by some of about 50 Rooks (crop).jpg

12 Dec 2019

Crouching Squirrel, Leaping Rabbit
Totally genuine single frame.

Ref: E64_20191029_1612_104_FB2 Rabbit youngster leaping above Grey Squirrel (crop).jpg

Look Mum - one Foot!
Grey Squirrels sometimes seem indestructible, but their luck sometimes run out

Ref: D5C_20191029_1223_003 Grey Squirrel hanging by single rear foot.jpg

The Grey Squirrel on the right appears to have decided to see off the Squirrel already at the top, but the top Squirrel seems to have other ideas.

Ref: E60_20191027_1257_008_FB3 Grey Squirrel climbing up to attack another on table.jpg

11 Dec 2019

A local female kestrel lands on the Meadow post in the gathering gloom of evening.

Ref: D01_20191025_1807_017_FB6 Kestrel female landing on Meadow Post 1 of 2 (crop).jpg

A Rook using the tip of an 11kV power pole to cast his call far and wide.

Ref: DF3_20191028_1037_002 Rook calling from 11kV cable linkage.jpg

10 Dec 2019

Sparrowhawk sightings are usually Whizz-by events, but this one hung in the air for minute of so to allow this little sequence.

Ref: DF3_20191027_1219_008-020 Sparrowhawk male in flight 01+06+10+13 of 13 (close spaced montage).jpg

10 minutes later the much bigger Buzzard made a similar pass at a greater height.

Ref: DF3_20191027_1230_045+049+053+057 Buzzard turning in flight @7fps (selected) 1-4 of 4 (close spaced montage).jpg

09 Dec 2019

The camera's 7 fps doesn't match the Little Egret's wing-beats, so here we assemble images in an order to show a complete wing-beat cycle.
First the 'upstroke where the wing is partially folded to minimise the negative lift effect of the upward movement.

Ref: DF3_20191023_1040_031-044 Little Egret in flight 11+14+09+02+15 of 15 (close spaced montage of upstroke).jpg

And now the Little Egret's powerful Downstroke for both forward motion and lift.

Ref: DF3_20191023_1040_036-030 Little Egret in flight 07+05+03+01 of 15 (close spaced montage of downstroke).jpg

The difference between the mid wing positions on the upstroke and downstroke is worth comparing.

Ref: DF3_20191023_1040_038+039 Little Egret in flight - upstroke and downstroke @ 7fps 09+10 of 15 (montage).jpg

08 Dec 2019

Badger faces look rather nice - unless you are their next meal.

Ref: E62_20191023_0343_206_FB5 Badger (crop 2).jpg

Our 'favourite' fox with lovely bushy tail, streaks through the orchard past this camera in the lovely dappled light.

Ref: BU6_20191022_1321_268_SC2 Fox running across orchard.jpg

07 Dec 2019

A few minutes before sunset - if the sun had been visible anyway - this male Reeve's Muntjac Deer was wandering quietly down the hedge to our east foraging as he went. Standing still behind our hedge he didn't spot the photographer.

Ref: D73_20191020_1752_003-011 Muntjac Reeves Deer male foraging along hedge towards camera (impression montage).jpg

The Reeve's Muntjac Deer reached the edge of the Farm Road and stopped for a moment ...

Ref: D73_20191020_1753_023 Muntjac Reeves Deer male walking up to Farm Road.jpg

... before stepping up onto the concrete, walking across, and finally disappearing from view at the bottom of the hedge only a couple of metres away. But standing right in front of the cut section of the pignet that lets animals through, the human legs were finally spotted and the Deer 'scarpered'.

Ref: D73_20191020_1753_028-051 Muntjac Reeves Deer male walking over Farm Road (impression montage).jpg

06 Dec 2019

A Tawny Owl visits for a few minutes. This Owl closes their eyes as they land.
We don't remember ever seeing an Owl with nictitating membrane across the eye, and went on the web search to find if they had one.
The answer is YES as you can see in this fascinating YouTube short video of tame owls 'blinking' in slow motion at

Ref: D01_20191020_1845_095+1851_105+1852_107_FB6 Tawny Owl 8 minute visit to meadow post 1+5+6 of 6 (montage).jpg

05 Dec 2019

After a few weeks absence a Barn Owl stops by for nearly a quarter of an hour at 3 a.m.

Ref: D01_20191019_0312_051+0313_053+0322_065_FB6 Barn Owl 13 minute visit to meadow post 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

Owls are normally photographed as tame animals with beaks hidden in the feathers as they contentedly stand on their 'pets' arm, undoubtedly already replete with a mouse or two. Here this hunting bird shows us the upper and lower bills as they alertly scan the ground for the next meal.

Ref: D01_20191019_0313_053_FB6 Barn Owl 13 minute visit to meadow post 2 of 3 (detail crop).jpg

Two days after the first Barn Owl visit we get another, this time at 1.30 a.m. The bird spent at least 10 minutes on the post, first having a little hunt and then settling down to a preen.

Ref: D01_20191021_0135_111-145_129_FB6 Barn Owl 10+ minute visit to meadow post 1+2+5+6 of 6 (montage 2).jpg

04 Dec 2019

On a gloomy day, at around the time for a sunrise, this Buzzard makes a short stay on the Meadow post.

Ref: D01_20191018_0744_015_FB6 Buzzard 2 minute visit to meadow post with mud on claws (crop).jpg

A closer look highlights the talons caked in mud.
Being a 'predator' has some down sides.

Ref: D01_20191018_0744_015_FB6 Buzzard 2 minute visit to meadow post with mud on claws (detail crop).jpg

Next day the Buzzard lands in some sunshine

Ref: D01_20191019_1010_071+073+1011_078_FB6 Buzzard 2 minute visit to meadow post 1-3 of 5 (montage).jpg

Bird's nictitating membranes (an extra semi-transparent eyelid) makes birds eyes look cloudy. Here are the eyes of the landing bird - protecting the eyeball with his membrane as many birds do as they land, and a little later perched normally with the eye uncovered.

Ref: D01_20191019_1010_071+073_FB6 Buzzard 2 minute visit to meadow post 1+2 of 5 (montage of nictitating membrane).jpg

03 Dec 2019

Pampas Grass next to the main pond shows wonderful graduated colours as the seed heads emerge each year despite the heavy winter cut-backs.

Ref: DF3_20191017_1548_005 Pampas grass seeds heads (crop).jpg

02 Dec 2019

In the rain, a foraging Magpie decides to fly off making a spray of water droplets.

Ref: E62_20191014_1729_081+1731_082_FB5 Magpie taking off from ground in rain making cloud of spray 1 of 2 (accurate montage).jpg

01 Dec 2019

Just after midnight this Badger snuffles his way across the woodland site. The land has changed from desiccated clay to soft and slushy leaf litter, spattering the muzzle with mud as it roots around for worms.

Ref: E64_20191014_0013_325_FB2 Badger with muddy snout.jpg

Yet another fallen apple gets the Badger treatment.

Ref: BU6_20191016_0315_257_SC2 Badger spending 5 minutes tackling apple 3 of 5 (crop).jpg

The Polecat made a midnight voyage across the orchard.

Ref: BU6_20191016_2357_376+377+2358_378_SC2 Polecat crossing orchard 1-3 of 3 (approx montage).jpg



Return to image of the day

Newer page of archive          Older page of archive