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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
This male Chaffinch was poised towards a couple of other Chaffinches on the ground. The Blue coating on this one's beak, which appears for the breeding season, has almost gone.
A Chaffinch flies away from the site with some unidentified seed (sunflower?) in their beak.
A nasty little scrap between 2 male Chaffinches, one apparently trapped underneath another. A juvenile attacking an adult male?
This Common Blue Damselfly is sucking the juices from some sort of Midge that she has just caught. In the insert you can see the legs of the prey below the damselfly's eyes.
A male Common Darter Dragonfly quietly glowing in the backlighting sun.
What we think must have been a Tawny Owl left this impression on the living room window. We fortunately didn't find a dead Owl outside, and it looks like the bird was aerobraking at impact, so probably 'just' had a headache for a while.
The Owl impact feather detail is incredible. This is a detail from the full image.
Next day a Tawny Owl stops off for a few minutes on the Meadow Post. We are only aware of one Tawny Owl individual visiting the site at the moment, so hope that this uninjured bird is the same one that hit the window.
After two spells on the meadow post facing this site (so back to camera!) the
meadow camera catches this apparently successful Tawny Owl hunt.
Most Owl captures that we see at this site are, like this one, messy affairs where the capture requires one talon to be extended sideways to capture the by now fleeing prey. The Owl never seem to be looking at the prey as they catch it, but obviously know where it will be as they swoop in.
Here is an enhanced detail of the talons on our right complete with the grey-ish body of what is likely to be a rodent. Not very clear, but there is something in that Claw.
Half an hour later the Tawny Owl appears again on the meadow post for a few minutes.
The one that got away!
And another half-hour later this little Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) ventures out.
A cluster of Blackberry flowers that have a particularly strong pink tint. This one at one end of the path shows this colour each year.
Not many Ladybirds of any sort at the moment, so we're pleased to see this native 7-spot walking around on the Blackberry leaves, undoubtedly in search of their favourite food - Aphids.
A Small White Butterfly perched on a Stinging Nettle leaf.
This immaculate Fox is creeping forward over the bait for something more tasty. The camera flash will have destroyed his stealthy approach :-(
Badger(s) visited all 3 high resolution camera sites over a couple of days, but this is the only 'good' pic. Even this one is partly out of the left edge of the original camera frame.
A real surprise was seeing this Reeve's Muntjac Deer (lower left) actually walk up to a couple of metres from a Fox, who studiously ignores it. Although the end of the day, at 8 p.m. there is enough light to see each other, so it's not an 'accident'.
2 days later, and truly in the dark, we get exactly the same behaviour, this
time at the mound. We have never previously seen these two species together at any site
simultaneously, and now in 2 days we see it twice.
Most probably a Fox can not safely tackle a fully grown Muntjac Deer.
Many years we don't see Painted Lady Butterflies at all, but this year has been 'bumper'. This one on Teasel (where we are mostly seeing them) looks so delicate when perched above the spikes.
More male Brimstone Butterflies have appeared, this time in the meadow where they go straight to the flowering Teasels.
The flowering Mint has run riot this year after the warm spell gave it an early start, and is attracting masses of insects. Here a Greenbottle and a Long Hover-fly share adjacent flower spikes.
A Magpie Moth doing an only marginally successful job of hiding in the foliage.
A couple of male Brimstone Butterflies have provided opportunities for capturing short
flights between flowers. The sequence for this fairly accurate montage is
Bottom, half way up 45 degrees (edge on), top right, sweep left, top left.
At the camera resolution of the above we enjoyed the antics of the Butterflies proboscis (feeding tube). Here are the details of its rolling and unrolling from the frames where we could see it.
Another Brimstone on Purple Loosestrife flowers, flying up from a flower before fluttering off to the left.
Detail of the top right image of the Brimstone Butterfly
A Wood Pigeon lands on the meadow post.
The light falls differently on the left and right primary feathers making them appear to be different 'shades of Grey' (perhaps even 50).
A Wood Pigeon heads towards the camera in the house.
Over the main pond 2 obviously 'brand new' Brimstone Butterflies were intensively feeding on the recently emerged Purple Loosestrife. The camera caught this one moving away from one flower to land on another further up. 3 frames accurately position and about 7 fps.
One of the Brimstone Butterflies landed on a much closer Purple Loosestrife
flower - you can see the proboscis is deep in the flower.
The backlight sunshine really makes these colours.
This moment caught the Brimstone Butterfly's proboscis fully exposed and glinting in the sun in all the colours of the rainbow, a sure sign of iridescence in this bit of anatomy where we have never observed it before. The light and viewing angle to make this visible is very critical - frames only 140mS before and after show only a hint of this effect.
A female Common Darter Dragonfly warming herself in the sun while waiting for a meal to fly by.
A male Ruddy Darter Dragonfly perched on Hop Sedge.
The colour really is this red - paintings in ID books just don't do him justice!
A few days later a male Ruddy Darter Dragonfly again shows his rich red colouration.
We didn't realise that Cinnabar Caterpillars could eat ANYTHING but Oxford
Ragwort - ID books mention no other food plant - so were surprised to find a few
of these striking insects on patches of Groundsel. The mostly decimated plants,
with mostly only one caterpillar per plant, shows that Groundsel is a useable
but barely adequate plant food for this insect.
This information/advocacy from web site http://www.ragwortfacts.com/cinnabar-moth.html from which we quote:-
The Cinnabar Moth can use many members of the genus Senecio as foodplants but for long term success larger plants that persist for a long time are necessary. Some uninformed people who campaign against ragwort say that groundsel is sufficient as a foodplant. This is not true. While the caterpillars can and do use groundsel the plants are small and unlikely to support large batches of eggs also groundsel is a more ephemeral plant that does not normally persist on sites.
This Gatekeeper Butterfly has it's Proboscis only loosely rolled. Look under the Antennae - it looks like a few specks of pollen are stuck to it.
A Teasel Flower-head attracts this Peacock Butterfly.
This Bumble Bee makes a couple of 'circuits' of this ring of flowers around this teasel.
This little patch of Convolvulus looks quite striking at the flowers open making a 5 pointed star.
The opening Convolvulus flower is drenched in dew.
No, we DIDN'T squirt it with a sprayer!
A sweet moment while two Reeve's Muntjac Deer gently nibble each
other's necks for a minute or two.
They are probably just mutual grooming, but it looks affectionate.
Out first sighting for several years of a Black-tailed Skimmer spotted on what is nominally a bird perch stick outside the living room and photographed through the window. We unusually see blue pruinescence on the underside of the insect.
A trip round the outside of the house sneaked a pic from the other side shows the
conventional appearance from the top with no trace of blue pruinescence.
There is uncertainty about the status of this insect - a juvenile male or a female.
Just to be sure that these pics are different sides of the same Black-tailed Skimmer, here is a side view taken while approaching for the first attempt to photograph the 'top' that clearly shows the blue underside and Yellow + Back top. It flew away on this occasion, but returned about an hour later.
We startled this White Plume Moth hiding in the path and it flew off to
find another safe place. It perched upside down partly in shade under these
How different the world must be to these tiny creatures. In the Insect Flight Tunnel we often see insects flying inverted, but tend not to show them as aberrations caused by the artificial setup, but maybe it is quite normal.
At the other end of the flying-creature scale, this Red Kite glides overhead in the baking afternoon sun. The images are close-spaced at about 1 per second
An early morning Small White Butterfly makes a visit to an early-opening Convolvulus flower surrounded by several still closed after the night.
Many of the Convolvulus flowers seem to have been bleached by the sunshine with little trace of pink remaining.
This immature male Common Blue Damselfly has chosen to perch on the shaded side of a blackberry cluster. A heat-wave has produced an air temperature of about 36c and the insect does not need to warm itself in the blazing sun.
This immature male Common Blue Damselfly has chosen to perch on the shaded side of a blackberry stem. A heat-wave has produced an air temperature of about 36c and the insect does not need to warm itself in the blazing sun.
This mature female Common Blue Damselfly has chosen to perch on the shaded side of a plant stem. A heat-wave has produced an air temperature of about 36c and the insect does not need to warm itself in the blazing sun.
Our first Darter Dragonfly of the year - an immature male Common Darter.
Our first Migrant Hawker this year seen in flight quite soon perched on this stem where we could get a photo. The wings have not yet finished drying and clearing so we assume that this individual has emerged from one of our ponds that morning.
A male Ruddy Darter is perched on an Iris leaf.
First sighting of this insects 2019.
Swifts fly fast - this montage is accurately spaced (based on the tree) at about 0.1 second intervals.
Because they fly so fast, accurate montages of Swifts in flight show little detail, so
here the outer birds are brought closer to centre bird, but the centre bird and the
insect in front of it what the camera captured.
You have to be really lucky to catch the insect this close to the open beak. In the many images we have of Swift catching insect, the beak is never open in the previous or following frames only 0.1 seconds before or after. Wow - a real 'snapper'.
Another single frame with a movement blurred insect trying to avoid the Swift's flying trapdoor.
More Swifts (again shown with the 10 body length between images reduced to very little) showing the variety of wing positions in normal flight. These images are about 0.2 seconds apart
We have seen Evening Primrose flowers around the house for several years, but just hadn't noticed that the flowers are in their glory in the early morning.
Evening Primrose flowers, beautiful in the morning, soon wilt in the heat of the day just 5 hours later.
On just a metre of hedge, Woody Nightshade shows us all the stages from flower to ripe fruit.
The fruit is poisonous, but is so bitter that accidental poisoning is not a problem.
This male Roe Deer spent an hour and a half wandering over our site. Here he is at the bottom of the hedge at the South Boundary.
Now the male Roe Deer is 80 metres north quietly walking past the mound.
The last sighting of the male Roe Deer is in the middle of the plot.
Swifts really fly fast - this and the next sequence are photographed at about
10 fps (Frames per second). That's about 100 body lengths per second!
The detail of the bird is lost at any size of image that it is sensible to email or put on the WWW, which is why we mostly provide 'Close spaced Montages' to get a better view of the creature.
The images of this Swift are close spaced, but the spacing between insect and the middle bird is accurate. The beak is open for less than a tenth of a second.
A close spaced montage at about 10 fps.
A morning Green-veined White Butterfly backlit by the morning sun.
The camouflaged underside of the Tortoiseshell butterfly blends well with the foliage which the orange top side does not. Safer to feed like this then.
Our first ID of a Red Twin-spot Carpet Moth. The two black marks near the tip of the wings give them their name
A scrum of Red Soldier Beetles all trying to find someone to mate with. We particularly like the one on the right coming across from a leaf to join in the fray. Also known as the Hogweed Bonking Beetle, its not hard to see why!
More Red Soldier Beetles doing what they do best - making MORE soldier Beetles.
A pleasingly symmetrical arrangement of Marmalade Hover-flies on a single Thistle flower.
In this closer view of one of the Marmalade Hover-flies you can see detail of the flower's centre and a scattering of pollen on the back of the insect to hopefully fertilise another plant's flower.
A Surprise moment walking up the path was seeing this Stoat. We sometimes see Weasels around the house, but rarely see a Stoat. It wasn't pleased to see us, and went straight off the path into the long grass.
A Fox spends a few minutes hunting at this site where we put down a few scraps of food each day.
Manipulating hard items is difficult for birds with just the beak for a tool. Some items can be held in the claws to be pecked at, but a favourite scheme is to wedge items into a crack of a post or bark, and then hammer away. Here this juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker already knows the technique - grab a peanut, wedge in the post, hammer away and eat the bits that come off until it is small enough to eat the remainder.
A few minutes visit by this Tawny owl turned into a little celebration.
Can a Magpie really catch a live Mouse, or can it only pick them up as carrion? We don't know, but this Magpie looks rather smug with this ghastly beakful of what looks like minced mouse.
Mum or Dad Magpie seems to be jumping down from the stone as one of their eternally hungry Juveniles demands yet MORE.
This is on the tree-stump in the daytime 'gloom' inside the woodland.
The flash shines down into the young Magpies open beak, and the translucent keratin glows red at the base of the beak.
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