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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
The Weeping silver birch in the back garden is now smothered in Catkins.
A brief snow shower laid and stayed overnight, tempting us out to try to capture some feel for the changed landscape. Here is the weeping birch by the garage is delicately sprinkled with white.
Another stick for the nest.
This looks like a freshly broken-off addition.
This Rook is picking one of many broken twigs now fallen into the Round
Maybe being saturated makes it more pliable?
We have been seeing 7-spot Ladybirds intermittently for some weeks now, But on this sunny day they were out in numbers. This one is on some unidentified thorny bush of the trackside hedge.
A male Chaffinch with beak most definitely in full breeding blue.
A male Chaffinch exiting this site as a not obviously aggressive
Blackbird approaches out of this crop.
We have seen the green back of this species many times but it still amazes us that there is no hint of it on the perched bird.
Here we see our first sighting here of a Chinese Water Deer, here walking quietly past a mound of spoil from digging a pond.
25 metres away near the edge of our patch we see The Chinese Water Deer again. Although visible in the first image we can now clearly see that she has lost a lot of fur from the back of her neck, and also how thick the fur is - a characteristic of this species.
The Japanese are apparently having an early flowering of their famous Cherry Blossom, but early or not we find ours a delight.
Blackthorn blossom tumbles over the top of the freshly leafing Hawthorn
With a bit of luck we may get a 'mirror image' when the Hawthorn flowers.
A sighting of this grey shape in the Pollarded Willow tuned out to be a Sparrowhawk. Grabbing the camera just in time to witness a high speed launch towards a passing and quickly really frightened Wood Pigeon. The Pigeon was never 'in frame' and the chase disappeared into the trees. A search a few minutes later didn't show any signs of a kill, but the chase may have continue for hundreds of metres.
A bit more detail of the start of the action.
The body and crown colour of this bird suggest a male, but the eye-stripe
and tail colour suggest a female.
But it is definitely a Sparrowhawk one way or t'other.
A friend obtained an opinion on the sex of this bird and one on his own site that had taken a Pigeon - males are not 'supposed' to be large enough to tackle Pigeons. The outcome was that both were probably females based on details not mentioned in bird ID books.
A Rook with an assortment of straggly nesting lands on the Kitchen
At small size 'thumbnail' we momentarily see this image as a flying skeleton!
A Rook collects a beakful of dried leaves to make the nest that bit more comfortable for 2 to 3 weeks of boring incubation.
A Rook winging his way home to one of the nests in the Black Poplars along our access track.
A Rook brings along quite a substantial twig.
Not a chance of this huge and out of balance stem making it into the air.
That's better - this one has so far made it onto the top of the post.
Over one day what MIGHT be the same Magpie collects beakfuls of muddy vegetation. On the right after a day of such effort the bird beak and breast are absolutely filthy.
We have several sightings of this male Roe Deer with antlers in their glory. Note that the antlers are NOT in velvet.
This male Roe Deer passes along the edge of the pond
Note that this male Roe has his substantial Antlers still 'in Velvet' - so we have at least two male Roe Deer visiting.
Both of these male Roe Deer have appeared with a female over a couple of days - we await interesting events
An hour later this male Roe Deer is still in the area as the day lightens ...
... and we finally get an image in colour before he departs.
Feeding female Mallard Duck along with her guardian male.
When you see Mallard ducks in public ponds the males mainly seem to be bullies trying to mate with any female that appears, and sometimes females are accidentally drowned by heaps of competing males. But in the more natural surroundings, here the males are very supportive to their chosen 'girl'.
Mallard duck feeding and the Drake waits on guard duty.
A Pair of Mallard Ducks at the hedge bottom - the female (left) quacking at her mate. The males call is much softer than the females.
In the hour after midnight this Mallard duck pair float safely on the water as the Fox passes by on the nightly rounds. We are sure he know that the ducks are there, and that he stands no chance of catching one at the moment.
A pair of Mallard ducks flying off together from the Duck-shaped pond.
This seem to be a newly arrived male Reeve's Muntjac Deer, distinguished by his rather short antlers, providing a very clear view of his little Tusks seen from this unusual angle (detail as next image).
5 Hours later what could be the same Badger snuffles his way over the Woodland feeding site.
All in less than a minute, and we can only guess what is going on.
The decades old Cherry tree at the front of the house. We have had to cut back branches threatening the house and overhead phone line, and we are rewarded with even more blossom than usual.
A much closer view.
We have lots of cherry trees of various varieties.
Two female Reeve's Muntjac Deer at the SW corner.
Top we have our 'resident' with 'scar' along her left flank.
Middle we have a visitor we sometimes see with the male, that has a slightly extended tummy suggesting that she is pregnant.
Bottom the resident is facing the camera, and the visitor shows developing teats at her rear end.
Aren't I magnificent!
Rooks often seem to come for a brief bathe at this pond, but we usually only catch the rook with the ripples. Here in the middle image we see with bird jumping in for at most a few seconds.
Another bundle of dead leaves get delivered to partner already at the nest. Rooks don't seem to use anything but tangle and gravity to hold their nests together.
Two very different foxes passing this spot inside 12 minutes.
A couple of foxes encounter in the night.
Read this left to right. Fighting, greeting, courtship?
The size and proportions suggest that this is a fox CUB near Duck Pond. No sign of an adult in the original much wider pic.
Magpies are building several nests around the site
Magpies glue their nests together with mud - another beakful in transit.
The Rooks have mostly finished their nests, but still like to 'reinforce' them.
This Blackbird has found a good-sized worm.
Now starts the struggle to pull it out of the ground!
A male Yellowhammer visits the hedge bottom.
Chaffinches are surprisingly agile fliers, and can pluck food from a water's surface while only getting their feet wet. Bottom left in this montage the bird seems to have found a 'take away'.
This male Reeve's Muntjac Deer is far from tolerant of humans. This brief sighting was followed by an unhurried departure, but not spotted again.
2 photos from a camera on the access track catches these two female Reeve's Muntjac Deer leaving our patch to move into the farm field opposite. This is two different individuals, the lower one possibly early in pregnancy. The lower deer actually does show a slight mark where the upper deer has the major scrape - possibly one of the entrances is just a bit 'tight' for a grown Muntjac.
This Kestrel suddenly appears a few metres from one of the windows hunting in a hover over what passes for our 'Lawn'.
The female Kestrel hovering in flight doesn't lead to a successful hunt, so she perches in a grass-side overgrown hedging plant and spent a few minutes intently watching the grass. She suddenly launches down out of sight from the window, but creeping out finds a viewpoint of her ripping to bits what looks like a Rodent.
The regular local Sparrowhawk makes another failed hunting pass over the
kitchen perch. But she obviously succeeds enough times to keep her going.
A 'Rule-of-Thumb' seems to be that these sort of hunts fail 9 out of 10 times.
Another failed hunt by the Sparrowhawk.
At this time or year the Grey Squirrels make the most of the mass of 'tasty and nutritious' willow catkins. They can't reach most of them along the whippy branches, so bite through the end they can get at (what teeth!) and hold the cut twig to eat.
Under another Willow that suffers the same fate is this pile of bitten
off twigs complete with some uneaten buds and catkins.
Untidy little blighters!
We hadn't seen the local female Kestrel for over a week, when tramping home in a
gale as it begins to rain, we find her on the sheltered north side of the house
hunting the grass in front of the main pond (left pic).
6 minutes later there she is, now on the other sheltered wall facing East, on one of her favourite 'electrifying' perches from which she watched us go inside. We don't know how long she stayed.
Now the good easy-to-collect sticks on the concrete track have all gone into the
early nests, the later builders have to fly off to collect sticks, and we
enjoying watching them flying in with their prizes. These pics are taken from an
unbroken sequence of 58 pics at about 7 fps so the sequence is over about 8
The bird arrived at huge speed helped by the tailwind ...
... over the top of the tree housing the nest and looping round ...
... now into the wind (so much slower and skipping frames) to aerobrake down onto the nest ...
... where 'he' lands to weave in his new wood, supervised by 'the wife'.
The little 'tusks' sported by adult male Reeve's Muntjac Deer are
characteristic, but we haven't seen one in a pic for over a year.
So this 'overgrown top jaw tooth' being visible in this image (and another not
shown here) was a nice surprise.
A clump of grass gets delicately nibbled a metre or so away from the photographer. We notice that this little 'dear' never eats the whole of anything but 'pick-and-mixes' her way over the site.
The whole area shows sign in the soft mud of multiple visits by
Reeve's Muntjac Deer and the occasional Roe Deer.
Each of the Farm's Lombardy Poplars is surrounded by a sea of mud, and here a Badger shows how soft the ground is by leaving this immaculate Paw and Claw print.
Following sighting of only a few starlings, we were really surprised to see this elegant moving cloud to the south, rising up and landing for a cause we couldn't see. We estimate 1500 birds in this section you can see.
After moaning about the lack of Rooks in flight with twigs to build
nests, several new nests have several birds carrying in twigs.
The frame rate of the camera (10fps) and the birds wingbeats didn't match very well, so we have selected a sequence to provide Top + middle + end of the power stroke & finally + the upstroke with wings partly folded.
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