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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day

31 Aug 2021

Finally the hot weather has brought out the first dragons - well Hawker Dragonflies at least!
This female Southern Hawker Dragonfly is perched on a twig basking in the hot sunshine.

Ref: PK1_20210723_1317_150 Southern Hawker Dragonfly female (1st of 2021) (crop).jpg

This female Migrant Hawker Dragonfly hangs in the shade inside a hedge.

Ref: PK1_20210723_1321_155 Migrant Hawker Dragonfly female (1st of 2021) (crop).jpg

30 Aug 2021

A favourite summer flower is the Crocosmia - intense colour and a beautiful flowering sequence along the always (horizontal) spike.

Ref: DF3_20210718_0831_034 Crocosmia flower spikes.jpg

30 years ago the site barely planted, and to add 'variety' we planted a patch of Day Lily bulbs at the edge of the just dug main pond. They have demonstrated their robust nature by still flowering well into this next century.

Ref: DF3_20210718_1213_039 Day Lily Flower (last of 2021).jpg

We have just one Lime tree, as opposed to about 20 now very tall Large-leaf Limes. This one is just flowering - as you walk by the air fills with a subtle citrus perfume.

Ref: D73_20210720_1114_040 Lime Tree blossom.jpg

29 Aug 2021

Even at 8 a.m. the air temperature is already warm, and the sun feels hot. This Magpie was standing on the mains electricity pole with beak continuously open but not calling. We read this as panting to keep cool.

Ref: DF3_20210718_0815_010 Magpie beak Open (not calling) in heatwave 1 of 4.jpg

The Magpie moves about 15m away from us to land on the disused Telephone pole, sees that we were not going to stop our walk along the nearby track, and decides to leave.

Ref: DF3_20210718_0817_016 Magpie beak Open (not calling) in heatwave 4 of 4.jpg

A Magpie makes an early morning landing lit by the sun behind. We think that the brown feathers are backlit, while the white primaries are catching the sun directly.

Ref: D01_20210719_0650_001_FB6 Magpie landing on meadow Post in cloud of midges with sunlight through feathers.jpg

A young Magpie sits high in this conifer watching the world go by.
This is about 7.30 a.m. - it will soon become unpleasantly hot to sit out in the direct sunlight.

Ref: D73_20210721_0727_051 Magpie juvenile on conifer branch.jpg

28 Aug 2021

Out first sighting this year of a 'Gatekeeper' Butterfly.
The 2 white specks in the black circle are a quick ID assist.

Ref: DF3_20210717_0947_003 Gatekeeper Butterfly (1st of 2021).jpg

Our first Darter Dragonfly ID of the year (21 July 2021). This is a female Ruddy Darter managing to partly obscure herself on the other side of a very chewed up Iris frond in the middle of the main pond.

Ref: D73_20210721_1104_114 Ruddy Darter Dragonfly female on partly eaten Iris frond.jpg

We last saw an Emerald Damselfly in 2010 - 11 years ago. This female landed a few metres up a tree and this is the best pic we could get. In the 2010 session we took images of both sexes in our 'flight tunnel' - you can see them at 26 Sep 2010 and 2 Oct 2010.

Ref: D73_20210721_1109_128 Emerald Damselfly female (crop).jpg

27 Aug 2021

The male Pheasant is still making regular visits. Here he graces us with a photo complete with the setting sun.

Ref: E64_20210717_2055_174_FB2 Pheasant male at sunset.jpg

The male Pheasant is beginning to become a little less pristine, but he still looks magnificent.

Ref: E6A_20210720_1848_084_FB5 Pheasant male at meadow site (adjusted crop).jpg

26 Aug 2021

A pair of Badgers saunter along the edge of Round Pond an hour after midnight.

Ref: BU5_20210716_0116_141_SC1 2 Badger walking along edge of Round Pond.jpg

The night after seeing a pair of Badgers at the Round Pond, here are a pair entering our patch at the south west corner - one in foreground and the other just coming through the hedge behind.

Ref: BU7_20210716_2213_088 Badger entering site with another following behind.jpg

Half and hour later this badger is resting at the Round pond edge, busy grooming the fur.

Ref: BU5_20210716_2353_240_SC1 Badger grooming.jpg

25 Aug 2021

'Our' grass snake now hears us coming and we rarely take him/her by surprise. This stealthy approach catches the snake almost fully stretched out - estimated length is just under 1 metre.

Ref: D73_20210716_1507_055 Grass Snake under corrugated iron (ID only).jpg

A Roesel's Bush Cricket we found on a garden bench Note the very long antennae sported by Crickets - Grasshoppers sport much shorter antennae.

Ref: D73_20210715_1603_005 Roesels Bush Cricket of Garden Bench (orig).jpg

24 Aug 2021

The Oxford Ragwort plants have just started flowering. Just right of lower middle you can see the first Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar that we have spotted this year. The top flowerhead is massively deformed. There are several other examples, and some years we see similar on Oxeye daisies. We think it probably an insect converting the flower for breeding purposes, but have been unsuccessful in finding out what species. This plant is poisonous to most creatures, but the Cinnabar Moth absorbs the poison to make itself poisonous, and has the warning colouration to tell the bird not to 'try it for dinner'. We also sometimes see Cinnabar Moths feeding on Groundsel where they don't pick up the poison defence. They don't do as well on this plant, and we haven't seen any on Groundsel so far this year.

Ref: D73_20210701_1554_015 Oxford Ragwort deformed flower heads & small Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar.jpg

The Ragwort has burst into life at several location, and the Cinnabar Moths have been busy laying the eggs to make a good 'crop' of their caterpillars.

Ref: D73_20210707_1437_529 Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars (various sizes) on Ragwort flower buds.jpg

The Cinnabar moth Caterpillars are taking over the Oxford Ragwort!
Wikipedia tell us that:-
    Cinnabar moth from Europe was released as a biological control agent
    against common ragwort in the USA (1991), Australia (2000) and New Zealand (1990)
but apparently with limited success.
Artificial introductions vary from utter failure to complete disasters (like the Australian Cane Toad introduced in 1935 and now a 'plague').

Ref: D73_20210708_1550_048 Cinnabar Moths Caterpillars on Oxford Ragwort.jpg

A week later the Cinnabar Caterpillars have just about stripped this and most other Ragwort plants in our patch, but the plants recover every year.

Ref: DF3_20210714_1016_011 Ragwort plant decimated by Cinnabar Caterpillars.jpg

23 Aug 2021

As darkness falls we see an encounter between 2 male Reeve's Muntjac Deer. The difference in size and obviously affection between the two (left middle) suggests to us a Father - Growing up Fawn relationship. We think that Dad is helping his youngster learn a little of the tactics of competing males, but neither of the two want to hurt the other.

Ref: BU5_20210714_2128_379-2129_393_SC1 2 Muntjac Reeves Deer males (dad & son (q)) gentle spar at Round Pond 1-6 of 7 (montage).jpg

22 Aug 2021

Seeing a Red Kite in the far distance circling in a Thermal up-draft is normally followed by the bird disappearing into the haze. This time though the bird made a leisurely drift toward us, and eventually went almost overhead. Here is about half a second of powered flight, spread out vertically a little to see the outlines.

Ref: D73_20210713_1735_134-139 Red Kite flying overhead (impression montage @10fps).jpg

5 seconds later (the camera runs at 10 fps so just count the frame numbers!) we enjoyed this oblique view of the Red Kite.

Ref: D73_20210713_1735_187 Red Kite in Flight.jpg

21 Aug 2021

One Moorhen (of the pair we know we still have) makes a few visits each week to the south hedge bottom site and the woodland site. This view at the hedge bottom seems particular appealing.

Ref: E63_20210713_0935_072_FB1 Moorhen at hedge bottom.jpg

20 Aug 2021

Our first sighting of a PAIR of Polecats.
First seen 'canoodling' near the South entrance (left pic), 2 minutes later they are running along in close contact through the orchard.
Close contact MAY mean the male has her by the neck - we can imagine that Polecat courtship may be a bit of a rough-house!

Ref: BU7_20210712_2221_021+BU9_2223_031-033 Polecat pair courting near SW entrance 1-4 of 4 (accurate montage).jpg

In the small hours of the same night possibly one of the same Polecats stops by the south entrance before undoubtedly speeding away.

Ref: BU7_20210713_0152_032 Polecat.jpg

19 Aug 2021

Following fleeting overflights, the female Sparrowhawk returns to one of her old haunts.

Ref: E60_20210712_1655_013_FB3 Sparrowhawk female (crop).jpg

18 Aug 2021

A Small White Butterfly enjoying a feed from the Privet flowers. Make the most of them - they only flower for a few days!

Ref: DF3_20210705_0959_031 Small white Butterfly female first brood on Privet flowers.jpg

The Blackberry flowers are now abundant, and this Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly isn't going to skip the opportunity.

Ref: D73_20210709_1509_105 Tortoiseshell Butterfly feeding on Blackberry flower.jpg

Following an initial flurry of Comma Butterflies in Spring, they do their thing, lay eggs and die. The new brood appear as adults in July, and here is a pristine sample. This generation again lay eggs, and the next 'batch' appear in September. It is this generation that overwinter as adults to venture out the following year to start the cycle going again.

Ref: D73_20210713_1739_290 Comma Butterfly (new generation).jpg

This is the second emergence this year of Green-veined White Butterflies. This species overwinters as Chrysalises (or chrysalides) to emerge in Spring, twice laying eggs for 2 summertime generations, before dying in the Autumn and leaving the Chrysalises to emerge to continue the species next year.

Ref: DF3_20210714_1344_109 Green-veined White Butterfly on Blackberry flower (first of 2021).jpg

17 Aug 2021

The Marmalade Hover-fly stops on this buttercup, only a bit bigger than the insect.

Ref: D73_20210709_1114_089 Marmalade Hover-fly feeding on Buttercup flower.jpg

Another Marmalade Hover-fly, this time hovering over the much larger Rose of Sharon flower.
As well as drinking nectar they eat honeydew and pollen, so this one is above a feast!

Ref: DF3_20210711_1213_025 Marmalade Hover-fly hovering over Rose of Sharon flower.jpg

16 Aug 2021

The winning entry for this weeks 'most twee Blue Tit' competition.

Ref: DF3_20210711_0904_001 Blue Tit juvenile on edge of bird table.jpg

This juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker looks small - perhaps a youngster from a later brood.

Ref: E60_20210711_0611_127_FB3 Great Spotted Woodpecker juvenile on tip of perch.jpg

15 Aug 2021

A White Plume Moth still flutters the wings to gain balance after landing on this grass blade. The name Pentadactyla refers to the 5 separate wing segments that align in the perched insect so it looks like a bit of stick.

Ref: D73_20210708_1547_037 White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyla) landing on grass stem with wings still spread.jpg

A Yellow Shell moth rests on a thistle leaf in the dark of the hedge.

Ref: D73_20210709_0830_075 Yellow Shell Moth.jpg

14 Aug 2021

Dad Chaffinch with two of almost certainly his this years youngsters.

Ref: E63_20210708_0821_018_FB1 2 Chaffinch juveniles with adult male holding beakful of seeds.jpg

An hour later the camera catches this sweetie moment of the two young Chaffinches together on the stone - undoubtedly waiting impatiently for their next feed.

Ref: E63_20210708_0904_030_FB1 2 Chaffinch juveniles perched together.jpg

A male Chaffinch flies upwards with a beakful of seeds.

Ref: E63_20210708_1846_050_FB1 Chaffinch male flying off with seeds in beak.jpg

4 days later this male Chaffinch, still in full breeding colours, makes a well controlled approach to landing on the stone.

Ref: E63_20210712_1911_033_FB1 Chaffinch male about to land on stone.jpg

13 Aug 2021

A recently rare sighting at any of the hi-resolution photo sites of a Reeve's Muntjac Deer. In this case we think the growing fawn stops by for this one photo.

Ref: E63_20210701_2140_078_FB1 Muntjac Reeves Deer fawn at hedge bottom.jpg

A little delight - 'our' Reeve's Muntjac Deer Fawn gambolling across the woodland site, caught here with all four hooves off the ground but in too random positions and insufficient movement blur to be a high speed run.

Ref: E64_20210706_2026_146_FB2 Muntjac Reeves deer fawn gamboling through woodland site.jpg

12 Aug 2021

This Skylark made an unexpected appearance ascending from the farmers field, singing his silvery song before diving back to the ground.

Ref: D73_20210706_1747_370-372 Lark ascending & singing over crop to east @10fps 4-6 of 6 (montage at one-fifth of real spacing).jpg

11 Aug 2021

It seems that on this afternoon the conditions for Swifts to hunt this area were just right. About 10 birds spent a couple of hours hunting over the farm field around us, and sometimes over our patch.
In this first montage (probably spaced closer than reality) it interesting to see that the wings turned vertical while the head stay horizontal.

Ref: D73_20210706_1601_094-097 Swift banking in flight keeps head level @10fps (impression montage).jpg

A Swift flying by.

Ref: D73_20210706_1740_237 Swift in flight @10fps 02 of 23 (crop).jpg

An accurately positioned montage of a Swift in flight at 10 frames per second.

Ref: D73_20210706_1740_245-249 Swift in flight @10fps 10-14 of 23 (accurate montage).jpg

The bland sky prevents any attempt at 'accurately positioned', so here more closely spaced than natural for a better look at the bird.

Ref: D73_20210706_1741_342-345 Swift in flight banking toward camera @10fps 1-4 of 4 (impression montage).jpg

10 Aug 2021

Checking under the corrugated iron sheet we discover the Grass Snake coiled about as neatly can be. Here is a moment while his forked tongue is visible.

Ref: DF3_20210705_0948_004 Grass Snake coiled under corrugated iron escapes down hole 01 of 22 (crop).jpg

A few seconds later the Grass Snake makes a rather leisurely exit down the hole.
Once we have disturbed the snake on a particular day we leave the corrugated iron untouched for the rest of the day.

Ref: DF3_20210705_0948_007-025 Grass Snake coiled under corrugated iron escapes down hole 02+06+07+10+17+20 of 22 (montage).jpg

Two days later the Grass Snake almost looks as if tied in a knot, but then slithered away so fast we was the only decent pic we got.

Ref: D73_20210707_1434_489 Grass snake coiled under corrugated orin.jpg

09 Aug 2021

Wildlife documentaries seem to us to be obsessed with Deer Ruts and fighting stags, but Reeve's Muntjac Deer seem quieter creatures and we had never before seen them being aggressive. But here over 30 minutes two Reeve's Muntjac stags, both with antlers in velvet, sparred on the Mound with their unfinished antlers.

Ref: BU2_20210704_0543_459+0614_463+465_SC7 2 Muntjac Reeves Deer males in velvet sparring on Round Mound 2+3+5 of 5 (montage).jpg

08 Aug 2021

Wrens are said to be very common, but secretive. Here a juvenile Wren momentarily stops on the tip of the kitchen perch.

Ref: E60_20210701_0617_086_FB3 Wren juvenile on tip of kitchen perch.jpg

Another Wren makes a momentary stop at the hedge bottom stone, but is already crouched for further action.

Ref: E63_20210703_1956_231_FB1 Wren on hedge bottom stone.jpg

07 Aug 2021

The female Kestrel makes another visit to the Meadow Post, landing with back to camera. After 6 minutes she finally turns and we see her half-eaten Rodent.
The camera stop after 10 minutes of continuous exposures and we don't know how long it was before she left.

Ref: D01_20210702_0930_101+0936_113+0939_117_FB6 Kestrel female lands on post with prey for 10+ minutes 1+2+4 of 4 (montage).jpg

06 Aug 2021

Two juvenile Squirrels spent 5 minutes 'playing' on the bird table outside the Kitchen Window. It would appear that this 'play' has a substantial sexual element, but they were definitely not actually mating. In the last frame the one on top is here falling off and landing 1.5 metres below without apparent injury.

Ref: DF3_20210702_0724_005+014+0729_037 2 Grey Squirrel juveniles playing on bird table with 1 falling 1+4+5 of 5 (mixed scale montage).jpg

05 Aug 2021

A pair of Mating Meadow Brown Butterflies enjoying themselves on an Oxeye Daisy flower.

Ref: D73_20210630_1551_089 Meadow Brown Butterflies mating on Oxeye Daisy flower.jpg

The Privet hedge along some of the access track has several butterflies enjoying the nectar. Here a Small Tortoiseshell.

Ref: D73_20210630_1528_049 Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly feeding on Elderberry flower.jpg

One of several Red Admiral Butterflies.

Ref: D73_20210630_1529_054 Red Admiral Butterfly feeding on Elderberry flower.jpg

The second crop of Speckled Wood Butterflies seems to be emerging. They may be just every brown imaginable, but we find them beautiful.

Ref: D73_20210702_1747_055 Speckled Wood Butterfly.jpg

04 Aug 2021

This male Chaffinch flies over the stone, beak carrying a seed.

Ref: E63_20210629_1910_131_FB1 Chaffinch male flying off with insect in beak (crop).jpg

This Dunnock flies over the stone.

Ref: E63_20210630_0730_164_FB1 Dunnock flying from stone (crop).jpg

The juvenile Robin on the stone seems to be practising his aggressive call on the male Chaffinch. The Chaffinch doesn't look the least impressed!

Ref: E63_20210705_1705_035_FB1 Robin juvenile on stone threatening (q) Chaffinch male.jpg

03 Aug 2021

On lifting the corrugated iron sheet we are delighted to get another sighting of our well grown Grass Snake. In this pic you can see the Snake's forked tongue flicking in the air.
Why do snakes do this? The Snakes olfactory organ is back inside the head - the tongue picks up the molecules to transfer them to it. So to 'sniff out' the world you have to keep flicking your tongue.

Ref: D73_20210630_1541_066 Grass snake with tongue extended exposed under corrugated iron sheet 1 of 5 (crop).jpg

We may be enchanted by the snake, but the snake is not at all enchanted by being rudely uncovered, and promptly slithers down the adjacent (mouse?) hole to completely disappear. Here you see the 'uncoiling' process in action over a few seconds

Ref: D73_20210630_1541_066-074 Grass snake with tongue extended exposed under corrugated iron sheet 1-5 of 5 (montage).jpg

02 Aug 2021

'Rond de Jambe' Wood Pigeon Style?
The nearest ballet reference we non-ballet followers could find. A word taken from the ballet mistress in 'Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall'

Ref: D01_20210620_1450_060_FB6 Wood Pigeon struggling to balance on landing.jpg

Probably a 'pair' of Wood Pigeons sharing the bird table.

Ref: E60_20210629_1829_059_FB3 2 Wood Pigeons on kitchen bird table.jpg

01 Aug 2021

The females Kestrel arrived on the meadow post with a Hawker Dragonfly in her beak - a unique event in our records. The Dragonfly species is clearly identifiable from the pic - a female Brown Hawker Dragonfly.
One could object to the Kestrel killing this beautiful creature, but the Dragonfly itself feeds purely by hunting, and so on down the food chain.
Although Owls carry prey items in their beaks, we had assumed that Kestrels always carried prey in their talons. Maybe the Kestrel found the Dragonfly sunbathing on the post and snatched it with the beak. But is so light (less than 1 gram) and she could also easily fly with it.
We tabulated weights of some insects over a decade ago - see Weights of Insects

Ref: D01_20210627_1337_004_FB6 Kestrel female landing on meadow post with Brown Hawker Dragonfly female in beak 2 of 4 (crop).jpg

The female Kestrel is here hunting from a power line, accompanied by a Wood pigeon on the other cable. The Kestrel obviously caught something about 7 minutes after the top photo, and took it to the meadow post to devour it where the automatic camera caught the action.

Ref: D72_20210628_1048_008+D01_20210628_1055_008-1104_026_FB6 Kestrel female hunt from cable catches Rodent eaten on Meadow Post 2-4+6+9 of 9 (montage).jpg

After closely spaced return visits to old haunts around our patch, the female kestrel has settled to her more normal hunting pattern where we see her on just 2 or 3 days a week.

Ref: D73_20210630_1625_108+1624_103 Kestrel female hunting from mains cable (montage).jpg



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