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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
After many weeks of absence the female Kestrel is back, seemingly
re-visiting her old haunts to see whether they remain good hunting.
Here she spends about 7 minutes on the top of the Meadow post where the automatic camera watches her arrive with some sort of Rodent in her claws, where she dissects and consumes the entire Rodent.
Mid morning next day she similarly arrives with a smaller Rodent, but for whatever reason leaves without obviously eating it 'on the spot'.
Lunchtime another day on we spot her hunting from the dead branches of a really old Apple tree in the 'Orchard'. For some reason she is much more tolerant of humans in the garden below than elsewhere.
A lovely moment at around dawn as Reeve's Muntjac Deer Fawn is affectionately groomed
by Mum, and then a surprise as we see the behaviour reciprocated with the fawn
The fawn has to learn this social nicety, but it's lovely to see.
At the front of the house the Reeve's Muntjac Deer fawn licks over her fur between nibbling bits of the 'garden'. Her growing size and formation of the facial mask make it difficult to tell the fawn from the adults at first glance.
The female Great Spotted Woodpecker continues to supplement the youngster's rations with peanut fragments
The female Great Spotted Woodpecker continues to supplement the youngster's rations with peanut fragments
Here are two juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers - what is going on we can only guess. We often see juvenile Woodpeckers mistakenly begging from each other!
"Baby Bunny in Clover"
The ever attentive male pheasant guards one of has (at least) 3 wives. The ripening grass and some heavy rain causes the grass stalks to fall into any empty space as you see here, along with the Clover flowers and Buttercups at this suddenly cluttered site.
A cluster of developing Sycamore seeds showing a subtle pink colour.
In one of the oak trees on the sunny side of the meadow has several patches of leaves at the end of branches going brown and yellow. It too high to see if it is infestation or damage of some kind.
One of very few male Banded Demoiselle Damselflies - a flickering delight to
see in flight.
The females are so similar to the female Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies that we find it hard to tell them apart.
A female Beautiful Demoiselle Damselfly - the brown colour of the wings is clear in this photo, so it is NOT a Banded Demoiselle
This has been the 'Week of the Woodpeckers' visiting peanut feeders on both sides of the house. Here this montage shows the whole family as far as we are aware. On the left the 2 Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers actually seen like this), and on the right first Mum and then Dad.
Mum Great Spotted Woodpecker likes to feed her youngster some peanut grits.
Mum and Fawn again met at this site, spend a few minutes mostly at the edge of the frame, before the youngster makes their way out into the wider world of the farmers field (top middle).
Itchy 'velvet' over the growing antlers of this male Reeve's Muntjac Deer seems the most likely need for rubbing on the ground
The Trail cam at the east hedge catches the lovely little Reeve's Muntjac fawn probably just re-entered our patch and walks quietly through a sunbeam.
The Reeve's Muntjac Deer fawn spends a lot of time on the plot, mostly now avoiding the flash camera sites. But about once a day on random walks around our patch we get a sighting. The little creature seems to know we are not an immediate danger, but always walks quietly into the nearest cover and we don't see them again.
Grey Squirrels seem to be showing the worst of their behaviour this week. At the woodland site these two seem to be having a snarling contest over a few fragments of food.
An hour or so later some 70m away we get this largely impenetrable melee of fighting
Grey Squirrels. We think it is just 2 creatures!
Reminds us of the excellent stop-motion movie 'Isle of Dogs (2018)' where fight scenes are represented by similar 'balls of fur with bits sticking out'.
2 minutes later the issue seems resolved - only this Squirrel remains.
This Pristine Badger visits the hedge bottom.
After dark this Badger get a rude surprise as the camera flash fires. But this one keeps coming back so can't be too disturbed.
Birds in general seem to be able to move their tails through a huge range of angles. There is no stiff foliage here that could be bending the tail.
Very rare sightings of any female Pheasants, and none at all of chicks. But his Majesty looks magnificent even without his tail ...
... but the 'girls' probably find him more impressive WITH his tail.
After a day of continuous rain it looks like this male Pheasant found shelter overnight, but needing to eat has left him looking a bit like a 'drowned Rat'.
A female Broad Bodied Chaser high in the hedge along the access track.
This year we have seen several of these different individual female Broad Bodied Chasers. Surely a male, with the lovely powder blue pruinescence, will turn up to make the next generation.
First sighting for 2021 of a (female) Black Tailed Skimmer, of all places out on the farmer insecticide drenched crop :-(
At least one juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker has made it to a degree of independence. This one was exploring the post, flat surface and Peanut feeder outside the study window. Over a couple of minutes we got all of these moments - just enjoy the young woodpecker possibly first solo exploration of this construct where one of the parents has been there to feed the youngster on previous visits.
Walking down a dark tree-covered path we found the way 'blocked' by several
single strands of silk hanging down from about 4 metres high down to the ground.
Some of these had caterpillars crawling down them that appear, after a lot of
book thumbing, to be some sort of 'Sawfly' Larvae.
Top: The silk 'mesh' still with Larvae in it.
Left: A close up of the strand with about 8 Larvae on it. The Larvae shadow on the ground is formed the shadow from the camera flash.
Right: A distant shot of the setup - this strand actually hung from further up than you can see here.
Our lack of expertise (and minimal guide books) means we are unable to 'nail' the insect's ID any better, and maybe wrong at that.
3 hours later the Larvae have mostly dispersed.
Here is a male Beautiful Demoiselle Damselfly - more commonly seen that the females at the moment. The 'break' in the body may look alarming, but the insect can bend substantially at join of each of the 10 abdominal segments. This joint between segments 2 & 3 contains the male's sexual organs.
This male Beautiful Demoiselle Damselfly catches the light showing how the veins of the wing create corrugations that give this incredibly lightweight structure surprising strength. A form of natural origami!
A female Beautiful Demoiselle Damselfly. The wingspan is about 7cm - much larger than most Damselflies. Walking down a path with dozens of these fluttering around you is quite one of the most magical experiences we know.
The Beautiful Demoiselles are supplemented by the only other similar
species (in the UK anyway) of the strikingly marked Banded Demoiselle.
This is a male - the females have no such banding and are so hard to tell
apart from female Beautiful Demoiselles 'in the wild' that we may miss
them among the larger numbers of the Beautiful females.
Each wing has it's own band which is quite dark even when the wings are separated as you unusually see here.
The Fawn seems to be managing fine, here with a dried out leaf in the mouth.
Not so junk-food crisps for a Deer?
We had started to think of the Reeve's Muntjac Deer as rather independent, but here a possibly by chance, possibly not, encounter at the SW corner between Fawn and what must be Mum led to 5 minutes of affectionate grooming of the youngster and eventually exit though the south hedge. If you look carefully at the top of the bottom right picture, you will see Mum looking back, past a grass blade, at her Fawn to check that it is following.
The Kitchen window bird table and perch are held in place by a pair
of G-clamps. This seems to provide a nice grippy surface for the Adult
Great Tit (left) to feed their youngster. The adult has obtained a piece
of peanut from the feeder and is chipping off a smaller piece to feed
Concerns about feeding peanuts during the breeding season centre around young birds choking on whole peanuts. Ensure your feeders only release fragments and it becomes useful supplement for chicks and the parents.
At the top, Mum Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Hanging upside down, juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker.
We have seen this juxtaposition many times, and still have no idea why the juvenile chooses to hang inverted.
3 visits by what looks like the same Little Owl over 5 days, visiting for 1, 2 and then 3 'frames'.
Frames on this camera are taken at exactly 1 minute intervals when the post is occupied.
Top middle is the back of the head - without optical equipment this looks remarkably like much bigger bird.
More detail of the top-right image.
After several weeks we see a Tawny Owl again, spending a couple of minutes at the meadow post. Tawny Owls seems to prefer (or find easier to catch) Voles over Fieldmice (Wood Mice). We see very few of either prey at the nearby Meadow site photo kit at the moment, but there are plenty around, and unfortunately in, the house.
Mum and Dad introduce 2 of the Moorhen chicks to the world outside the pond. This was the last of the group of 3 pics triggered by the adults so more chicks may be following.
In the evening of the same day two sibling Moorhen are in the duckweed of the Duck-shaped pond.
There are perhaps a dozen male Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies around the various places they frequent as the 'sun moves round the heavens'.
Detail of a male Beautiful Demoiselle Damselfly shows the intricate spines and hairs.
At last we see a Female Beautiful Demoiselle Damselfly.
Only the females have the white 'pseudo-pterostigma' on both Demoiselle species.
Many other Odonata have these marks in a similar position, but there are usually black or Brown, hence the 'pseudo' for these white ones.
This is a male Banded Demoiselle Damselfly sunning himself on a nettle leaf.
So far we have not spotted any female Banded Demoiselle Damselflies, but may have missed some - they are rather similar to the Female Beautiful.
Several sighting of the male Yellowhammer (and a poor pic of the female) this week. Here is a little celebration of some of the male's visits on a somewhat elongated stone.
A Tawny Owl stops by the meadow post 2 hours after midnight. There don't seem to be many Rodents at the nearby 'Meadow camera' so the Owl hopefully knows of better places to hunt.
Visits in the early morning and early night of the same day by Little Owls. A careful inspection suggests that this is two individuals. Have we got a pair nesting on our patch? We DO have a little owl nesting box inaccessible to us past stinging nettles. More if we discover anything new - without interfering with the nest box until well after they could have finished with it.
A Silver-ground Carpet Moth shows off the intricate wing pattern. The rather elongated look is because the wings are not fully covering one another as you normally see when the insect is resting.
We haven't sighted a grass snake for 4 years (28 Jun 2018) under a corrugated iron sheet we still look under most days. So catching a sight of this Grass Snake sunbathing in the middle of the main pond, coiled over a tuft of desiccated Iris fronds from last year, was a surprise. We couldn't see it very well for the glare of the plants around it. and took several pics at various angles through intervening fresh growth. Eventually it slithered off we know not where - Grass Snakes are completely happy in water. In this pic you can see the 3 parts of the snake, bottom towards the tail, top toward the head, and just above middle the snake's head itself facing to the right.
Almost 2 weeks after the first Grass Snake sighting, we lift the corrugated iron sheet and in the first time for years find this Grass snake warming itself under the sun warmed corrugated iron. The snake wasn't too happy with this interruption of it's sauna, found a break in the up-ended iron, and made a swift exit.
The next day we see probably the same Grass Snake at the same place. This time the corrugated iron was thrown right back, not providing a surface route to escape, so the snake makes for the nearest Mouse hole and the whole snake (probably almost 1 metre long) pours into the hole and vanishes!
This pair of Hover-flies were making so much noise about it that we had to investigate the frantic buzzing and found these two on a bramble growing out of a miniature conifer. These taken over 8 minutes. At frame 5 he fell off - but she let him regain his classic position. We left them to it and they were gone half and hour later.
Every year for the last 30 years (i.e. since we moved here) a 10m stretch along the east edge of the access track becomes a sea of the blue flowers of Green Alkanet. Patches are starting to appear on the west side of the track and in the orchard without any help from us.
Some of the Hawthorn trees growing from the inner hedge are have become really impressive with a huge overhang, turning parts of the outer path into a 'tunnel'.
Mum or Dad Badger with 3 youngsters dutifully following. An adult and 2 youngsters seen again later the same night.
A week after the first visit by an Badger adult + 3 youngsters we see what is probably the same group from 50 metres away from the previous siting at the bottom and lower slope of the mound.
A Blue Tit was flying past the window about once a minute -
moving between a peanut feeder and this nest box. Investigating
showed that the visitors to the nest box were grabbing peanut
grit from the feeder and 'grubs' from the Yellow Buddleia in a
mix to feed the youngsters in the nest. Whole peanuts can be a
choking danger to chick, but it seems that having to peck out
tiny fragments makes peanuts a useful supplement. In this first
montage we see Mum or Dad delivering a green grub.
This nestbox is in total shade all day and these are the best pics we can get.
Here one of the parents flies out to dispose of a Fecal Sac.
This nestbox is in total shade all day and these are the best pics we can get. Yes - the box is mounted on a sloping branch - the birds don't care!
The White Ermine Moth is an extremely attractive sight glowing in the dark of the Moth Trap. Reluctant to leave the 'pill' box at the start of the session, you see here the resting insect (right) with no hint of the glorious orange body (left) while warming up the wing muscles ready for flight.
A montages celebration of this beautiful White Ermine moth.
A close up of this White Ermine moth with the tip of a grass blade for scale.
Hawk-moths are, by Moth standards, really big. This Poplar Hawk-moth was a wingspan of about 40mm (inch and a half) though it seems bigger when you are handling them. The orange patch doesn't show at all on the resting insect, and doesn't get any mention in ID books or normal photos.
Here montaged at the same scale with a small head of Cow Parsley you get a better idea of scale.
This female Brimstone Butterfly perched nicely for a photo before being rudely netted to strut her stuff for a few minutes at the insect flight kit.
3 separate flights here of the female Brimstone butterfly, since montaged to make some sort of fun layout, before we took her back to her bramble patch.
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