Return to moorhen home page
Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
There are still a few Hawker Dragonflies out in the middle of the day.
This one flew to land on a dead twig, and we got to see how badly his
wings are worn and torn from weeks of 'Hawking'.
Insects can fly with quite amazingly damaged wings.
Here is an apparently pristine male Common Darter Dragonfly warming himself in the fitful sunshine.
We used to see Comma Butterflies only in the Autumn, but this year saw them in Spring and Summer as well. This Autumn visitor is perched on a Blackberry fruit with wings closed, giving a good view of the corrugated wing edge and white 'comma'.
We catch this immaculate Comma Butterfly seeing just the completely different upper wings.
A Sparrowhawk (we think a juvenile male) touches down on the kitchen bird table.
The strange appearance of the eye is because the semi-transparent nictitating membrane (sort of eyelid) is partially over the eye. Many birds cover their eyes when performing possibly risky maneuvers - such as landing.
We have been seeing new Sparrowhawk behaviour in the last couple of weeks - a Sparrowhawk flies (so fast it's impossible to distinguish individuals) east to west across the conservatory window and past the peanut feeder. Eyes onto CCTV feed of the kitchen side of the house sees the bird 2 or 3 seconds later speeds west to east past the Kitchen feeder and bird table. We have seen this at least 4 times over the last couple of weeks, so must happen much more often. We assume that this is a new individual doing an economy style circle of the house.
On this morning we found the whole area was smothered in dew spangled spider webs.
On this morning we found the whole area was smothered in dew spangled spider webs.
A couple of acres of Farm crop north of our patch (the dark top right) contained perhaps 500 visible webs, and all the other fields seems to be similarly bedecked. The farm occupies about 100 acres, so that 50,000 webs!
Here is a close-up of a 'perfect' Orb web built between two withered bean plants.
An accurate montage of the local female Kestrel flying by the young Lombardy Poplar trees along the Farm Road.
Another moment from the local female Kestrel's flight
Several instances now of Grey Squirrels bringing Farmers crop bean pods back into our patch. When we search our grass paths we find an average of a bean pod every square metre or so. That's a LOT of food.
The edge of the Farm's desolate crop, including dozens of opened and eaten pods lying on the crop margin.
Inside our patch this Squirrel has found 3 pods joined together to transport as one mouthful.
The local female Sparrowhawk makes a 'failed' swoop over the kitchen bird
table and feeder. Our impression is that she just swoops in on the two sites
where we see her without any idea of whether there will be anything to catch.
'Surprise' is one of her weapons!
On Saturday (18th Sep) we saw the female Sparrowhawk flash by the conservatory window (with nothing to catch at the feeder outside) and on CCTV saw the bird continue round to the other side of the house where she swooped by the also unoccupied feeder by the kitchen window. Her speed is awesome.
Out for an early morning walk we found this Buzzard perched on the corner of a
stack of Straw bales perhaps 70m away. The bird appeared and disappeared a few
times over 3 hours.
Not seen there since, and now the straw stack was soon collected.
As dusk descends we spot the local female Kestrel just finishing off her supper on what we call the 'Raptor Post' - now mostly used by pigeons as a site for romantic liaisons. Over a few minutes we watched her finish her prey and then clean herself up.
The local female Kestrel back on one of an assortment of 'favourite' branches, this time a large conifer at the SE corner of our patch, hunting the close cut grass outside our patch.
Two hours later we find her on an 11kV cable over the bridleway to the North.
You can see from the steel peg that we try to anchor the lid of this peanut feeder to the rest, but this Grey Squirrel spent hours working on getting past the partially lifted lid to pull out peanuts. The Squirrel eventually got the lid right off and ate about 5cm of the column over the rest of the day before the feeder was replaced.
No, this is NOT a Squirrel with a Stogie!
The farm crop around us seems to be some sort of mix of some sort of bean and a brassica, both now mostly dead. The plants that have produced bean pods have now all blackened like this with more black than not beans inside. Outside our North boundary is the detritus of Squirrels and probably other wildlife making the most of this bonanza. This pod has been carried at least 30 metres to the inside of our patch
We have found empty pods all over our patch.
Who has been painting the sides of our Grey squirrels orange?
Most of the Squirrels have soft edge brown patches on their flanks, just one is unusually orange all over (NOT a 'Red' squirrel), but this one has an atypically sharp line along the body and down the rear leg with quite intense colour.
The night shift (a Badger) leaving the pond after a drink.
The day shift (One of the female Reeve's Muntjac Deer) leaving the pond after a drink.
Another Night shift - a midnight Fox comes for a drink at Round pond
And another Day shift - a female Reeve's Muntjac Deer steps in to the pond to reach the low water.
This Badger has just arrived on the site through the South hedge. The nose rises to find out 'who' else is here, and maybe what's to eat!
In the dead of night the fox suddenly stops, swerves and stares intently upwards. Six minutes later the Fox leaves - we have no idea what happened in the interim.
The hedge bottom site has shown quite a lot of Fieldmouse (Wood Mouse) activity, but the camera
is only triggered by creatures on the stone so they mostly appear near the
Note here the Leopard Slug serendipitously caught on the side of the stone. It looks very matt and dry - not how we expect to see them.
A Black Backed Gull flies past, here shown at about 140mS intervals but more closely spaced than reality.
A Black Backed Gull flying past.
Harvest done to the accompaniment of Red Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels.
Baling done to the accompaniment of Rooks and other Corvids.
Now it's harrowing time to the accompaniment of at least 300 assorted Gulls.
After a slow start we have been seeing quite a lot of Hawker and (here) Darter Dragonflies.
Hawker Dragonflies generally fly about catching prey as they go, but Darter Dragonflies
choose a well placed stick end where they wait for some suitable midge to fly by, dart out
to catch it, and then (the useful bit for a photographer) often return to exactly the same perch
a few seconds later. Here this one returns - over the 300mS of the left 3 pics the legs move
from full folded for flight to fully extended for landing.
A Migrant Hawker Dragonfly basking in the afternoon sun on an Ash tree twig at least 50m from the nearest open water.
The female Kestrel doesn't normally hunt from this particular pole top at our south hedge, and she quickly moved on.
For once the camera catches the dive of 'our' female Kestrel from an 11kV
Holding a 3.5Kg camera still for several minutes is rough on the arms, but putting up a tripod to do the holding seems to see off everything!
The number of white butterflies about this year far exceeds any previous experience. Here are two Small White Butterflies feeding from the same flower.
A wide view of the yellow Buddleia bush shows about 20 Small and Large White
butterflies feeding on the flowers and fluttering above the bush.
This pic really doesn't capture the delightful feeling seeing this provides.
This pic of 5 white butterflies crowded on to a single stem of still flowering Blackberry perhaps captures the delicacy a bit better.
A couple of handsome flies enjoying the mint flowers and leaves
The Yellow Buddleia we inherited has produced a mass of flowers this year. Here a Red Admiral Butterfly.
Here on the Yellow Buddleia is a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly.
A juvenile male Green Woodpecker lands on the meadow post.
This juvenile male Green Woodpecker continues his visits.
We think Green Woodpeckers always looks grumpy, but that's anthropomorphising them.
This more advanced juvenile male Green Woodpecker lands on the Meadow post.
A fine montage of (probably) a female juvenile Green Woodpecker landing on the Meadow Post for a short visit. We have 'flipped' one image for a compact rendition.
A lovely moment as this female Kestrel flies up to land on an 11kV power pole crossbar. At the time the bird seemed to be about to fly straight through but aerobraked over the pole to 'parachute' down for an elegant landing.
Later the same day, from an upper floor window, we see the same Kestrel having a Preen on a dead branch of a (nearly dead) Pear tree across the access track.
This pic really scared us - the leftmost pic quite clearly shows the bird being BETWEEN
the 11kV cables - and getting away with it.
A now retired farmer (now moved away) years ago recounted an experience where he saw a bird vanish in a flash when it flew between the two cables of an earlier installation of the high voltage supply.
More nerve-racking flying around the 11kV cables, but never between the cables here.
An adult male Green Woodpecker graces the meadow Post for a few minutes. Read this right to left - a heavy landing, a scramble for secure footing, and then a few minutes watching the world go by.
Back to the juvenile Green Woodpeckers - here probing the crack in the top of the post before being caught departing ...
... before another visit a few minutes later.
Buzzards can hover facing into a wind.
This one over the crop spends a few seconds stationary in the air (so separated here) before diving down on whatever it has spotted.
One of the Buzzards flies over our East hedge ...
... and we think circles round to land on the Meadow Post 2 minutes later.
The Buzzard spends 4 minutes on the post. The rightmost image is about 400mS after the landing of the bird shown above.
Another Red Kite pass over the harvest.
The incidental bird in the tree is a Buzzard on the same quest.
The Harvest of the 'fallen' crop is underway.
The Kestrels, Buzzards and Red Kites (seen here) arrive from all directions to make the most of the disturbed Rodents and Rabbits.
Red Kites prefer to glide over the site and dive on whatever they spot.
Bottom left near the tractor wheels this Red Kite is not disturbed by the noisy behemoth only a few metres away.
Juvenile Green Woodpeckers have been regularly appearing at the Meadow Post. We have at least 3 individuals - 2 males and a female. This is a juvenile male.
A juvenile male Green Woodpecker spends a quarter of an hour on the Meadow Post.
This sprig of Oxford Ragwort seems to have escaped the attention of Cinnabar
caterpillars, and this Small White butterfly is enjoying the flower's nectar.
Although the plant itself is poisonous, the flowers offer genuine poison-free offerings to get their pollen distributed.
A pair of Small White Butterflies mating in the morning sunshine.
A male Brimstone Butterfly, one of over a dozen seen over the main pond, feasts on the rampant Purple Loosestrife flowers.
A Green-veined White Butterfly enjoying their share of the Loosestrife bounty.
There are perhaps a dozen Migrant Hawker Dragonflies around the house and Meadow. This one stopped on this twig just long enough to get this pic.
A female Common Darter Dragonfly perched on the tip of broken off plant stem in the afternoon sunshine.
This female Common Darter Dragonfly warms herself on a plant stem
The juvenile male Green Woodpecker makes another visit, this one lasting almost two and a half hours. We would like to think that these formed a little sequence, but they are spaced over in excess of an hour, except the two on the ground about 1 minute apart.
The Meadow post has been drying out over the years, and was developed some wide
cracks down the length that are hardly visible in this view. The crack down the centre
you see here is a minor affair compared to the large crack that is about 10mm wide at the top.
Anyway, the Green Woodpecker has been systematically pecking inside the crack
(left) and (right) a minute later has pulled something out and you can see the tip of
his long tongue still sticking out of the tip of the beak.
In typical fashion, the light would go really dim for this interesting frame.
An assortment of some of the fun moments of the juvenile male Woodpecker's visits.
To complement our juvenile male Green Woodpecker, we unexpectedly see (on the right here) a juvenile female 2 days after the photo of the male.
Each year the Mint plants around the house attract these starting glowing Mint Beetles.
This tiny Moth catches the eye despite it's small size. Here it is feeding on a mint flower - very appropriate for a 'Mint Moth'
This years appearance of Scorpion Flies has started. This is a female - who doesn't have the 'Scorpion like' tail that gives the species it's name.
A single night with Tawny Owl visiting the Meadow post, and it seems to be two different Tawny Owls. Left to right the 3 photos are of the same bird, but the visit on the right 6 hours later (with the post much darker from rain) has a completely different set of facial features. The second visitor did not stay - perhaps not liking the photo-flash from about 20m away - if there is good hunting they will soon ignore like they do car headlights and similar.
Return to image of the day
Newer page of archive Older page of archive