Return to moorhen home page
Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
We had already spotted the Hoof prints.
Now we see this magnificent Roe Deer Buck.
We catch sight of a female (left front) and male Reeve's Muntjac Deer quietly browsing at the North East corner of our patch. The cameraman is about 50 metres away, but even at this distance they are wary of humans at this distance so we moved away to leave them in peace.
A week after the male Roe Deer with magnificent antlers, we see what we guess is a young male, still with single spike Antlers in Velvet, spending 6 hours after midnight wandering around the site.
A Comma Butterfly feeds on a flower of our gigantic Laurel bush
Same actual insect, this time looking quite different with wings closed and showing the white 'comma' that gives these Butterflies their name.
A Red kite wheeled around above, gradually moving upwards without more than a twitch of the wings and tail.
Next morning we find one of the Mallard Ducks pairs quietly drowsing on
the still water of the main pond.
Trying to catch a 'perfect' rippleless reflection was impossible. Both water and birds were completely still, but the birds were continuously creating a ripple from their breasts. It seems likely that this is the birds invisibly breathing.
The 'nervous' female Kestrel is becoming a little more tolerant of us, and we could watch her on the 11kV cables to the south. She decides to move from one cable to a few metres along on another cable.
Once there she started an intense stare at the ground (on the other side of a huge hedge for us). But whatever she saw must have 'gone away' as she then relaxed.
A few minutes later she decides to fly on, soon to go out of sight.
She flew off as the camera captured this moment of flight.
Why are we so well endowed with Grey squirrels?
Because they keep doing this!
A pair of Mallard Duck swim quietly by the quietly browsing male Reeve's Muntjac Deer.
This pair of Mallard Ducks swim to the edge of the Round Pond, feeling no fear from the Rook or Wood Pigeon.
Just before midnight, what we think is a Fox (2 eyes left) watching a Badger foraging along the edge of Round Pond, with a pair of Mallard ducks safely out on the water.
A weird moment as we spot what initially looks like a bird completely
static in the middle of the sky! It turns out to the Robin perched on
last years hedge growth that the flail managed to mostly strip
of bark but not actually cut.
It must have been like this for months without us noticing.
A male Yellowhammer stops by on the hedge bottom stone.
A female Blackbird double-footed hopping over the site. The number of different 'walking' gaits used by birds is fascinating.
Peacock Butterflies have emerged from their winter torpor and need to get going with mating to get the next generation underway.
Peacock Butterflies have almost black underside to their wings. You can just see the tip of the top of the wing at the left of the lower insect. They flew into impenetrable brambles before we could see them actually mating.
The bright yellow male Brimstone Butterflies have a quieter bottom of wing colour that blends remarkably well with the yellow of the Primrose petals.
This female Sparrowhawk lands on a small Woodpile on the far side of the main pond. These morning portraits are from an upstairs window.
At around sunset of the same day what looks like the same bird lands on the kitchen perch for an unknown length of stay.
This branch hear the new Rook nest in the furthest Black Poplar Tree was suddenly the site of
commotion as these two bird mated in the space above us.
He tried once, obviously 'failed', and the female was immediately tail and wing fluttering again to encourage a second try, for which he immediately obliged and apparently satisfied her. We have no records or memory of ever previously seeing Rooks mating.
At the same nest site as the mating one of the Rooks flying in to land a few metres above the nest.
His mate is wing flapping and calling (encouragement?).
The incoming bird has very little of the beak covered in white skin, so the pair are most likely on their first-ever nest. They have stopped building with about half the weight of wood of the other nests, and it seems likely that the next storm will destroy it - with a lot of luck it will be after they finish a brood. But Rooks form stable pairs - if it goes wrong this year they will know better for next year!
This Blue Tit wasn't bothered by us watching as they industriously pecked at numerous Lombardy Poplar catkins.
Several pair of Dunnocks along the sunny end of the access track have suddenly become extremely tolerant of humans - well to us anyway. This one was singing his little heart out about 3 metres away.
A shaft of orange sun supplements the camera flash to enhance the golden glow of this male Pheasant.
An hour later the same bird struts down the Round Mound.
We don't often see a female Pheasant with 'her' male at the same time.
Here the two spent several minutes feeding together.
There are at least two female pheasants on the site
Magpies strut about as if they own the place.
In a way they do.
King of all they survey - a Rook at the top of one of the Silver Birches.
A pristine Rook takes a selfie.
A Rook (left) very indeterminably seeing off a Buzzard (right). Buzzards are a threat to eggs in the Rookery.
A Rook perched on an 11kV cable quietly launches. We have shifted the bird along the wire so you can see the detail.
A small patch of colour from a 30cm long patch of Violets growing from a crack in the disused concrete track. Violets always look much paler in photos than real life, and we have here partially corrected the colour.
Why do violets display a weak colour - rather like Bluebells displaying the WRONG
It is usually blamed on the UV light component picked up by camera but not eye.
A decade ago we did masses of photos of insects and plants in UV light - not luminescence - actual UV reflectance. We 'dusted' off the kit and rounded up the scattered boxes of bits, unearthed our instructions, and spent a couple of hours coaxing it all back to life. Here is a bit of the plant under normal flashgun light (showing better colour than in daylight!), and showing what it looks like in UV light. The Petals DO have substantial UV reflectance, explaining the wash-out effect, but the top of the flower (top in the pictures) is not as bright as the underneath of the petal. We have seen similar in daisies, where the effect is quite extreme. We can't see why either plant has evolved a difference. It was 'fun' to re-visit our past endeavours where the whole subject was triggered by a Wendy - a Dragonfly researcher at Swansea University. The previous work is indexed at http://www.moorhen.me.uk/uv/uv.htm (including links to the technicalities) with 'highlights' on a few pages from http://www.moorhen.me.uk/uv/highlights_01.htm.
As the sun lights the growing crop, this male Pheasant wanders around
keeping a beady eye on the humans.
This is NOT our 'regular' pheasant whose neck ring has a substantial break at the front.
This is our 'regular' male ...
... and this a very occasional visitor with complete neck ring and very noticeably almost white crown.
This pair of Mallard Ducks seem to spend the night afloat on Round Pond. As the Fox stops for a drink the birds paddle to have the maximum amount of protective water in every direction.
In daylight female Mallard Ducks really are well camouflaged ...
... while males are quite the opposite. In this quiet area with just a few ducks that pair up with a male, the males often quite deliberately distract attention from the female for perceived threats.
A male Blackbird has caught a worm!
Meanwhile the Grey Squirrel has raided the fruit bowl - for some Banana skin.
The current female Kestrel prefers the more distant post, supporting the IR sender for the meadow post, to the meadow post itself. Nothing 'automatic' about these pics.
2 days later we catch her launching from the same post.
Gazing along the hedge lines to our east, we see a brown shape
that resolves in the long-focus lens as this Chinese Water Deer.
About 200 metres away, she does no more than have a look at the interlopers.
We left her in peace to practice looking like a Teddy Bear!
In retrospect we are not sure of the sex of this deer - neither have Antlers
Seen on most days, Reeves' Muntjac Deer are regular sightings. This female steps delicately over the concrete lumps at the edge of the track to enter our patch. These Deer always look to us like they are smiling!
A FIRST for us here.
After 30 years of unexpected absence here, we at last see a Coal Tit.
This is 3 pics from the same visit. We hope they become a regular addition to the guest list.
On a windy but sunny afternoon this Grey Squirrel finds a sheltered nook in the sunshine to sit and meditate. Love the craggy wood.
Probably the 'resident' Reeves' Muntjac Deer feeds quietly at the Woodland site.
Her fur is lovely and glossy - we hope a sign of good health.
The 'resident' female Reeves' Muntjac Deer foraging IN the main pond (right) and 3 minutes later chomping her way through a clump of emerging 'day lilies' on the bank.
Cherry Blossom is starting all over the site.
On a mostly shaded piece of ground at the base of a tree growing near the edge of Round Pond, we find the first decent primrose clump.
Seeing Hares has always been a rare event here, so when we catch one on-the-run we keep a finger on the camera button ...
By the time the Hare was 100m away it was more relaxed - here we have taken alternate frames for the montage so this is about 2 seconds of the run.
A perky Robin.
Here you see clearly how thin the legs are compared to their rotund little bodies.
Dunnocks along the access track are becoming bold as they wait for a hand out of corn.
The female Sparrowhawk stops on the Kitchen perch right over the peanut feeder as she does her rounds looking for 'tasty and nutritious' Tits.
One of the female Kestrels spends a few minutes on the meadow post.
A closer look at the landing female Kestrel
One of the female Kestrels lands on the meadow post, but didn't stay.
An hour after midnight sees this Fox exploring the hedge bottom site.
More detail of the Fox's stare.
"Reynard - SIT!"
Some hopes - a little joke for April Fools day.
Return to image of the day
Newer page of archive Older page of archive