Return to moorhen home page

Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day

30 Apr 2022

We had already spotted the Hoof prints.
Now we see this magnificent Roe Deer Buck.

Ref: BUA_20220328_2116_104_SC8 Roe Deer male near east hedge 2 of 3 (crop).jpg

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.

Ref: D71_20220324_0727_016 Muntjac Reeves female and behind her male deer at north end of east outer hedge.jpg

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.

Ref: BU9_20220408_0103_024+0658_035+BUC_0704_376 Roe Deer female then male visiting over over 6 hours (montage).jpg

29 Apr 2022

A Comma Butterfly feeds on a flower of our gigantic Laurel bush

Ref: DF3_20220326_1403_301 Comma Butterfly feeding on Laurel flower.jpg

Same actual insect, this time looking quite different with wings closed and showing the white 'comma' that gives these Butterflies their name.

Ref: DF3_20220326_1403_304 Comma Butterfly feeding on Laurel flower showing underwing mark.jpg

28 Apr 2022

A Red kite wheeled around above, gradually moving upwards without more than a twitch of the wings and tail.

Ref: DF3_20220326_0840_159 Red Kite circling overhead.jpg

27 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: DF3_20220326_0829_107 Mallard Duck and Drake drowsing on Main pond (crop).jpg

26 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: DF3_20220325_1159_028-037 Kestrel female moving along 11kV cables & onto new cable 01+02+05+08+10 of 10 (montage @7fps).jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220325_1200_058 Kestrel female hunting (unsuccessfully) from 11kV cable.jpg

A few minutes later she decides to fly on, soon to go out of sight.

Ref: DF3_20220325_1203_072-078 Kestrel female flying from 11kV cable 1-7 of 7 (montage @7fps vertically accurate).jpg

She flew off as the camera captured this moment of flight.

Ref: DF3_20220325_1203_089 Kestrel female in flight 1 of 7 (crop).jpg

25 Apr 2022

Why are we so well endowed with Grey squirrels?
Because they keep doing this!

Ref: BU9_20220325_0725_058-060_SC2 Grey Squirrel pair mating on orchard grass 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

24 Apr 2022

A pair of Mallard Duck swim quietly by the quietly browsing male Reeve's Muntjac Deer.

Ref: BU5_20220322_1402_130_SC1 Muntjac Deer male on bank of Round pond as Mallard Ducks swim by.jpg

This pair of Mallard Ducks swim to the edge of the Round Pond, feeling no fear from the Rook or Wood Pigeon.

Ref: BU5_20220325_1555_325_SC1 Mallard Duck pair + Rook + Wood Pigeon.jpg

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.

Ref: BU5_20220329_2348_309_SC1 Fox (q) + Badger + Mallard Duck pair at Round Pond.jpg

23 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: DF3_20220326_0843_257 Robin on tip of stem not removed by flail cutter.jpg

A male Yellowhammer stops by on the hedge bottom stone.

Ref: E63_20220326_1244_214_FB1 Yellowhammer male at hedge bottom.jpg

A female Blackbird double-footed hopping over the site. The number of different 'walking' gaits used by birds is fascinating.

Ref: E63_20220322_0531_060_FB1 Blackbird female hopping across hedge bottom.jpg

22 Apr 2022

Peacock Butterflies have emerged from their winter torpor and need to get going with mating to get the next generation underway.

Ref: DF3_20220322_1306_263 Peacock Butterfly (overwintered) pair courting in may blossom.jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220322_1307_283 Peacock Butterfly (overwintered) pair courting in may blossom.jpg

The bright yellow male Brimstone Butterflies have a quieter bottom of wing colour that blends remarkably well with the yellow of the Primrose petals.

Ref: DF3_20220322_1316_308 Brimstone Butterfly male feeding on Primrose flower.jpg

21 Apr 2022

This female Sparrowhawk lands on a small Woodpile on the far side of the main pond. These morning portraits are from an upstairs window.

Ref: DF4_20220320_0934_007+0935_010+0936_017 Sparrowhawk perched on woodpile behind main pond 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

At around sunset of the same day what looks like the same bird lands on the kitchen perch for an unknown length of stay.

Ref: E60_20220320_1811_097_FB3 Sparrowhawk female (crop).jpg

20 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: DF3_20220320_1357_179+184 Rook pair mating near partly built nest in Black Poplar north of track 5+8 of 9 (montage).jpg

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!

Ref: DF3_20220323_1229_399+401+404 Rook lands near nest while partner calls (montage).jpg

19 Apr 2022

This Blue Tit wasn't bothered by us watching as they industriously pecked at numerous Lombardy Poplar catkins.

Ref: DF3_20220320_0950_135 Blue Tit pecking Lombardy Poplar buds (crop 2).jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220322_0900_208 Dunnock singing from hedge top.jpg

18 Apr 2022

A shaft of orange sun supplements the camera flash to enhance the golden glow of this male Pheasant.

Ref: E64_20220319_0903_153_FB2 Pheasant male.jpg

An hour later the same bird struts down the Round Mound.

Ref: BU2_20220319_1001_208-210_SC7 Pheasant male walking down Round Mound 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

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

Ref: E64_20220320_0913_221+0918_223_FB2 Pheasant pair feeding together at Woodland site for 5 minutes (montage).jpg

17 Apr 2022

Magpies strut about as if they own the place.
In a way they do.

Ref: E63_20220317_1628_057_FB1 Magpie walking along hedge bottom.jpg

Ref: E63_20220318_1753_139_FB1 Magpie walking along hedge bottom.jpg

King of all they survey - a Rook at the top of one of the Silver Birches.

Ref: DF3_20220317_1546_029 Rook perched in top of Silver Birch Tree.jpg

16 Apr 2022

A pristine Rook takes a selfie.

Ref: E6A_20220310_0817_003_FB5 Rook on grass.jpg

A Rook (left) very indeterminably seeing off a Buzzard (right). Buzzards are a threat to eggs in the Rookery.

Ref: DF3_20220315_1239_075-077 Rook chasing off Buzzard to north 1-3 of 3 (accurate montage @ about 7fps).jpg

A Rook perched on an 11kV cable quietly launches. We have shifted the bird along the wire so you can see the detail.

Ref: D72_20220317_0707_008-012 Rook launching from 11kV cable 2 of 5 (horizontally spread montage @8fps).jpg

15 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: DF3_20220315_1235_074 Violets growing in cracks in disused concrete track.jpg

Why do violets display a weak colour - rather like Bluebells displaying the WRONG colour?
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 (including links to the technicalities) with 'highlights' on a few pages from

Ref: D12_20220319_1420_011 Dog Violet Flowers in RGB & UV light (montage).jpg

14 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: D72_20220314_0703_030 Pheasant male (unbroken neck ring) in Wheat crop backlit by morning sun.jpg

This is our 'regular' male ...

Ref: E64_20220314_1353_025_FB2 Pheasant male - dominant bird with broken neck ring at front.jpg

... and this a very occasional visitor with complete neck ring and very noticeably almost white crown.

Ref: E64_20220315_0905_059_FB2 Pheasant male with light coloured crown (ID only).jpg

13 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: BU5_20220314_0121_273+274+0122_276_SC1 Fox on bank of Round Pond with 2 Mallard Ducks on the water 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

In daylight female Mallard Ducks really are well camouflaged ...

Ref: DF3_20220314_1025_016 Mallard Duck female in main pond.jpg

... 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.

Ref: DF3_20220314_1026_019 Mallard Duck male in main pond.jpg

12 Apr 2022

A male Blackbird has caught a worm!

Ref: E6A_20220312_1723_156_FB5 Blackbird male with worm in beak (crop).jpg

Meanwhile the Grey Squirrel has raided the fruit bowl - for some Banana skin.

Ref: E6A_20220313_1340_196_FB5 Grey Squirrel nibbling inside of banana skin held in paws.jpg

11 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: DF3_20220312_1512_121+122 Kestrel female on IR beam sender post (montage).jpg

2 days later we catch her launching from the same post.

Ref: DF3_20220314_1528_041-1529_045 Kestrel female launching from IR sender post 1-5 of 5 (accurate flight montage).jpg

10 Apr 2022

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

Ref: DF3_20220311_1237_086+1239_096 Chinese Water Deer male resting on field margin 200m to east 2+3 of 3 (montage).jpg

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!

Ref: BU3_20220315_1104_123_SC6 Muntjac Reeves Deer female about to re-enter site from track.jpg

09 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: PK1_20220311_1125_232+1126_233+237 Coal Tit (1st sighting in 30 years) (montage).jpg

08 Apr 2022

On a windy but sunny afternoon this Grey Squirrel finds a sheltered nook in the sunshine to sit and meditate. Love the craggy wood.

Ref: DF5_20220306_1552_002 Grey Squirrel sunbathing on pollarded Willow stump.jpg


Ref: D36_20220312_1353_024_FB4 Grey Squirrel 1st to bait.jpg

07 Apr 2022

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.

Ref: E64_20220308_1754_115_FB2 Muntjac Reeves Deer female at woodland feeding site.jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220306_1122_106+PK1_20220306_1119_947 Muntjac Reeves Deer female @ main pond (right) then eating day Lilies (montage).jpg

06 Apr 2022

Cherry Blossom is starting all over the site.

Ref: DF3_20220307_1606_008 Cherry Blossom - light pink behind Frog Pond.jpg

Ref: DF3_20220308_1245_028 Cherry Blossom pink in front garden.jpg

Ref: DF3_20220308_1246_033 Cherry Blossom white in front garden.jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220309_1643_078 Primrose clump at base of tree next to round pond (orig & final).jpg

05 Apr 2022

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 ...

Ref: DF3_20220305_1321_018-022 Hare running across growing crop 1-5 of 7 (montage stretched about half).jpg

Ref: DF3_20220305_1321_020+021 Hare running across growing crop 3+4 of 7 (montage stretched about half).jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220305_1321_034-048 Hare running along field margin to south 02-16 (alt frames @ 7fps) of 16 (accurate montage).jpg

04 Apr 2022

A perky Robin.
Here you see clearly how thin the legs are compared to their rotund little bodies.

Ref: E63_20220305_1525_147_FB1 Robin emphasising thin legs.jpg

Dunnocks along the access track are becoming bold as they wait for a hand out of corn.

Ref: D72_20220301_1039_072+070 Dunnock waiting in hedge to be fed (montage).jpg

03 Apr 2022

The female Sparrowhawk stops on the Kitchen perch right over the peanut feeder as she does her rounds looking for 'tasty and nutritious' Tits.

Ref: E60_20220228_1246_003_FB3 Sparrowhawk female lands on kitchen perch facing camera (crop 2).jpg

02 Apr 2022

One of the female Kestrels spends a few minutes on the meadow post.

Ref: D01_20220228_1522_049-1525_056_FB6 Kestrel female 4 minute visit to Meadow Post 1-5 of 5 (montage).jpg

A closer look at the landing female Kestrel

Ref: D01_20220228_1522_049_FB6 Kestrel female 4 minute visit to Meadow Post 1 of 5 (crop).jpg

One of the female Kestrels lands on the meadow post, but didn't stay.

Ref: D01_20220305_1206_207+208_FB6 Kestrel female landing on meadow post (montage over 400ms).jpg

01 Apr 2022

An hour after midnight sees this Fox exploring the hedge bottom site.

Ref: E63_20220228_0122_239_FB1 Fox (crop 1).jpg

More detail of the Fox's stare.

Ref: E63_20220228_0122_239_FB1 Fox (crop 2 head detail).jpg

"Reynard - SIT!"
Some hopes - a little joke for April Fools day.

Ref: BU5_20220225_0417_141_SC1 Fox sitting on edge of Round Pond.jpg



Return to image of the day

Newer page of archive          Older page of archive