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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
2 days after the amble over the Round Mound probably the same male Roe Deer stops on the access track and gives the dull red glow from the camera's IR lamps a suspicious stare.
We now regularly see the disappearing end of creatures at the whole in the hedge, and think that the camera must have moved a bit. Here a 'smiling' female Reeves' Muntjac Deer makes her way off the track into the safety of our 2 acre haven.
A male Roe Deer looking very elegant on the Round mound just after sunrise.
A few minutes later the same (judging by the antlers) Roe Deer wanders a little aimlessly on the access track.
Bye Renard - see you again tomorrow!
4 days later, and for the 3 days in a row, probably the same Fox making appearances just a few minutes before midnight and half an hour afterwards. We can't tell the sex, but maybe a female with cubs to suckle. Its unusual for predatory animals to be this predictable.
"If I keep looking I'm bound to find something to eat even in this sun-baked ground."
"I'm still looking."
The searches must be successful some of the time or the Fox would go searching elsewhere!
Having collected a badger road-kill in the early morning, we decided to leave the body at the
meadow site and see what happened, expecting a Fox would be along in a day or two to drag
away the remains.
But we didn't factor in a (for the UK) hot day and sunshine blazing
WARNING: Skip the two images following this one if you might become upset.
We noticed a few flies on the carcass even the same day, but didn't think much of it. The stink was unpleasant downwind of the site and we limited our visits. But 2 days later in the afternoon (that's 55 hours later) we were astounded to find the carcass completely smothered with Maggots - thousands we can see in this photo, and probably many times more hidden inside.
24 Hours on we now have a Badger Rug with ribs sticking out of the top and skull at the right side. The fur looks like it is attached to skin, but in fact the skin has complete gone and fur is laying loose and will soon start being spread around by wind and animal visitors.
It is hard to get a good look at badger paws, so we put down this badger Road-kill
on our excuse for a lawn to photograph them.
Here the Badger's rear paw.
Here the Badger's front paw.
This has been a great year for Yellowhammers in the hedges at all 4 compass points outside our site, but not in it. Several are nesting in the stretch of hedge running south from our SW corner, and they find the overhead 11kV cables an ideal spot to do lookout duty. The 11KV cable don't look much from the ground, but they dwarf the Yellowhammer - a bird about the size of a Sparrow or Chaffinch.
Barely landed, and already this Tawny Owl is staring at something off to one side.
Our first sighting of a Gatekeeper butterfly this year is of this pair mating.
The double white dots in the black oval is a characteristic of the species.
A Brimstone Moth (NOT butterfly) flies over the Kitchen
perch an hour before midnight. The Blackberry stem was awaiting cutting back
but here makes an interesting natural juxtaposition.
You can find a few much better pics of Brimstone Moths in flight on the subject indexed page around http://www.moorhen.me.uk/iodsubject/moths_02.htm.
A Mallow flower including stem and leaves.
Teasels are really interesting and useful plants.
Here is the first one we have seen starting to flower this year, a patch on the sunny side in the middle. The flower heads first form a ring around the circumference, and then split into 2 rings - one working up the head and one down. Insects enjoy the flowers, and the hundreds of resultant seeds last right through as a food source for finches and similar into next year.
A favourite summer flower is the Crocosmia which flowers in sequence along the horizontally V-shaped head.
We have had a soft spot for Sumac trees ever since we saw one while we lived in a 'modern' terrace in Welwyn Garden City. We have planted one or more at every house we have bought since, and here, with the greater space, several. But this is the first time we have seen such an exuberance of flowers.
Mid-morning sees that the ants under the corrugated iron seem to have brought
the entire nursery of eggs and Pupae to the surface to warm. On really hot days
lifting the sheet shows barely any ants because they have all been transported
back to the cooler underground tunnels.
All the Pupae can be returned underground in only a few minutes by these industrious colonies as we once watched in real time.
Another Ant nest some 100m away we come across these Ant alates - flying ants leaving to breed.
A Badger on the nightly round.
A much more detailed crop from the above.
Dog lovers may think that the Badger looks affectionate, but if you got this close they would try to have off your fingers!
With little rain for a week, Badgers lose their generally muddy snouts and appear a little more pristine.
A couple of times in the last few weeks we have shown you the orange
female of the Broad Bodied Chaser. Here at last we see the very different male.
The blue colour (called Pruinescence) is a powder that can be rubbed off
and you can see a few patches missing on this individual.
The Pruinescence is very bright in Ultra-violet light - you can see an old set of images of this at Broad Bodied Chaser in UV
Wood Pigeon feathers look so smooth and matt you can forget that they are made up of hundreds of overlapping feathers.
A Magpie carrying a somewhat unripe cherry.
Most of our cherry trees make yellow cherries which we find
have a slightly unpleasant aftertaste.
Only the sprout of our deep red cherry tree is producing cherries
this year - we must time our cropping carefully to be 'ripe enough'
but before the Squirrels also find them 'ripe enough'.
The main cherry tree was damaged by the Oak tree that broke off last year in a storm and after cutting back has not got round to blossoming.
A male Common Blue Damselfly delicately perches on a dead grass stem. In recent years Azure Damselflies dominated the Damselfly population, but this year it is about 50-50 Common and Azure.
An unexpected find of a female Beautiful Demoiselle Damselfly long after most of them have 'gone'. The Damselfly's wings are as undamaged as ever.
Damselflies go through several appearances after emergence from 'teneral' (newly emerged) to 'over-mature', each species following it's pattern and timescale. This one is a male Common Blue Damselfly but yet to develop the blue colour along the middle abdominal segments.
Our 'resident' female Sparrowhawk stops on the Kitchen Perch.
No sightings of the resident female Kestrel at her haunts around the house in the last few days (that doesn't mean she hasn't been there) but here she is in another of her hunting haunts near the top of a Lodge Pole Pine tree perhaps 60 metres away.
A badger picking up a few food scraps at the hedge bottom.
A contraction of the two visible sets of claws shows the powerful rear and front claws.
The first sighting of a Ringlet Butterfly this year.
A male Large Skipper Butterfly.
'Large' is a relative term - All skippers are smaller than the normal run of Butterflies.
Patience is NOT a virtue that young Magpies possess. FOOD!!!
The left pic is about half-an-hour earlier than the two on the right (just 400mS
apart) as probably the same Magpie takes some sort of caterpillar to the Meadow
Post, undoubtedly on the way to a demanding youngster. On the right the Magpie
seems to be deliberately Jamming the insects into a crack in the top of the
Woodpeckers do this to steady nuts to break open - quite why a Magpie would do this doesn't seem obvious.
A Hare hunkered down at the edge of the Farm Road.
A detail from the same photo to show you how the Whiskers always seem to droop down.
Turning a corner finds this male Reeves' Muntjac Deer staring back as he guarded the female out in the light behind.
One of the male Reeves' Muntjac Deer takes an idiosyncratic self-portrait.
One of the male Reeves' Muntjac Deer spends a few minutes foraging near the edge of the Duck-shaped pond
The female Sparrowhawk has started making appearances at both the study and kitchen feeders. Here the wildly swinging peanut feed on the chain suggests and unsuccessful attack on a bird at the feeder just before landing on the perch.
Our other regular Raptor visitor is this female Kestrel 'Grey Feather' who has returned to some of her old haunts. Here she is hunting from a dead branch on an old apple tree ignoring the photographer perhaps 10 metres away.
Our lovely 'Grey Feather' Kestrel hunting from a favourite perch. You can see here that her tail is not 'quite right', but she nevertheless obviously a successful individual and we are always pleased to see her.
These three moments at 1 minute intervals.
We can't tell you whether the bird left on the post is the same one or not, but we do rather like the idea of him 'flying in for a quickie'!
Almost all of our detailed pics of Foxes are at night when there Irises are close to fully open. Here we catch an evening moment where the partly closed irises clearly show that the closed iris is a vertical slit.
These 3 pics taken a few seconds apart show the Fox standing stock-still - the only movement is a slight lowering of the lovely tail and the Fox's right ear swivelling about.
Humans seem a bit 'ear deprived' compared to many wild species. Here an early morning Hare shows us his lovely floppy ears.
Our first (visual only) sighting of a Banded Demoiselle Damselfly was 3 days
The Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies have almost finished - in the past they have peaked here at about the same time. We MAY be seeing female Banded Demoiselles, but they don't have the dark band and we find it hard to tell them from The Beautiful females unless we see them both close together, when their hues are subtly different.
The startling appearance of the spiked fruits of Herb Robert along with a flower of the same plant.
Several instances recently of snails out in dangerous places. This one is in the tyre tracks on the Farm Road. They had a few seconds 'aviation' experience to take him where they were going without the risk of being flattened by the next vehicle.
A Red Admiral butterfly perched to show both top and bottom of wings.
Because most butterflies and moths build their wing pattern with tiny scales on each side, the two sides can be entirely different. It very frustrating that so many ID book show only one side or other!
A similar view of a Comma Butterfly. The 'comma' is the white shape appearing only on the underneath of the wing.
Not a trace of the 'Comma' on the top of the wing.
A pair of mating Meadow Brown Butterflies enjoy the highlight of their short lives.
In the field margin the Hare watches events from the conveniently short grass..
This is a field margin along the edge of the bridleway to our north. We never manage to take a Hare who rests here by surprise - they can see us way before we arrive from either direction.
Just 1 minute later, this is a different Hare a bit less terrified of us, here they are sitting on the Farm Road.
Something spooked the Hare (we were keeping still) and they ran off towards the interior of our patch.
A juvenile Magpie arrives already demanding food before they have even landed!
Looks to us like an adult Magpie trying to land on the Meadow Post top already occupied by a begging juvenile. The adult decides to pass by - possibly not the parent of the bird begging, or just nothing to give them.
Demanding (begging seems to be too weak a description!) juvenile Magpies are to be seen regularly at the hedge bottom.
Here you can see the Red gape that the adults are keyed to fill with as much food as they can find.
This seems to have been a week for Wood Pigeons making symmetrical landings. First on the tree-stump ....
... a few days later the Meadow Post in the morning ...
... and then at about 6 a.m. against the light. The winds have been atypical, and every pic is the back view!
This night visiting Tawny Owl appear to have 'eyes of blue'.
What we are actually seeing is the appearance of the nictitating membrane closed over the eyes to protect them (as many bird momentarily do during accident prone manoeuvres) but with the eyes aligned with the camera we see internal reflection from the retina.
Catching the gait of a Grey Squirrel in a high-speed run is here shown as alternate frames (at about 7 frames per second), mostly accurately positioned. At some points the legs are spread legs as you see portrayed in Victorian paintings of horses before Mybridge discovered the reality.
The above is the odd numbered frames, so here is the 'same' sequence using even numbered frames.
Picking up speed on the grass we can see every frame in this montage (still at 7fps). In the montage above and this one (twice) we see a landing with head almost banging the ground so this must be part of the intended behaviour.
A moderately regular visitors is the Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly. This female was fluttering from perch to perch - here is a little celebration.
A female Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly beautifully back-lit while perched facing the camera on what looks like one of last years Teasel stems.
A once regular breeder in the Round Pond, but now occasional visitor, is the Four-spotted Chaser Dragonfly.
But there are there 8 black spots you say!
The outer spots (actually rectangles boarded by wing veins) are called pterostigma which appear in some form on almost all Dragonflies. The 'spots' count is of the round spots half-way down the leading edge of the wing - and yes - there are four!
This Buzzard wings past with this disgusting looking mess of very-dead Rabbit messing up the bird's aerodynamics. The voracious chicks will be pleased.
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