Return to moorhen home page

Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day

31 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: BU3_20220712_0354_090_SC6 Roe Deer male on access track looking at camera.jpg

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.

Ref: BU3_20220715_1308_037-039_SC6 Muntjac Reeves Deer female walking over access track to west hedge gap (accurate montage).jpg

A male Roe Deer looking very elegant on the Round mound just after sunrise.

Ref: BUC_20220719_0520_010_SC7 Roe Deer male on Round Mound.jpg

A few minutes later the same (judging by the antlers) Roe Deer wanders a little aimlessly on the access track.

Ref: BU3_20220719_0524_089+0525_092+093_SC6 Roe Deer male leaving at west hedge gap and wandering on access track (montage).jpg

30 Aug 2022

Bye Renard - see you again tomorrow!

Ref: BU7_20220715_0304_016+017 Fox exits site through SW corner hedge gap (montage).jpg

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.

Ref: BU7_20220719_0029_004+006+2354_007+008+20220721_0001_035_036 Fox identical exits around midnight on 3 successive days (accurate montage).jpg

"If I keep looking I'm bound to find something to eat even in this sun-baked ground."

Ref: BU8_20220721_0521_118-120 Fox hunting over grass near Duck Pond (impression montage).jpg

"I'm still looking."
The searches must be successful some of the time or the Fox would go searching elsewhere!

Ref: BU8_20220721_0524_121+123+124 Fox hunting by Duck Pond (montage).jpg

29 Aug 2022

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 down.
WARNING: Skip the two images following this one if you might become upset.

Ref: D72_20220710_0922_061 Badger Road-kill left at FB5 (orig & final).jpg

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.

Ref: D72_20220712_1618_033 Badger Road-kill left at FB5 08 of 27 (crop with maggots detail insert).jpg

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.

Ref: D72_20220713_1559_082 Badger Road-kill left at FB5 21 of 27 (crop).jpg

28 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: D72_20220710_0839_056 Badger - underneath rear paw (orig & final).jpg

Here the Badger's front paw.

Ref: D72_20220710_0840_059 Badger - underneath front paw (orig & final).jpg

27 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: D72_20220713_1048_045 Yellowhammer on 11kV cable.jpg

Barely landed, and already this Tawny Owl is staring at something off to one side.

Ref: D01_20220714_0352_376_FB6 Tawny Owl short visit to Meadow Post.jpg

26 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: D72_20220710_1559_083 Gatekeeper Butterflies mating (1st sighting of 2022).jpg

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

Ref: E60_20220712_2301_060_FB3 Brimstone Moth flying over kitchen perch an hour before midnight.jpg

25 Aug 2022

A Mallow flower including stem and leaves.

Ref: D72_20220708_1010_006 Mallow Flower.jpg

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.

Ref: D72_20220710_0932_068 Teasel starting to flower (1st of 2022).jpg

A favourite summer flower is the Crocosmia which flowers in sequence along the horizontally V-shaped head.

Ref: D72_20220713_1059_055 Crocosmia first flowers.jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220709_1301_012 Sumac Flower cluster.jpg

24 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: D72_20220706_0940_063 Ants under corrugated Iron sheet in meadow - ants + tiny to large pupae + alates.jpg

Another Ant nest some 100m away we come across these Ant alates - flying ants leaving to breed.

Ref: D72_20220712_1620_034 Ant Alates on west side of access track.jpg

23 Aug 2022

A Badger on the nightly round.

Ref: E63_20220704_2302_057_FB1 Badger inspecting Hedge bottom an hour before midnight (crop 1).jpg

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!

Ref: E63_20220704_2302_057_FB1 Badger inspecting Hedge bottom an hour before midnight (crop 2).jpg

With little rain for a week, Badgers lose their generally muddy snouts and appear a little more pristine.

Ref: E63_20220707_0104_171_FB1 Badger at hedge bottom an hour after midnight.jpg

22 Aug 2022

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

Ref: D72_20220704_1741_035 Broad Bodied Chaser Dragonfly male perched in tree on Duck Pond island.jpg

21 Aug 2022

Wood Pigeon feathers look so smooth and matt you can forget that they are made up of hundreds of overlapping feathers.

Ref: E63_20220704_1037_025_FB1 Wood Pigeon looking backward spreading the neck feathers.jpg

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.

Ref: D01_20220702_0813_234_FB6 Magpie lands on Meadow post with unripe Cherry in beak.jpg

20 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: DF3_20220701_1550_053 Common Blue Damselfly male.jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220702_1121_147 Beautiful Demoiselle female.jpg

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.

Ref: D72_20220707_1814_066 Common Blue Damselfly male immature not yet developed blue colouring.jpg

19 Aug 2022

Our 'resident' female Sparrowhawk stops on the Kitchen Perch.

Ref: E60_20220630_1023_004_FB3 Sparrowhawk female on kitchen perch (crop).jpg

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.

Ref: D72_20220630_1048_027 Kestrel female in Lodgepole pine tree.jpg

18 Aug 2022

A badger picking up a few food scraps at the hedge bottom.

Ref: E63_20220630_0149_164_FB1 Badger at hedge bottom (crop).jpg

A contraction of the two visible sets of claws shows the powerful rear and front claws.

Ref: E63_20220630_0149_164_FB1 Badger at hedge bottom (detail of rear and front claws).jpg

17 Aug 2022

The first sighting of a Ringlet Butterfly this year.

Ref: DF3_20220628_0837_003 Ringlet Butterfly (1st of 2022).jpg

A male Large Skipper Butterfly.
'Large' is a relative term - All skippers are smaller than the normal run of Butterflies.

Ref: DF3_20220625_1608_155 Large Skipper Butterfly perched on leaf.jpg

16 Aug 2022

Patience is NOT a virtue that young Magpies possess. FOOD!!!

Ref: E63_20220625_1022_167_FB1 Magpie juvenile begging.jpg

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 post.
Woodpeckers do this to steady nuts to break open - quite why a Magpie would do this doesn't seem obvious.

Ref: D01_20220625_1420_466+1456_484+485_FB6 Magpie collecting caterpillars and using crack in Meadow Post top 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

15 Aug 2022

A Hare hunkered down at the edge of the Farm Road.

Ref: DF3_20220625_0847_084 Hare sitting with ears down at edge of Farm Road (crop 1).jpg

A detail from the same photo to show you how the Whiskers always seem to droop down.

Ref: DF3_20220625_0847_084 Hare sitting with ears down at edge of Farm Road (crop 2).jpg

14 Aug 2022

Turning a corner finds this male Reeves' Muntjac Deer staring back as he guarded the female out in the light behind.

Ref: DF3_20220624_1518_063+064 Muntjac Reeves Deer male watching cameraman as he guards female (accurate montage for focus).jpg

One of the male Reeves' Muntjac Deer takes an idiosyncratic self-portrait.

Ref: E6A_20220628_2056_136_FB5 Muntjac Reeves Deer male at meadow site.jpg

One of the male Reeves' Muntjac Deer spends a few minutes foraging near the edge of the Duck-shaped pond

Ref: BU8_20220629_1823_149+153+1826_172 Muntjac Reeves deer male on meadow beside Duck Pond (montage).jpg

13 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: E60_20220623_1229_007_FB3 Sparrowhawk landing on kitchen perch probably after failed attack at bird feeder.jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220624_1408_044-1411_055 Kestrel female hunting from orchard apple tree 1-4 of 5 (montage).jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220625_1616_159+1618_175 Kestrel female hunting from Apple tree (montage).jpg

12 Aug 2022

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'!

Ref: D01_20220623_0743_024+0744_026+0745_028_FB6 Wood Pigeons mating on Meadow Post 1-3 of 3 (montage@1minute intervals).jpg

11 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: BU9_20220623_2047_032_SC2 Fox eye reflection showing vertical slot Iris.jpg

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.

Ref: BU5_20220616_2059_091-093_SC1 Fox standing still by Round pond only moving ears & tail 1-33 of 3 (montage).jpg

Humans seem a bit 'ear deprived' compared to many wild species. Here an early morning Hare shows us his lovely floppy ears.

Ref: BUA_20220629_0624_174_SC8 Hare near east hedge gap with ears twisted in different directions.jpg

10 Aug 2022

Our first (visual only) sighting of a Banded Demoiselle Damselfly was 3 days earlier.
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.

Ref: D72_20220622_1041_103 Banded Demoiselle Damselfly male (1st seen 19jun2022) (crop).jpg

Ref: D72_20220622_1059_123 Banded Demoiselle Damselfly male (1st seen 19jun2022).jpg

09 Aug 2022

The startling appearance of the spiked fruits of Herb Robert along with a flower of the same plant.

Ref: D72_20220621_1631_041 Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) flower and hairy and spiked fruits (crop).jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220619_0903_056 Snail crossing Farm Road (& rescued).jpg

08 Aug 2022

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!

Ref: DF3_20220620_1227_019 Red Admiral Butterfly feeding on flower in hedge.jpg

A similar view of a Comma Butterfly. The 'comma' is the white shape appearing only on the underneath of the wing.

Ref: D72_20220621_1626_037 Comma Butterfly on leaf show uper and lower wings.jpg

Not a trace of the 'Comma' on the top of the wing.

Ref: D72_20220621_1737_084 Comma Butterfly showing top of wings.jpg

A pair of mating Meadow Brown Butterflies enjoy the highlight of their short lives.

Ref: D72_20220621_1258_014 Meadow Brown Butterflies mating on leaf 3 of 3 (crop).jpg

07 Aug 2022

In the field margin the Hare watches events from the conveniently short grass..

Ref: DF3_20220618_0723_013 Hare juvenile on field margin to north (crop 2).jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220619_0559_032-036 Hare running along bridleway to north 1-5 of 5 (slightly stretched montage @7fps).jpg

Just 1 minute later, this is a different Hare a bit less terrified of us, here they are sitting on the Farm Road.

Ref: DF3_20220619_0600_043 Hare running from Farm Road west towards our patch 1 of 6 (crop 2).jpg

Something spooked the Hare (we were keeping still) and they ran off towards the interior of our patch.

Ref: DF3_20220619_0600_044-048 Hare running from Farm Road west towards our patch 2-6 of 6 (accurate montage @7fps).jpg

06 Aug 2022

A juvenile Magpie arrives already demanding food before they have even landed!

Ref: D01_20220622_1808_221_FB6 Magpie juvenile lands on Meadow Post to beg from adult already there.jpg

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.

Ref: D01_20220617_1625_055+056_FB6 Magpie stopped from landing on Meadow Post by threating Magpie already there (montage @400mS).jpg

Demanding (begging seems to be too weak a description!) juvenile Magpies are to be seen regularly at the hedge bottom.

Ref: E63_20220621_1820_090_FB1 Magpie juvenile demanding food from another.jpg

Here you can see the Red gape that the adults are keyed to fill with as much food as they can find.

Ref: E63_20220622_0524_120_FB1 Magpie juvenile demanding food from adult.jpg

05 Aug 2022

This seems to have been a week for Wood Pigeons making symmetrical landings. First on the tree-stump ....

Ref: D36_20220616_1824_013_FB4 Wood Pigeon landing magestically on Tree-stump (crop).jpg

... a few days later the Meadow Post in the morning ...

Ref: D01_20220620_0743_035_FB6 Wood Pigeon symmetrical landing on Meadow Post.jpg

... and then at about 6 a.m. against the light. The winds have been atypical, and every pic is the back view!

Ref: D01_20220621_0605_061_FB6 Wood Pigeon landing on Meadow Post backlit.jpg

04 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: D01_20220620_0040_021_FB6 Tawny Owl landing on Meadow post.jpg

03 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: DF3_20220615_0742_443-451 Grey Squirrel running over concrete track then grass 01+03+05+07+09 of 25 (approx montage @7fps).jpg

The above is the odd numbered frames, so here is the 'same' sequence using even numbered frames.

Ref: DF3_20220615_0742_446-452 Grey Squirrel running over concrete track then grass 04+06+08+10 of 25 (accurate montage @7fps).jpg

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.

Ref: DF3_20220615_0742_452-457 Grey Squirrel running over concrete track then grass 10-15 of 25 (near accurate montage @7fps).jpg

02 Aug 2022

A moderately regular visitors is the Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly. This female was fluttering from perch to perch - here is a little celebration.

Ref: DF3_20220614_1803_412+1756_388+1801_401 Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly female - Great Willow Herb + Blackberry (montage).jpg

A female Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly beautifully back-lit while perched facing the camera on what looks like one of last years Teasel stems.

Ref: DF3_20220615_1744_544 Broad-bodied Chaser female Dragonfly facing camera backlit on desiccated teasel (q) stem.jpg

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!

Ref: DF3_20220614_1804_415 Four-spotted chaser Dragonfly male.jpg

01 Aug 2022

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.

Ref: DF3_20220614_1606_368 Buzzard flying overhead with large piece of Rabbit in claws.jpg



Return to image of the day

Newer page of archive          Older page of archive