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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
These two male Migrant Hawker Dragon flies are NOT a montage. We watched one of these land to hang in the hedge, and the camera found two almost perfectly aligned as you see here. The cameraman really did think he was getting some sort of double image, but quickly realised not, to get this pic. Trying to get a better angle induced one to take off. The other either took off unseen or just used it's camouflage to stay hidden.
A couple of visits to the Meadow post by this Tawny Owl about 20 minutes apart.
It is unlikely to be just chance that at almost the same moment we start to see Fieldmice (Wood Mice) (and a few voles)
disporting themselves at the Meadow camera site about 10 metres away?
Here a selection with a pair of Fieldmice (Wood Mice) in each natural frame.
Here we just had some fun picking from the remainder of the 23 frames. Most of the these are Fieldmice (Wood Mice) except for Voles 1st & 3rd from the left.
This 'Little Brown Bird' (we think a Reed Warbler) is outside the conservatory
picking off the spherical 'drupelets' from blackberry fruits. The bird is as well disguised
in these 4 sequential images as it was trying to find it in the camera viewfinder!
Drupelet is what seems to be the official spelling although Druplet is freely used.
Near the end of the night this lovely Tawny Owl lands on the perch at the kitchen window.
Whether the natural interference of the Blackberry stem enhances or degrades the pic of the Owl is open to question, but it made it clear it was time to exercise the secateurs!
The day before this Tawny Owl lands at the Kitchen bird table & perch 90 minutes after midnight
There seems to be a single Buzzard hunting the area to our North and West using the 11kV cables and crossbar system as hunting perches. Normally when the Buzzard decides to move we get a flight of at least 100 metres (typical spacing of the poles) but this one did a short 'hop' of a couple of metres from a cable to the top of a cable insulator mount. It seems that Buzzards CAN perch on the cable, but prefer a larger surface area.
This nervous female Kestrel doesn't like us walking down the Farm Road 50m away, and flies 100m from the nearer pole to the next one along.
A juvenile Green Woodpecker - one of three foraging on a grass area bordering the Farm Road.
One of the juvenile Green Woodpeckers. We think they are magnificent - and you can believe they evolved from dinosaurs.
Typical 'teenager' in a sulk - no I won't look at the camera!
We haven't seen much of anything on the Meadow post in this second batch
of heat-wave days, so particularly pleased to see a Tawny Owl spending
two and a half hours hunting on our site.
Here the Tawny Owl has arrived with a Shrew in the beak. In the next frame (not shown) the shrew has gone, presumably 'down the hatch'.
An hour later presumably the same Tawny Owl landed face to camera on the Kitchen window perch.
More usually found here around ponds and low over the meadow, Southern Hawker Dragonflies mostly hawk at lower heights and slightly more predicable paths. But usually seen singly
Detail from the 3rd from the right montage above.
Continuing the celebration of Migrant Hawker Dragonflies.
Walk the Line!
Most years we get a good show of Migrant Hawker Dragonflies at the south end of the access track, and in the evenings over the meadow. Here is a little sample, starting with Migrant Hawkers near the gate.
Here we caught a male Migrant Hawker Dragonfly finishing sucking a midge dry
and dropping the empty exoskeleton. That dot below the 3rd from the left Dragonfly
is the dropped insect you can see just being released in the second pic.
Immediately the prey has gone the legs move back to their aerodynamic
Frame rate is 8 fps throughout this selection
The nice sweep of the Migrant Hawker Dragonfly at the bottom is supplemented by another Dragonfly flying in from the top of the frame.
A female Holly Blue butterfly feeding on late blackberry flowers. This is a new emergent - they have two broods a year.
This single female 'haunted' the side of the garage for 3 days. Here she catches the shadow of an adjacent unopened head of blackberry flowers to make an interesting pattern.
The first Green-veined White Butterfly this year.
A single spike of Lords and Ladies berries.
We wondered whether anything eats them, and a web search reveals that the whole plant is poisonous to humans and animals, the berries especially so. There is no antidote, and people have died.
Outside our south hedge is this grass margin. The only thing we could find that doesn't look dead is this seemingly indestructible but stunted Oxford Ragwort plant. A poppy we had been following just withered and died. Seeing this got us thinking about Cinnabar Moths and their caterpillars which feed on this plant, and of which we have seen none at all, and its now the end of their caterpillar's growth period.
Drought and heat-waves do unusual things to normally passive items. Here the hedge running south from the blocked gate shows a pattern of growth variation reflecting the different plants in the hedge, and some hint of the planting pattern used at least 100 years ago.
An adult Great tit aerobrakes to land on the stone.
Chaffinches are aggressive birds, the males especially so.
A female Blackbird seems to be almost gleeful as she pecks at the ground at the meadow site. The thin fibrous material you see on the ground is Badger fur.
In the last few days we have heard the Green Woodpecker 'Yaffling' around the plot, got a few glimpses, always of a juvenile. This one at the meadow site is casting a beady eye on the offerings.
2 days later possibly the same juvenile Green Woodpecker at the Meadow
a few days later a circular walk outside our patch saw 3 juvenile Green Woodpeckers simultaneously on the grass margins to the farm road. A good year for them!
If you live in a town you are more likely to see Great Spotted Woodpeckers. A few sightings at the peanut feeder are supplemented by this pic of a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker stopping off at the Meadow post.
In the warm sunshine a few Migrant Hawker Dragonflies were hawking up and down the concrete track. Roy can't resist photographing them in flight even if it does mostly produce hundred of blurred or blank frames.
A female left to right.
A female again right to left - the first is a bit disguised against foliage.
Out venerable garage provides a clear backdrop for this male Migrant Hawker Dragonfly flying
right to left and in two frame (fifth of a second) has turned completely round to fly the other way.
Of course the cameraman didn't react quickly enough to the reversal and camera panning left lost the insect out of frame :-(
Want to try for a still image yourself: Even top-end autofocus is hopeless unless the background is bland sky, and auto exposure usually goes badly wrong. So you need a camera with lockable manual focus and ability to set shutter speed, aperture and ISO rating in manual mode. Even low-end SLRs can do this although the frame rate will be low.. Typical sunny day settings Shutter 1/1250 Aperture F9 ISO 640 Lens 50 - 100mm focussed about 5 metres away. Shutter button: high-speed continuous.
As you spot a dragonfly flying towards your focus distance, start taking frames until it has passed your focus distance. If you can't follow the action in the viewfinder just learn to point the camera 'blind' with lower enough zoom that it keeps the insect 'in-frame'. Expect a huge failure rate and check that your 'aim' keeps insects mostly in-frame. If you have any successes please send them along!
A 'pair' (one female and the other male - but they don't pair up for more than mating) of Migrant Hawkers were warming themselves in a well chosen sunny spot at the corner of a hedge. Here the male is in the foreground with the blurred female behind and left. The insects are only about 10cm apart, but close-up focus is very sensitive to distance.
Here are the same pair more as human brains re-construct the images it gets from the eyes flitting between the two and re-focussing without you noticing. So this is a montage of camera frames focussed on each insect in turn. Hope that you will enjoy this 'impression'.
A few minutes before midnight this elegant male Roe Deer visited the East of our patch. Firstly a drink - now a couple of metres from the edge :-(
Then a passage over the Mound, completely ignoring the dead Badger (a second road-kill within a couple of weeks) as you would expect from herbivore.
And finally walking up to the camera near the east hedge gap.
Round Pond seem to be the major source of water for the larger mammals. This pond is in real trouble - it has a slow leak for years but the water table in now so low that we lose an inch every day. We have decided to stop daily top-ups of several cubic metres, and in any case topping it up may soon be illegal due to a hose pipe ban, and have installed a makeshift drinking trough for animals that expect to find water.
The local female Sparrowhawk stops off briefly at the kitchen perch in the bright morning sunshine. The swinging Peanut feeder suggests that she either attacked a bird in it, or birds successfully fled in terror.
The last few days has seen many passes a day of the female Sparrowhawk past the conservatory window on her pass of the kitchen and study peanut feeders. We rarely see her perched on either feeder, but the patient IR bean triggered camera at the kitchen window does occasionally see her land or fly by. This montage shows both in perhaps misleading pair of unrelated events - the bird in flight occurred 22 minutes before the landing bird, but it does make a striking montage.
Probably the same fox appears almost every night at this grass patch near the Duck Pond. This hunting session lasted almost half an hour.
Probably the same fox appears almost every night at this grass patch near the Duck Pond. This hunting only lasted a couple of minutes, but here there was enough light for this selection to be in colour.
Whoosh - this Magpie flashes their plumage as they skim over the Woodland site.
These two Magpies seem to include an adult (left - judging by the long tail) but we have no idea what was going on. Every Magpie we see this year has had a moderate to heaving infestation of feather mites over the head.
We no longer see much of Great Spotted Woodpeckers on feeders near the house - at this time of year there is masses of 'natural' food available. But this juvenile sweeps in with aplomb to check out the hedge bottom.
Approaching midnight a bat flies over the kitchen window bird table flying towards the window and takes a selfie. The bat is closer to the camera than the woodwork (the Bat casts a shadow from the flash high inside the window) making them look larger than reality.
Many metres from the safety of the surrounding crop field, this juvenile Hare is nibbling on the grass and some weeds at the front (i.e. visible from the house) of the main pond. Left is a view eating a leaf in 'suck-it-in' style taken through the kitchen window. On the right through the window of a room above the kitchen with a more capable camera.
Hares now find it easy to hide from sight in the ripening (more like already ripe after the heat-wave) wheat, but after dark seem to like coming into our patch - for a change of diet?
The Southern Hawker Dragonfly appears most years, and here is the first one we have spotted hanging on a blackberry stem up in a sunny hedge.
A female Migrant Hawker Dragonfly perched in a hedge. The yellow 'T' shape behind the wings helps in identification when perched, and the atypically long pair of 'anal appendages' help here and when in flight.
This Ermine Moth is perched a wooden posts. All of the Ermine Moths are beautiful creatures.
We expected this to be a Spindle Ermine Moth that invaded the Spindle trees and hedge several weeks ago, but the ID book assures us that it is most likely a Willow Ermine Moth, or maybe an Apple Ermine moth.
Rounding the side of the house on our way out for a walk reveals this female Kestrel on top of the 'phone pole across the track. She didn't immediately fly off, so we assume that this is the tolerant 'Grey Feather' who mostly ignores us. We waited patiently, and after a few minutes she flew off anyway. Here is the launch.
Here is the middle image in more detail.
A few minutes later we discovered where she had gone - round our SW corner and onto the top of the wooden mains power pole in the south hedge. She was enjoying a major preen of her beautiful feathers.
After the two-day heat-wave the weather quickly cooled overnight. To our surprise this female Kestrel arrived on the meadow post shortly after sunrise with some sort of Rodent in her beak - we guess a vole or Shrew. One minute later the Rodent was almost entirely inside the bird.
At the meadow post each camera trigger generates 2 images - the first with the flash firing, and the second in natural light. At night the second frame is black, but here in very poor light it is possible to extract a poorly balanced image in which the rodent can be seen more clearly than in the high contrast flash images.
A juvenile Great Tit makes the most of the comparative cool of the morning, and the shade of the hedge, to root out some small seeds to eat.
This was at 8 a.m. on the first day of the heat-wave - the morning was already pleasantly warm - a portent of the events to come. Many of the normally mid-day visitors were already out making the most of this atypical weather. Here a Peacock Butterfly has the proboscis in a flower hidden by the one closest to the camera.
A more 'classical' view of the Peacock Butterfly.
A honey Bee working their way around a Teasel Flower head. They will often go round several times at different heights.
This pristine Gatekeeper Butterfly is 'tucking into' a Blackberry flower. The temperature then quickly rose as the hot south wind supplemented the hot sun. By mid-day the skies and flowers were deserted in favour of finding a shady spot and staying there!
Mid-morning the day before the heat-wave this Red Kite gave us a couple of minutes of delight as they glided and powered their way around us.
The circles birds make are far too big to show in any detail so we have turned this flight into a design.
The Red Kite finished with a flight low overhead - giving us a prey's eye view.
The first Migrant Hawker Dragonfly we have spotted this year, this one a female just becoming mature, here 'caught' in flight.
A female Common Blue Damselfly in the so called 'Drab' or 'Common' form.
This female Common Blue damselfly 'Blue' form is the most common here. She is perched on a Dead Clover flower usefully providing scale. She has yet to develop the full blue colour.
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