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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
This male Roe Deer makes a majestic entry at the south hedge gap.
We are not impressed by his 'choice' of necklace.
Breakfast was enhanced on this morning by the male Reeves' Muntjac Deer having his 'breakfast' along the edge of the main pond viewed from the kitchen.
At a different scale, work in the vegetable bed came to an instant halt on discovering this Toad under a weed. We released it onto the bank of Duck pond. It could have stayed in the long grass, but chose to dive into the water.
The highly photogenic Fox Cubs photographed themselves at least 30 times over 4 days. Here is an assortment
A montage - whether the same or different cubs is hard to judge.
Foxes following an adult suggests that this is the 'new' fox family. Mum or Dad has entered through the hedge gap showing 3 pairs of glowing eyes. After crossing the ditch the adult stopped along with one of the cubs, while another Cub goes dashing off to the right.
This montage of Fox cub visits in evening light (18:15 - left) and early night time (22:20 - right) gives us a good look at the Foxes Iris changing to suit the lighting - vertical slit while light and wide open circle in the dark
Dock plants (to most people just weeds!) don't get much appreciation.
Their thin flower spikes include hundreds of tiny florets
The Oxeye Daisies are starting to flower, and along come a few insects to feast.
What appears to be a Bee is in fact a hoverfly - an Eristalis.
Oxeye daisy flowers are actually a multiple flower head - the yellow section containing hundred of tiny flowers, while the white petals are another form of flower, the whole assembly making a visually attractive magnet for insects.
This appears to be a Greenbottle enjoying a similar Oxeye Daisy flower.
A new insect for us, lurking on a twig, is a 1.5 cm (half inch) Wasp Beetle. It is a Wasp Mimic as a form of defence.
The Spindle Ermine Moth infestation this year is not as bad as last year (we estimate about 30% of last years) , but some of the trees are very badly smothered.
Illustrating the damage Spindle Ermine Moths do, here is a silky bagful of soon to leave caterpillar along with half a leaf completely stripped.
A family (of we guess 8) of the usually reticent Long-tailed Tits spent several minutes feeding in the Willow trees at the back of the Duck Pond while we stood still at the front. The fast moving little birds. and all those willow leaves and twigs, made it difficult to get a decent pic, but here are a couple of this delightful little bird. Both of these are 'new' this Spring. The red rim of the eye is normal.
The female Chaffinch has an unfortunate Crane-fly in her beak.
We have thousands of crane-flies - almost anywhere you look you can find one.
We have not seen much of Blackbirds, so its nice to see this male in apparently good condition.
A female common Blue Damselfly perched in hazy sunshine.
A female Broad-bodied chaser in the evening sunlight gave us a few minutes to enjoy her - albeit some 4 metres away over impenetrable brambles. The male has similar body form but the body is powder (literally) blue.
Fox Cub(s) over midnight. Their fur is now turning into the classic Foxy Red and their faces taking on the fiercer more pointed look of the adult fox. Taken 20 minutes apart the different tints of the fur suggest that this is two individuals.
These two Fox Cub visits are 4 hours apart over midnight.
Another Fox cub learning his craft - we wouldn't want to be at the end of that stare.
A glimpse of a brown shape at the back of the pond induces a stampede to an
upper floor window to see this adult fox stalking the back margin of the pond.
We didn't see him catch anything, but he was out of sight before and after these
moments, so may have.
A new Fox family with obviously younger cubs has been glimpsed around the sites - this adult may be from either family.
The outside of the East hedge smothered in Burnet Rose flowers. Downwind of this patch is like walking into a perfume shop!
A Burnet Rose flower with petals fallen make an interesting abstract shape. The stamens are shadowed on the leaf to it's right.
This Moorhen (Vee-beak) is one of the Moorhen we think may have a nest on Round Pond island. Here they are caught in a rather awkward looking twist one way while looking the other way.
Next early morning the same Moorhen has caught and is carrying a worm for a chick. If the Moorhen was going to eat it themselves it would have gone 'straight-down-the-hatch'
A few of this years first brood of Moorhen chicks are occasionally spotted at the back of Round pond where is a gently shelving mudbank. The little chick makes ripples in the water.
A few of this years first brood of Moorhen chicks are occasionally spotted at the back of Round pond where is a gently shelving mudbank. Keeping still in the mud allows the still water to catch their reflection.
We lost track of the Moorhen family after the second adult joined in to help the single parent. Here see one adult followed by 5 chicks of about the right age.
The 'replacement' adult was feeding 3 of the 8 chicks a week ago, so it is possible that there are still all extant and that this is the second group.
The occasional sighting of a distant Chinese Water Deer is here supplemented by this male visiting Round Pond.
A third male Roe Deer has appeared, and doesn't he look majestic.
Green Woodpeckers are back to frequenting the Meadow Post. This beautiful male lands on the side - tail acting as a third landing 'leg'.
Here a female Green Woodpecker pays an evening visit. If they are nesting here we don't know where, but do hope for the 'patter of tiny claws' in the fullness of time.
Another 'sweet' little Fox Cub - learning how to kill to survive.
Many hours later this Fox Cub heads for the South hedge gap with a sizeable looking prey item in the obviously not-so-tiny mouth.
It hasn't rained here since the coronation (3 weeks), but this Fox's fur is sodden. No-mow May means that even the grass paths become dew-drenched each morning.
Concluding the 4 day Saga of the Roe Deer
Here is the second half of his final run across the Farm Road.
A detail from the above
The male Roe Deer stuck his head above the crop for a last look - perhaps to check that we were not chasing him, and he then 'disappeared'.
Day 3 of the 4 day Saga of the Roe Deer
Having taken a few steps toward us the male Roe Deer obviously decided that discretion was better than valour, and streaked back to the farm crop to disappear within. This is the odd-numbered frames at 7 fps, except for skipping one frame as he slowed.
Here are bits of the montage in shorter sections (for more detail) and some stills from the even numbered frames.
Day 2 of the 4 day Saga of the Roe Deer
Undeniable evidence: Caught speeding!
Instead on continuing into the crop, the Male Roe Deer stopped and stared at us as if he didn't know what to do.
To our surprise he decides to cross back over the Farm Road, before another session staring at us.
Even more surprising was that he then started to walk tentatively towards us.
Here starts the 4 day Saga of the Roe Deer on Sunday 28 May.
A quiet day sandwiched in before a UK bank holiday, so very little traffic or other disturbances. Here at about 05:30 (early morning) the trail cam catches a glimpse of a pair (not a montage) of Roe Deer browsing on the long grass inside our patch
An 8 a.m. walk around the perimeter of our 2 acre 'paradise' surprised us with seeing the female Roe Deer leap into the crop. Never spotted again & no photo. But the male appears right by our east hedge (left here) and to set off in the same direction as the female into the crop over the Farm Road on the right.
First having to cross the concrete Farm Road.
More detail of the image on the left. When we see such pics we are always amazed that Roe Deer don't get their legs tangled up.
This male Muntjac Deer stops in front of the trail cam for a groom. His new Antlers are growing apace.
Five minutes after his groom, we catch the male and female Reeves' Muntjac Deer aligned in a way your couldn't get even if you planned for it. The female is nearest the camera.
After a few minutes circling in a weak thermal the Red Kite started to depart.
But the Rooks started to take exception to Kites presence. Most of these in-air
pursuits are more 'threat' than substance, but on this occasion (the first time
close enough to us to see, let alone photograph) the Rook managed to grab one of
the tail feathers of the Red Kite who really obviously took exception and twisted
round to see off the annoyance with his fearsome claws.
We don't have anything static to accurately align the images, so the pairs of bird images are arranged mainly for clarity and to fit them into a single image by horizontal overlapping. We have all 14 original frames should anybody be interested.
This image (5 of 14) would fit between the second and third pair of birds in the montage.
A few minutes earlier the Kite glided by perhaps 50 metres away, underside lit by the morning sun.
Here undisturbed by the 'pesky' Rooks, we see a few moments of powered flapping flight.
Our now (and hopefully continuing) annual appearance of Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies (the common name of the species) is underway. Their usual appearance on the sunny side of the inner hedge near the South east corner is this year limited to just a couple of insects, but they are also appearing at various sunny patches on warm days.
Perched Demoiselle Damselflies normally perch with all four wings aligned to produce a rather dark effect. This female Beautiful was repeatedly flicking her wings providing an opportunity to appreciate the subtle colour of mixed overlaps.
In this montage we see male (top) and female Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies. This is a montage of the two about half a metre apart on the same bush.
Installing utility poles in the centre of hedges is great for avoiding them
cluttering up agricultural fields where they slow down the seemingly endless
series of sprays, but as you see here the tractor flails can't cut right up to
Don't despise tractor flails - they are the only practical method of hedge management open to farmers - a flailed hedge is a lot better than no hedge. Even a previous eco-friendly owner of the Farm was going to get the hedges hand laid and cut, but it never happened.
To the north runs a 200 metres long Hawthorn hedge that apparently wasn't cut at the end of last year. Lovely!
The Hawthorn blossom has been really spectacular this year. This mass is growing over our east hedge from a few metres inside.
Over the pastures to the North west, the Buttercups are having a great time!
Some of the Fox Cubs seems to have become quite independent, and can be seen on their own at various sites. Some visit the high resolution sites despite the camera noise and flash.
As well as Fox cubs on there own, we also see single Cubs following one of Mum or Dad.
This sequence is a Fox cub on the crop margin along the north-south hedge to our south.
A Fox Cub apparently on his own at the Woodland site.
The 'ugly woodcrete' nestbox on main pond island is successfully housing a family of Blue Tits. The Blue Tits seem to tolerate us at the edge of the pond so we can snatch a few pics of the parents industrious activities. Here we see one of the parents with 2 green 'grubs' ready to be delivered to the box.
The entrance hole to the Blue Tit box is unintentionally smothered in Hazel tree leaves, and completely invisible from the house. There is only one viewpoint where we can snatch a pic of their doings from around the 'back' of the pond. Fortunately at about 8 metres away we don't seem to bother the busy birds in the slightest so we can get a little record of the events. First a an accurate montage of an adults arrival at 8 fps (about .125 Seconds between images)
The parents keep the nest (relatively) clean by taken away Fecal Sacs that the youngster produce.
The Next mouthfuls arrives
Red Campion is flowering in many locations. This pristine male Brimstone Butterfly makes the most of the nectar.
Another visitor to Red Campion is this Small White Butterfly.
This Green-veined White Butterfly is basking on a leaf.
At last we get to see a female Orange-tip Butterfly, here on the right of the male. They share the wonderful intricate green tracery on the underside of the wing.
In the 'flower' bed east of the conservatory the light catches this near perfect spider's web accented by fine dew. The circular strands seem very closely spaced, but when you see the size of the builder in the middle it more that the web is a huge construction for such a tiny creature.
Aquilegia are delightful flowers that insects adore. Although most samples are now cultivated, they are native in most of Europe.
We celebrate the return of Breeding Moorhens
Moorhen rarely return to their incubation nest, and instead build a series of 'Brood nests' to keep the youngsters dry and safe at night. Normally the 2 parents make different brood nest for their group of charges, but our single parent is just building one big one for the whole contingent.
Wanting to see what is going on, we set up a Camcorder to watch for a few hours. After about an hours adult came for a look at the kit, decided it was 'mostly harmless', and then proceeded to frantically collect morsels from the water surface. The chicks remained hidden in the Hop-sedge throughout.
This single bird made about dozen passages across the water in the remaining 20
minutes, sometimes avidly pecking at the water to pick up food items invisible
to the camera.
This is a cropped screen dump from the 4K image.
Here is a 10 second video of one pass collecting food - at the actual speed it happens:-
17 May 2023 Moorhen nest on Duck Pond - Adult hurridly collecting food for chicks (12MB)
Three days later we discover that a 'new' Moorhen has joined our single parent and
is helping with the brood. Both sexes know how to Brood and feed youngsters
(normally sharing the duties) and second broods are often assisted by juveniles
from the first brood, so a bird coming to help, and possibly hope for a second
brood in due course, is not particularly surprising.
Here is a 36 second video of one pass collecting food:-
20 May 2023 Moorhen nest on Duck pond - new adult joins feeding 36s.mp4 (64MB)
We celebrate the return of Breeding Moorhens
Next day we see the first 2 hatched chicks. Normal Moorhen behaviour is for incubation to start after the first 2 or 3 eggs and then continue, causing the first few chicks to appear on the same day, and the rest to follow piecemeal. 'Mum' normally takes the initial hatchlings off to start feeding making an overnight 'brood' nest, leaving the male to brood and raise the rest.
But it seems that this is now a 'one-parent' family, because all of the chicks stayed around the nest until all were hatched. We haven't recently seen two adults around at the same time. Both sexes (visually indistinguishable) can incubate, feed and defend their charges, so we don't know whether it was Mum or Dad that survived A litter of 4 Fox Cubs about 60 metres away could catch Hares, and may well have also taken one of the Moorhen.
Next day we see 5 little heads looking out of the nest.
Half an hour on one of them has decided that it is time to climb out of the nest to investigate 'water'.
All but one chick left the nest in the next two hours, leaving one plus
an egg. About the same time next day there is just one chick in the nest
and the egg has gone. The last to hatch gets known as the 'Runt'.
More tomorrow ...
We celebrate the return of Breeding Moorhens
This year Moorhen successfully nested on the 'Duck Pond'. The first hint of such activity was seeing the heightened aggression of the Moorhen towards any other creature near the water. Here we see one of the adults chasing away a Grey Squirrel.
The nest turned out to be built in a clump of badly anchored Hop Sedge - the dominant plant in the Duck-shaped Pond Here we see the nest with 4 eggs - probably 4 days in to clutch laying. The nest is tilting alarmingly away from this viewpoint with the extra weight on top. We expected an imminent collapse into the water, but a seeming endless supply of new nesting material was ferried in and kept the nest viable.
Another piece of vegetation arrived to build up the nest. At the top of the montage a Grey Squirrel decides on a quick exit.
14 Days after seeing the nest with 4 eggs, it now has 7 eggs visible
(we believe 8 altogether). The incubating bird always detects the humans
before we can see them, and quietly slides off into the water and 'vanishes'.
We only bother the bird long enough for a quick picture before leaving them
in peace for the day.
More tomorrow ...
These two Bee-flies spent about a minute perched on concrete near the house buzzing their wings like mad but going nowhere. Suddenly they flew off and we lost site of them. We have to assume that this is some sort of courtship ritual, but attempts to find more information on-line found only research papers from Australia which have an obviously different species with the same name.
First seen 4 days earlier (14 May 2023) as a single infested stem of a Spindle tree, we now see that this years infestation of Spindle Ermine Moth caterpillars has moved to several Spindle trees and the sunny side of the south hedge. The Caterpillars appear identical to last years.
The Green Shieldbugs are doing well this year.
Here is one on a damaged leaf showing some lovely colours at the damage.
What this inherited spiky leafed shrub is called we have never tried to find out!
Getting bolder every night here are three moments of Fox Cubs at the hedge bottom. The 'perfection of these young creatures means we can't even try to tell the 4 apart.
Just this one visit to the Meadow Site.
A selection of a dozen moments at the Woodland site.
That's Fox cubs visiting all three ground level high-resolution cameras.
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