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31 May 2023

At this time there was no Moorhen nest visible at the Duck Pond, but this Moorhen sure considers it 'his' and will see off anything short of a 'Parliament' of Rooks.

Ref: BU8_20230417_1720_076 Moorhen leaving Duck Pond to chase away Mallard Duck Pair.jpg

A Grey Squirrel gets the same treatment!

Ref: BU8_20230418_1611_187+188+1612_189 Moorhen chasing away Grey Squirrel at Duck Pond 1-3 of 3 (approx montage).jpg

This Moorhen just won't tolerate birds on the banks of HIS pond! Here he tackles two male Mallard Ducks. We have also seen him attack 4 Rooks, but 9 Rooks was a challenge too far!

Ref: BU8_20230421_0929_169 Moorhen chases away 2 Mallard Duck males from grass by Duck Pond.jpg

30 May 2023

After many months Roe Deer have returned to grace our little site. First a Trail-cam sees this female Roe Deer at the end of the orchard.

Ref: BU9_20230416_2209_007_SC2 Roe Deer female at end of Orchard 1 of 2 (crop).jpg

The inevitable male appears at the Round Pond only half-an-hour later. This male's antlers are still 'in-velvet' - covered in skin and fur.
According the various web sites Roe Deer don't Rut until mid-July.

Ref: BU5_20230416_2239_035_SC1 Roe Deer at Round Pond 2 of 3 (crop).jpg

3 days later we see this male Roe Deer walking past the Duck Pond. This one's antlers have shed their velvet to expose the special bone they are made of. It seems likely that the same Deer has shed his velvet in the intervening 3 days.

Ref: BU8_20230419_0735_208-210 Roe Deer male walking past Duck Pond 1-3 of 3 (accurate montage).jpg

Presumably the same individual Roe Deer 2 hours later at the Round pond shows his fur has sustained several patches of damage.

Ref: BU5_20230419_0956_249_SC1 Roe Deer male at Round Pond 3 of 3 (crop).jpg

29 May 2023

One of the at least 3 Moorhen around the site digs around in the eroded clay washed out around the hedge-bottom stone.

Ref: E63_20230416_1726_018_FB1 Moorhen (Line-beak) reaching down by stone.jpg

28 May 2023

One of the at least 3 Moorhens now frequenting the plot. The feet are partially hidden by the eroded soil around the stone.

Ref: E63_20230411_1442_200_FB1 Moorhen (Line-beak) at hedge bottom.jpg

Our brave little Moorhen may see off single Squirrels and the like, but it seems that 13 Corvids (mostly Rooks) is better watched from the distance of the middle of the pond.

Ref: BU8_20230413_1533_058 13 Corvids feeding by Duck Pond watched by Moorhen.jpg

27 May 2023

A heavy rain removed any of the blossom petals that we 'thinking' about falling, leaving this intricate pattern of stamens and large water drops supported but also misshapen by the stamens within.

Ref: D72_20230415_0920_010 Blackthorn Blossom after rain has removed most of the petals (crop 1).jpg

A detail from the above, complete with magnified stamens and an inverted image of the world behind in the water drop at the bottom.

Ref: D72_20230415_0920_010 Blackthorn Blossom after rain has removed most of the petals (crop 2).jpg

26 May 2023

A pristine male Chaffinch in full breeding colours, including the blue coating over his beak. No sign yet of Bumblefoot on his legs or feet so probably a first-year breeder.

Ref: E6C_20230408_1216_037_FB4 Chaffinch male in breeding condition.jpg

7 a.m. sees the arrival of a start-of-life Dunnock at the hedge bottom. The 15 April is really early to see a fledged small bird.

Ref: E63_20230415_0703_110_FB1 Dunnock youngster at hedge bottom.jpg

4 hours later, with no knowledge of the photo taken at the hedge bottom 100 metres away, We see that Young Dunnock doing some very wobbly attempts at flight at the top of the hedge along the south end of the access track.

Ref: D72_20230415_1043_024 Dunnock fledgeling struggling to fly in top of hedge.jpg

25 May 2023

It surprising how often these automatic camera catch a male Reeves' Muntjac deer rubbing his 'forehead' on the grass or other soft vegetation.

Ref: BU7_20230413_1858_018 Muntjac Reeves Deer male rubbing top of head on grass.jpg

3 days later it is the Humans that spot a male Reeves' Muntjac Deer partly hidden behind a huge overgrown ant's nest.

Ref: DF3_20230416_1418_065 Muntjac Reeves Deer male hiding behind overgrown ant-hill.jpg

He didn't seem particularly phased by the humans, but kept foliage between him and us. Here we see his impressive tongue doing 'wet-wipe' duty.

Ref: DF3_20230416_1418_068 Muntjac Reeves Deer male licking muzzle.jpg

24 May 2023

The cameraman arrives near the pond to find a male Mallard Duck quietly floating on the water. A handful of seconds as the photographer aims and focusses before the bird decides on a prompt departure - 'Discretion is the better part of Valour' - the ducks here are not 'tame' like you find at the local park. The camera was too zoomed in (and the cameraman too surprised) to catch the bird in their vertical rise, but the water does make an interesting 'frozen in action' including an airborne swirl at the right edge.

Ref: DF3_20230413_1524_016+017 Mallard Duck male vertical take-off from Main Pond 1+2 of 3 (montage).jpg

Togetherness, Mallard Duck style.

Ref: E6A_20230413_1758_076_FB5 Mallard Duck pair at Meadow site.jpg

23 May 2023

As Dawn arrives this Hare spent 7 minutes making the 3 metres journey across the path toward the east hedge gap. What animals find in this, to us barren, bit of ground we just don't know, but an awful lot of creatures pause here to feed.

Ref: BUA_20230413_0554_105+0557_106+107+0602_110_SC8 Hare spends 7 minutes working toward East hedge gap (impression montage).jpg

22 May 2023

This Heron flies by at about tree-stop height. Here 3 moments illustrate the passage.

Ref: DF3_20230411_1237_019+033+036 Heron flying overhead (montage from exposure bracketing sequence).jpg

A closer look at the Heron as it flew almost overhead.

Ref: DF3_20230411_1237_028 Heron flying overhead.jpg

21 May 2023

A Jackdaw caught a little earlier in the landing sequence than normal.

Ref: D01_20230410_1238_056_FB6 Jackdaw aerobraking to land on Meadow Post.jpg

A Jackdaw making a head-on landing on the Meadow Post.

Ref: D01_20230413_0733_003_FB6 Jackdaw landing on Meadow Post backlit.jpg

A Rook showing an attractive 'fan' of feathers as they close their wings.

Ref: D01_20230410_1557_072_FB6 Rook landing on meadow post already folding wings.jpg

20 May 2023

An unexpected moment at the hedge bottom where these two Fieldmice (Wood Mice) suddenly appeared. The soil around the stone has been washed away, and food collects at the bottom of the now sunken stone.
We expect that the Tawny Owl may soon find this bonanza.

Ref: E63_20230407_2051_191_FB1 2 Fieldmice (Wood Mice) at hedge bottom (adjusted crop 2).jpg

In one night the Meadow Post sees 3 Tawny Owl visits spread over 4 hours. The bird probably spent the whole night feeding from the variety of posts and branches around the meadow.
Tawny Owls are known to prefer Voles to Mice, but anything that squeaks seems to be fair game

Ref: D01_20230408_2335_125-20230409_0358_133_FB6 Tawny Owl makes 3 visits to Meadow Post over 4 hours 1-3+5 of 5 (montage).jpg

19 May 2023

We didn't even know Bee-flies existed until we started seeing them here. This one is resting on one of last years fallen Oak Leaves. The proboscis at the front is clearly visible, and the structure of the wings is best seen in the shadow cast by the left wing.

Ref: DF3_20230403_1549_145 Bee-fly resting on fallen Oak leaf (1st of 2013).jpg

Bee-flies don't stay around for long, so we tend to photograph them whenever we see one. The water drops on the tips of two grass stems are as yet un-dried dew.

Ref: DF3_20230407_1033_120 Bee-fly resting on ground level leaf with natural water drops on grass tips.jpg

This Bee-fly is feeding by hovering in front of a blackthorn flower. The 'sharp' wing is just changing the direction of movement - the rest of the 20 or so pics of this moment have wings a blurry mess even at 1/1000th second exposure.

Ref: DF3_20230408_1247_170 Bee-fly hovering to feed on Blackthorn blossom (crop).jpg

Finally a Bee-fly on a nettle. Some patches of sheltered nettle just didn't die back in the frosts this year, giving it a head-start this year.

Ref: DF3_20230408_1252_187 Bee-fly resting on Nettle leaf.jpg

18 May 2023

The Trail-cam along the access track caught this moment as one Fox quietly nuzzles another that is sitting on the track facing north. The arriving Fox (left) is a bit smaller than the sitting Fox. Nine minutes later we see the smaller Fox lying on the track facing south, as one of the Reeves' Muntjac Deer stops a few metres away. Our assumption is that this is a juvenile Fox that one of their parents is showing around the area.

Ref: BU3_20230407_0113_033+0122_036_SC6 2 Foxes together on concrete track 9m later just one watches Muntjac Deer (montage).JPG

Four hours later a Fox passes the camera at the East hedge gap carrying what appears to a Pigeon in the mouth.

Ref: BUA_20230407_0525_160_SC8 Fox trotting towards east hedge gap with Pigeon (q) in mouth.jpg

The same day (next night) as we see the Fox with a Pigeon near the east hedge gap, a Fox here carries what looks like a Rabbit past Duck Pond - probably also making for an exit to the east. There are 3 such, only the 'busiest' has a camera.
We judge 'busiest' by the depth of the track in the grass outside worn by the endless feet.

Ref: BU8_20230407_1957_193-195 Fox walks past Duck Pond with Rabbit in mouth 1-3 of 3 (accurate montage).jpg

17 May 2023

A Peacock Butterfly lands on a patch of bare mud. Butterflies need water and minerals, and find it where they may.

Ref: DF3_20230406_1326_004 Peacock Butterfly on mud.jpg

The more usual place to find a Peacock Butterfly is feeding on Blossom. Unlike the bird-pecked individual above, this one is hardly damaged.

Ref: DF3_20230408_1257_195 Peacock Butterfly on blossom.jpg

First sighting this year of a Comma Butterfly, out from Hibernation to start a new generation this year. This individual is in remarkably good condition after spending 6 months 'asleep'.

Ref: DF3_20230408_1247_169 Comma Butterfly on Blackthorn blossom (1st of 2023).jpg

16 May 2023

On the patch of grass near the south hedge gap is this exquisite Hare.

Ref: BU7_20230406_1925_026 Hare near south hedge gap.jpg

Sharing the same patch of grass as the Hare, an easily recognisable Rabbit is this 'three-eared' individual. Now fully healed, and not apparently a problem, we can only assume a tear from the barbed wire surround some of the fields.

Ref: BU7_20230406_1237_009 Rabbit (Three Ears) near South hedge gap.jpg

The twee-est pic of the week - Baby Bunny eating the weeds in the vegetable bed. The soil is so sodden that we don't want to compact it by walking on it. Cultivation is currently along one edge accessible from the already ruined grass. Everything we grow gets covered in bits of old dishwasher baskets to keep off this Rabbits, Squirrels, and more recently Reeves' Muntjac Deer.

Ref: DF3_20230325_1449_006 Rabbit youngster in salad bed.jpg

15 May 2023

A Rook high in a straggly Conifer launches itself by basically falling off the top while stretching out the wings.
An 'impression' - don't read too much into the timing or exact positions.

Ref: DF3_20230403_1247_118+121+122 Rook launching downwards from top of conifer (impression montage).jpg

We had assumed that this bit of broken branch was being moved around by Squirrels, but it seems that Rooks may be the main 'culprit'.
The wood is now desiccated, and not as heavy as you might expect.

Ref: E64_20230407_0755_047_FB2 Rook flipping over piece of broken branch at woodland site.jpg

14 May 2023

What the Grey Squirrel wants this short thick stick for only the Squirrel really knows.
Perhaps the Drey is suffering from subsidence - like our old House :-(

Ref: E6A_20230401_1415_192_FB5 Grey Squirrel carrying short stick over Meadow site.jpg

A month later this Squirrel is showing the same behaviour, this time with the stick from a Vegan Choc-ice.

Ref: E6A_20230508_1249_035_FB5 Grey Squirrel runs off with stick from Vegan Choc-ice.jpg

"Get out of MY patch!"

Ref: E63_20230407_1043_138_FB1 Grey Squirrel leaping towards intruder out of frame.jpg

"Aren't I a stunner?

Ref: E63_20230409_1550_314_FB1 Grey Squirrel at hedge bottom.jpg

13 May 2023

Male Reeves' Muntjac Deer have made several visits to the various sites. Here is one of the visits, walking quietly along the edge of Round Pond.

Ref: BU5_20230330_1539_046-048_SC1 Muntjac Reeves Deer male walks along edge of Round Pond (montage).jpg

This male Reeves' Muntjac Deer saw us perhaps 50 metres away while browsing the grass along the field margin to our south. Over several minutes, as we watched each other, he wanders left to the edge of the wheat crop, takes a bite, but obviously is not impressed and quietly walked back to the grass by the hedge.

Ref: DF3_20230408_1735_244 Muntjac Reeves Deer male browser margin grass tries Wheat crop but prefers the grass.jpg

12 May 2023

Blackthorn Blossom is wonderfully delicate. Blackthorn blossoms before the appearance of any leaves, while Hawthorn leafs before flower appear.

Ref: DF3_20230403_1246_111 Blackthorn blossom detail.jpg

We planted Daffodils in around 1992, in swirling patterns. But the patterns soon broke up into now perhaps 50 clumps over the whole site.
They really bring some 'Zing to Spring'.

Ref: DF3_20230403_1554_155 Daffodil clump reflected in Round Pond.jpg

Soil wells up through the cracks in the disused part of the old farm track, and this patch of wild violets are thriving nicely in the mud. Plant life (and undoubtedly insects we never see) take advantage of all of these patches of unmanaged soil.

Ref: DF3_20230322_1314_060 wild violets in soil over crack in disused farm track.jpg

11 May 2023

In one of the 5 nests on a single Black Poplar tree along the access track we first spot the tail of the bird incubating the eggs. Their mate arrives, the sitting bird leaves the nest and starts chivvying the arrived bird before flying off. The new arrival spends a few seconds on the branch before giving into the inevitable, and taking their place on the nest.
We suspect that Rooks must have a way of saying "OK - I'll get on the nest in a minute - off you go".
Why some humans expect creatures to understand English or some other of the thousands of Human languages when Humans can't even work out what a Rook has to say, is beyond us.

Ref: DF3_20230324_1102_045-069 Rooks changing incubation duties with some reluctance 1+3+4+6 of 6 (montage).jpg

A week later Rook nesting change-overs continue to be slightly fractious affairs!

Ref: DF3_20230403_1106_078 Rook pair changing nest incubation duties.jpg

A pair of Rooks at the Meadow site.
We have no idea what is going on.

Ref: E6A_20230404_1757_128_FB5 2 Rooks at Meadow site.jpg

10 May 2023

This Long-tailed Tit spent some minutes moving through the branches with what looks like two feathers already held in the beak.

Ref: DF5_20230401_1009_056+057+061 Long-tail Tit collecting feathers for nest 01-03 of 20 (impression montage).jpg

Ref: DF5_20230401_1010_087 Long-tail Tit collecting feathers for nest 13 of 20 (crop).jpg

09 May 2023

One of the resident Moorhen stepping over the branch at the Woodland site.

Ref: E64_20230331_1732_186_FB2 Moorhen.jpg

2 Moorhen sharing the Woodland site.
We are sure that they must be nesting somewhere - we can't find the nest and hope that predators can't either.

Ref: E64_20230404_0625_048_FB2 2 Moorhen at Woodland site (single frame).jpg

One of the Moorhens takes a rather well 'posed' selfie at the hedge bottom. Note how the toes are a compromise for walking on land, walking on floating vegetation, and just plain swimming.

Ref: E63_20230405_1023_176_FB1 Moorhen at Hedge bottom.jpg

Male Pheasant (Goliath) vs. Moorhen (David).
It seems that the Moorhen wins.

Ref: BU8_20230405_1443_248+249 Moorhen chases away Pheasant male (montage).jpg

08 May 2023

This Tawny Owl spends a few minutes on the Meadow post.

Ref: D01_20230330_0355_031+0140_029_FB6 Tawny Owl visits to Meadow Post lasting a few minutes (montage).jpg

Without any other Owl sightings this night around the site, this Tawny Owl stops off near the ditch by the south hedge gap.
Right at the bottom of the camera frame as ever :-(

Ref: BU7_20230404_2048_032+031 Tawny Owl near South hedge gap 2+1 of 3 (spread montage).jpg

07 May 2023

Circumnavigating our patch takes us by the Round Pond which is showing several unexplained ripples. They turn out to be moths trapped in the water's surface tension, making remarkably deep ripples for such a small insect's struggle. So some fallen branches provides us with the tools to 'fish' them out and leave them to dry out.

Ref: DF3_20230327_1054_084 Moth (Poss Powdered Quaker) - 1 of several trapped in water surface & ripples from struggle to escape.jpg

An hour later there were some more to rescue - here we are caught in action by the trail-cam that 'watches' the pond.

Ref: BU5_20230327_1145_103_SC1 Roy & Marie Rescuing more Moths trapped in water surface.jpg

Here is one of the rescued Moths - we think a Powdered Quaker - looking lovely on the richly coloured end of his rescue stick.

Ref: DF3_20230327_1145_097 Moth (poss Powdered Quaker) rescued from pond surface (crop).jpg

06 May 2023

What does this midnight Fox detect that we can't see in the daylight? Original (reduced) untouched frame.

Ref: BU5_20230327_0027_073_SC1 Fox completely still at edge of Round Pond (orig).jpg

A lightly cropped version of the above presented as a negative.
It seems weirdly 'natural' as if a backlit misty morning.

Ref: BU5_20230327_0027_074_SC1 Fox completely still at edge of Round Pond (crop as negative).jpg

05 May 2023

A Rook lands on an 11kV cable.

Ref: DF3_20230327_1047_066-071 Rook lands on 11kV cable @7fps 1+2+4-6 (spread montage).jpg

We don't feel very welcome as we walk under the tree containing 5 Rook nests. He is one of the objectors to those interfering humans - even through we couldn't possible reach the nests to do any harm.

Ref: DF3_20230327_1046_012 Rook calling repeatedly in Black Poplar Tree.jpg

It's not unusual to see a Corvids (Crow, Jackdaw etc.) in the distance, usually in the general direction of the sun, looking so bright that you momentarily think it must be an Egret of other white bird. Its just the sun glistening off the shiny feathers, and here you see the effect as sunlight catches the far wing of this flying Rook

Ref: DF3_20230327_1047_055 Rook in low level flight catching sun reflections (crop without contrast adjustment).jpg

04 May 2023

The Tawny Owl(s) continue regular visits. On this night there were two visits to the Meadow Post post an 00:54a.m and 5:50a.m., neither having obviously had a successful hunt. What was the Owl doing meanwhile?

Ref: D01_20230328_0052_109+0550_119+120_FB6 Tawny Owl makes 2 visits to Meadow post 1+3+4 of 5 (montage).jpg

Here at the Hedge Bottom 15 minutes after the first visit to the Meadow Post, but out of sight from the post, we see another Tawny Owl attack - target unknown.

Ref: E63_20230328_0108_149_FB1 Tawny Owl attacking at hedge bottom (crop).jpg

Another 15 minutes pass and then another attack. This time the Owl seems to have picked a slug on the stone. Like many genuine images of hunting animals there is nothing majestic about the attack - more a hungry pounce into the mud.

Ref: E63_20230328_0125_150_FB1 Tawny Owl attacking slug (q) at hedge bottom (crop).jpg

03 May 2023

Crossing the flooded ditch - Reeves' Muntjac Deer style - leap over.

Ref: BU7_20230327_2200_100-102 Muntjac Reeves Deer female at South hedge leaps over flooded ditch 1-3 of 3 (accurate montage).jpg

Crossing the flooded Ditch - Badger Style - go another way!

Ref: BU7_20230326_2342_046-048 Badger at south hedge gap finds ditch is flooded & detours 1-3 of 3 (montage over a few secs).jpg

Crossing the flooded ditch - Badger Style - just get wet!

Ref: BU7_20230327_2221_106 Badger walks through flooded ditch.jpg

02 May 2023

A Fox walk past the meadow site with what looks like a young Rabbit clamped in their jaws.

Ref: E64_20230326_2311_103_FB2 Fox carrying Rabbit (q) in mouth past Woodland Site (crop 1).jpg

More detail of the victim.

Ref: E64_20230326_2311_103_FB2 Fox carrying Rabbit (q) in mouth past Woodland Site (crop 2 - head and prey detail).jpg

Next night what is probably the same Fox appears with a different sort of prey. It's too black for a Rabbit we assume a bird about the size of a Jackdaw grabbed by this opportunist hunter. The insert shows the return journey only 2 minutes later.

Ref: BU2_20230328_0234_295+296+298_SC7 Fox on Round Mound carrying prey returns 2 minutes later 1-3 of 3 (acc montage + insert).jpg

01 May 2023

This Squirrel has bitten off a bit of twig with some catkins, and has brought it to the Kitchen bird table to strip off the yummy bits.

Ref: E60_20230325_1534_008_FB3 Grey Squirrel with leafing willow tig in mouth on Kitchen Birdtable.jpg

2 days later, and about 15 metres (50ft) up this even taller willow tree, we see this Grey Squirrel clambering about to bite off another choice twig, which the squirrel then runs down the tree to eat in a safer/more convenient place.

Ref: DF3_20230327_1741_105+106+108 Grey Squirrel bites off Catkin twig in willow tree 15m up (vertically spread montage).jpg



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