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Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day
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.
A Grey Squirrel gets the same treatment!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Presumably the same individual Roe Deer 2 hours later at the Round pond shows his fur has sustained several patches of damage.
One of the at least 3 Moorhen around the site digs around in the eroded clay washed out around the hedge-bottom stone.
One of the at least 3 Moorhens now frequenting the plot. The feet are partially hidden by the eroded soil around the stone.
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.
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.
A detail from the above, complete with magnified stamens and an inverted image of the world behind in the water drop at the bottom.
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.
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.
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.
It surprising how often these automatic camera catch a male Reeves' Muntjac deer rubbing his 'forehead' on the grass or other soft vegetation.
3 days later it is the Humans that spot a male Reeves' Muntjac Deer partly hidden behind a huge overgrown ant's nest.
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.
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.
Togetherness, Mallard Duck style.
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.
This Heron flies by at about tree-stop height. Here 3 moments illustrate the passage.
A closer look at the Heron as it flew almost overhead.
A Jackdaw caught a little earlier in the landing sequence than normal.
A Jackdaw making a head-on landing on the Meadow Post.
A Rook showing an attractive 'fan' of feathers as they close their wings.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Four hours later a Fox passes the camera at the East hedge gap carrying what appears to a Pigeon in the mouth.
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
We judge 'busiest' by the depth of the track in the grass outside worn by the endless feet.
A Peacock Butterfly lands on a patch of bare mud. Butterflies need water and minerals, and find it where they may.
The more usual place to find a Peacock Butterfly is feeding on Blossom. Unlike the bird-pecked individual above, this one is hardly damaged.
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'.
On the patch of grass near the south hedge gap is this exquisite Hare.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :-(
A month later this Squirrel is showing the same behaviour, this time with the stick from a Vegan Choc-ice.
"Get out of MY patch!"
"Aren't I a stunner?
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.
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.
Blackthorn Blossom is wonderfully delicate. Blackthorn blossoms before the appearance of any leaves, while Hawthorn leafs before flower appear.
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'.
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.
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.
A week later Rook nesting change-overs continue to be slightly fractious affairs!
A pair of Rooks at the Meadow site.
We have no idea what is going on.
This Long-tailed Tit spent some minutes moving through the branches with what looks like two feathers already held in the beak.
One of the resident Moorhen stepping over the branch at the Woodland site.
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.
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.
Male Pheasant (Goliath) vs. Moorhen (David).
It seems that the Moorhen wins.
This Tawny Owl spends a few minutes on the Meadow post.
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 :-(
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.
An hour later there were some more to rescue - here we are caught in action by the trail-cam that 'watches' the pond.
Here is one of the rescued Moths - we think a Powdered Quaker - looking lovely on the richly coloured end of his rescue stick.
What does this midnight Fox detect that we can't see in the daylight? Original (reduced) untouched frame.
A lightly cropped version of the above presented as a negative.
It seems weirdly 'natural' as if a backlit misty morning.
A Rook lands on an 11kV cable.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
Crossing the flooded ditch - Reeves' Muntjac Deer style - leap over.
Crossing the flooded Ditch - Badger Style - go another way!
Crossing the flooded ditch - Badger Style - just get wet!
A Fox walk past the meadow site with what looks like a young Rabbit clamped in their jaws.
More detail of the victim.
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.
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.
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.
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