Return to moorhen home page


Archived & Upcoming Images of the Day

29 Feb 2024

On this single night (5th to 6th Feb 2024) a check of the camera watching the Meadow Post reveals an amazingly 50 frames of continuous Tawny Owl covering the whole night. Here is a little assortment - they never brought any prey back to the post.


Ref: D01_20240205_1841_029-20240206_0458_077_FB6 Tawny Owl visits over 10 hours over one night 01+07+11+04 of 11 (montage).jpg

The three most obvious landings look so identical that we have grouped them up to see the tiny details of each landing


Ref: D01_20240205_1841_029+2057_051+20240206_0454_069_FB6 Tawny Owl visits over 10 hours over one night 01+05+09 of 11 (montage).jpg

In an apparently unrelated moment (we carefully checked the 50 frames and there were no pics an hour either side of this event) this Tawny Owl appears to have pounced on something at the Woodland site some 40 metres from the Meadow Post. As far as we can see the attack was unsuccessful - it is said 90% of predator attacks fail.


Ref: E64_20240205_2336_065_FB2 Tawny Owl pouncing at Woodland Site (crop).jpg

28 Feb 2024

The clarity of leaf detail is a little reminiscent of prints by the master of illusion M C Escher, but without the magical ambiguity.


Ref: DF3_20240203_1339_083 Round Pond reflection of trees in still water.jpg

The clarity of leaf detail is a little reminiscent of prints by the master of illusion M C Escher, but without the magical ambiguity.


Ref: DF3_20240203_1339_084 Round Pond reflection of trees in slight rippling water.jpg

27 Feb 2024

This is a rare glimpse of a Chinese Water Deer inside our patch. Notice the apparently ruffled fur behind the head.


Ref: BU2_20240203_1153_414_SC7 Chinese water deer at Round Mound 3 of 3 (crop).jpg

We have photos of Chinese Water Deer inside our patch only twice before and in each the deer had some damage to the fur on the top of the neck. But not as bad as we see here with a whole strip of skin exposed as well as other damage.
From the interesting site at    https://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/animals/article/water-deer-fur-moulting
we quote the following:-
  "It is not uncommon for water deer, particularly bucks, to be missing patches of fur,   particularly on the neck, flanks and rump, as a result of combat during the rut.   In some cases, they present with large areas of fur missing, such as this buck in   Buckinghamshire" ... (with picture on the referenced site) ... Credit: Marc Baldwin.
We are in Buckinghamshire as well, and here is our injured Deer by the Round Mound photographed by a trail cam.


Ref: BU2_20240203_1153_412_SC7 Chinese water deer at Round Mound (injury to Buck during Rut) 1 of 3 (crop).jpg

The apparently more placid Reeves' Muntjac Deer don't rut. This is a female, but the males are equipped with little Antlers and small 'Tusks' which are apparently used when fighting other males. But we have never seen any Muntjac with more than a few scratches.


Ref: E64_20240204_1332_284_FB2 Muntjac Reeves Deer female Browsing at Woodland site.jpg

26 Feb 2024

Female Kestrels are making regular visits to the Meadow Post as well as the high voltage cables and other perches where the bird sees us before we see them..


Ref: D01_20240202_1048_072+073+1052_081_FB6 Kestrel female 5+ minute visit to Meadow Post (montage @500mS &4m).jpg

This extended visit by a female Kestrel is entirely spent resting without particular attention to the surroundings, or, as here, having an extensive preen.


Ref: D01_20240202_1231_084-1233_088_FB6 Kestrel female 13+ minute visit to Meadow Post mainly to preen 01+03+04 of 10 (montage).jpg

Two and a half hours later this 4 minute visit is entirely more purposeful with intent staring down at the ground below in all directions.


Ref: D01_20240202_1506_121-1509_127_FB6 Kestrel female 4 minute visit to Meadow Post 4+3+5+1 of 5 (montage).jpg

2 days later this tail-spread landing is captured on the Meadow Post


Ref: D01_20240204_1122_174_FB6 Kestrel 4 minute visit to Meadow Post 2 of 3 (crop).jpg

25 Feb 2024

Rooks are really magnificent birds!


Ref: D01_20240201_1333_029_FB6 Rook landing on Meadow Post.jpg

7 minutes later what we assume is their mate comes to join them on the rather cramped (for two) top of the Meadow Post.


Ref: D01_20240201_1340_033+034_FB6 Rook flies in to land next to another already on Meadow Post (montage over 500mS).jpg

A serendipitous moment as this obviously paired Wood Pigeon lands to share the Kitchen Bird table and perch


Ref: E60_20240205_1102_007_FB3 Wood Pigeon lands next to another catching perched bird shadow (crop 1).jpg

A serendipitous moment as this obviously paired Wood Pigeon lands to share the Kitchen Bird table and perch


Ref: E60_20240205_1102_007_FB3 Wood Pigeon lands next to another catching perched bird shadow (crop 2).jpg

24 Feb 2024

Catching a view of this bracket Fungus in the 'Copse' (Copse is our name for a same species group of 19 trees we used in our original planting plan) we took this photo of a single Bracket Fungus growing from one of the 'less vigorous' trees.


Ref: DF3_20240131_1320_053 Bracket fungus on broken Silver Birch tree trunk about 150cm from ground - camera at west.jpg

Closer inspection makes 'less vigorous' seem more like 'probably dead' :-(
The tree has broken off at about 3.5 metres high, and the upper section is in 2 parts - the upper sloping section in this pic, and a piece originally between them about 1 metre long here propped up by us against the base of the lower trunk still in the ground, with a 70mm hole in the side. Its turns out it is upside down in the photo :-(


Ref: D71_20240201_1046_006 Silver birch trunk broken as 3 pieces with 1m section hollowed out by woodpecker 1 of 3.jpg

Here is the hole in the 1 metre section we find this interesting hole in the lower half. Visually aligning the broken pieces (without transporting a ladder to get to the top of the standing piece) suggests that the hole faced approximately north.


Ref: D71_20240201_1047_015 Silver birch trunk broken as 3 pieces with 1m section hollowed out by woodpecker 2 of 3.jpg

Inside the short section we find the trunk hollowed out to right up to the bark, suggesting that, unnoticed at the time, a Woodpecker chiselled out a nest hole in this inadequately sized tree. The tree then broke at the weakened section. It would seem the events are not recent - the white coating of Fungi inside the hole is quite thick. Yes - we have searched all of the other birches but can't find any other signs of hole nesting birds using them.


Ref: D71_20240201_1048_018 Silver birch trunk broken as 3 pieces with 1m section hollowed out by woodpecker 3 of 3.jpg

23 Feb 2024

Eyes fully dilated in the small hours of the morning, one of our visiting Foxes has eyes and ears focussed on 'something'.


Ref: E63_20240131_0326_502_FB1 Fox hunting at Hedge Bottom.jpg

A bit before midnight, the orchard trail cam catches these 3 images taken at a few second intervals. The approaching fox does not seem the least deterred by the open mouthed Fox in the foreground. Whether a Fight or affectionate encounter follows we will never know.


Ref: BU9_20240131_2318_085-087_SC2 Fox approaching another at end orchard welcomed with baring of teeth 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

Several sightings of Foxes include this moment of intense focus.


Ref: E6A_20240202_2023_149_FB5 Fox hunting at Meadow Site.jpg

"What's this here?"


Ref: BU8_20240205_2142_063 Fox sniffing ground at edge of Duck Pond.jpg

22 Feb 2024

Just a short visit by a female Kestrel.
Read right to left.


Ref: D01_20240122_1344_041+042+1345_044_FB6 Kestrel female 2 minute visit to Meadow Post 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

1 Week later this female Kestrel lands on the Meadow post, and exactly 1 minute later launches downwards.
The camera controller takes 5 pairs of pics at exactly 1 minute intervals while the IR beam is 'blocked' and doesn't react to departures, so we know the exact interval for this luckily timed departure.


Ref: D01_20240131_1102_120+1103_122-123_FB6 Kestrel female lands on Meadow Post leaves 1m later 1+3-4 of 4 (montage 3-4 @ 500mS).jpg

A closer view of the just launched Kestrel.


Ref: D01_20240131_1103_122_FB6 Kestrel female lands on Meadow Post and departs 1 minute later 3 of 4 (crop).jpg

21 Feb 2024

The image of the left is 15 minutes after the one on the right, but is obviously the same Tawny Owl waiting on the post with more patience than we built into the camera watching the pole. The Tawny Owl didn't seem to catch anything.


Ref: E6A_20240125_1936_086_FB5+D01_1921_039_FB6 Tawny Owl pouncing from Meadow Post to Meadow site (montage).jpg


Ref: E6A_20240125_1936_086_FB5 Tawny Owl pouncing at Meadow site (crop 1).jpg


Ref: E6A_20240125_1936_086_FB5 Tawny Owl pouncing at Meadow site (crop 2).jpg

20 Feb 2024

Over about 4 night-time hours there are numerous visits by both sexes of adult Reeves' Muntjac Deer. Just this one frame catches them together.
The male is closest to camera, with antlers and tiny tusk.


Ref: E64_20240122_1950_119_FB2 Muntjac Reeves Deer pair at Woodland site during visits over 4 hours.jpg

An adult female Reeves' Muntjac Deer stops by the Woodland site. There is undoubtedly some corn left buried in the leaf litter, and the nutritional value is worth the search.


Ref: E64_20240123_0948_159_FB2 Muntjac Reeves Deer at Woodland site.jpg

A study of the male Deer feeding at the Meadow site.


Ref: E6A_20240124_1423_010_FB5 Muntjac Reeves Deer male feeding at meadow site (crop).jpg

19 Feb 2024

Several visits to the meadow post by the female Kestrel over 12 minutes.
Read right to left.


Ref: D01_20240124_1059_131+1048_122+1046_118_FB6 Kestrel female visits to Meadow Post over 12 mins (montage).jpg

Looks like a visit from our 'Blonde' female Kestrel.
Left to right.


Ref: D01_20240124_1217_132+133+1218_134_FB6 Kestrel female 3 minute visit to Meadow Post (montage).jpg

18 Feb 2024

Exiting the house at the rear caught a glimpse of this female Kestrel on the telephone pole at the front. Making progress towards the access track eventually persuaded the Kestrel to depart.
Obviously a spread out montage, but all in about two-thirds of a second.


Ref: df3_20240125_1244_054-059 Kestrel female launches from Telephone pole across track 7fps 1-6 of 7 (montage).jpg

Here we catch the moment as the Kestrel's left foot slipped off the post top.


Ref: DF3_20240125_1244_056 Kestrel female launches from Telephone pole across track 7fps 3 of 7 (crop).jpg

17 Feb 2024

A Robin and his shadow jump down from the bare stone to more interesting things on the ground beneath.


Ref: E63_20240122_0902_026_FB1 Robin down from hedge bottom stone.jpg

A lively male Blackbird takes his selfie.
The bright yellow beak matches the resident male who has not apparently lost his territory to the influx of immigrant Blackbirds.


Ref: E63_20240122_0920_030_FB1 Blackbird male at hedge bottom.jpg

A perky Great Tit pauses on the hedge bottom stone.


Ref: E63_20240122_1409_100_FB1 Great Tit on hedge bottom stone.jpg

There suddenly seem to be Blue Tits and Great Tits all over the site, feasting on the emerging buds. This one was perhaps 6 metres up a willow tree.


Ref: DF3_20240127_1303_031 Blue Tit eating Willow Buds.jpg

16 Feb 2024

The male Reeves' Muntjac Fawn has finally stood up to search for more food.


Ref: DF3_20240119_1315_147 Muntjac Reeves Deer Fawn resting and feeding at edge of Meadow.jpg

The Deer selects bits of vegetation that take his fancy.
We have many times observed that these Deer select just small amounts of a wide range of different 'weeds' - they don't just eat grass.


Ref: DF3_20240119_1318_152 Muntjac Reeves Deer Fawn resting and feeding at edge of Meadow.jpg

After 15 minutes we quietly left the now not-so-little fellow to his own devices.


Ref: DF3_20240119_1319_171 Muntjac Reeves Deer Fawn resting and feeding at edge of Meadow.jpg

2 and a half hours later he arrives at the automatic camera at the woodland site to continue his endless quest for food in the freezing weather.


Ref: E64_20240119_1545_103_FB2 Muntjac Reeves Deer Fawn resting and feeding at edge of Meadow.jpg

15 Feb 2024

We came across this Fawn sitting in the sunshine at the woodland/meadow edge. A close study of several pics suggests that the Antler bases are just starting to bulge, indicating this is a male. Maintaining a closest approach of about 20 metres away we managed a nearly complete circle of this lovely creature, at first just sitting in the sunshine, then sampling the weeds he could reach with moving, and finally getting up to feed on some thicker vegetation.


Ref: DF3_20240119_1304_043 Muntjac Reeves Deer Fawn resting and feeding at edge of Meadow (crop 2).jpg

The Deer Fawn having a nibble of whatever foliage he can reach.


Ref: DF3_20240119_1305_054 Muntjac Reeves Deer Fawn resting and feeding at edge of Meadow.jpg

So relaxed he nodded off for a minute or two.


Ref: DF3_20240119_1310_099 Muntjac Reeves Deer Fawn resting and feeding at edge of Meadow.jpg

"I'm going to have to get up if I want more food."


Ref: DF3_20240119_1312_128 Muntjac Reeves Deer Fawn resting and feeding at edge of Meadow.jpg

14 Feb 2024

As this extremely cold day wears on, this Squirrel decides to lay in some extra bedding. Same as for us then!


Ref: E64_20240119_1422_099_FB2 Grey Squirrel collecting bedding for Drey.jpg

The night shift searches the still frozen pond.
The montage shows two separate visits hours apart, but looks natural.


Ref: BU8_20240119_2230_093+20240120_0053_101 Fox visits to hunt over frozen Duck Pond (montage).jpg

Next day the frost is gone and this Green Woodpecker is again able to probe open ground.


Ref: BU8_20240120_1220_160 +162 Green Woodpecker brief visit to grass by Duck Pond (montage).jpg

13 Feb 2024

The Robin 'owner' of this part of our patch stops by the Tree-stump as the sun starts to set.


Ref: E6C_20240118_1608_016_FB4 Robin on Tree-stump at sunset.jpg

The sun-warmed hedge has already thawed as this little bundle of Joy glows in the sunshine.


Ref: DF3_20240119_1054_012 Robin on cut and fallen twig in hedge.jpg

This Robin is doing the endless rounds in the quest for food - their primary defence against the cold.


Ref: E6C_20240119_1430_043_FB4 Robin maneuvering to land in Tree-stump.jpg

12 Feb 2024

Owl sightings other than at selected posts and perches are unusual, but we see a few each year. Here this Tawny Owl lands in the currently dry ditch but doesn't stay.
The static bird (left) hasn't actually moved from their landing position on the right.


Ref: BU7_20240118_1742_121+122 Tawny Owl landing in south ditch 1+2 of 3 (spread montage).jpg

Near the end of the night this Tawny Owl stops by.


Ref: D01_20240122_0552_119_FB6 Tawny Owl 5+ minute visit to meadow post (1st frame).jpg

One of the Tawny owls spends 18 minutes hunting from the Meadow Post.


Ref: D01_20240124_0327_082+0332_092+0345_114_FB6 Tawny Owl visits over 18 minutes (montage).jpg

Part way through the morning where the temperature reached -8.8C the previous night and is still -0.2C at 10:40 (figures captured in retrospect from our Ecowitt records). Looking south over the neighbouring fields the frost is so heavy you might think that this was light snow if we couldn't assure you that this is 'just' frost.
That little speck on the post is definitely a Buzzard.


Ref: DF3_20240119_1041_002 Buzzard on Power Pole near Field House in extensive frost (orig & final).jpg

11 Feb 2024

A dominant male Pheasant inspects the frozen Duck Pond as the rising sun illuminated the woodland edge to the north.


Ref: BU8_20240118_0839_430 Pheasant male visits morning Duck Pond in hard frost.jpg

A Jackdaw lands on the frost covered Meadow Post top.


Ref: D01_20240118_1036_001_FB6 Jackdaw lands on frosty Meadow Post.jpg

A Rook and a Jackdaw (with a Wood Pigeon bringing up the rear) share the recently delivery of grain and scraps.


Ref: E6A_20240118_1044_009_FB5 Rook + Jackdaw + Wood Pigeon at frosted Meadow site.jpg

10 Feb 2024

Just after dark we catch this Fox intensely watching this bit of ground. And not just watching - look at the two ears swivelled and forwards to catch the slightest sound from where the eyes are focussed.


Ref: BU2_20240117_1735_246_SC7 Fox hunting on Round Mound with ears focussed on ground in front.jpg

We are not seeing mice or voles at the meadow site, but that isn't where the Owls attention is focussed - it is peering into the rough grass around the post. The facial disc of Owls is part of their hearing system - face your area of interest and the sound is aligned.


Ref: D01_20240117_1726_117+1728_121_FB6 Tawny Owl 3 minute visit to meadow post 1+3 of 3 (montage).jpg

This Tawny Owl is very active on the top of the Meadow Post. Undoubtedly they are very keen to catch a nice warm rodent to fight off the cold.


Ref: D01_20240116_1914_071+1916_075+1918_079_FB6 Tawny Owl 5+ minute visit to meadow post 1+3+4 of 4 (montage).jpg

09 Feb 2024

Only a few minutes before sunset, The Robin makes a final check that food hasn't miraculously appeared on the tree stump.


Ref: E6C_20240116_1545_045_FB4 Robin on Tree-stump near sunset.jpg

The last week of freeze-up has seen a huge increase in the number of Blackbirds seen over the site.


Ref: E60_20240115_1031_007_FB3 Blackbird male landing on Kitchen perch.jpg

Here a female Blackbird was searching inside this Hawthorn tree, undoubtedly looking for berries. In this pic we can see two Haws top and bottom left.


Ref: DF3_20240115_1453_002 Blackbird female in Hawthorn Tree with 2 berries visible.jpg

08 Feb 2024

One of the female Kestrels makes a landing on the post.
These 2 pics are only half a second apart - its remarkable how the slight change of position relative to the sun completely changes the bird appearance. We guess that the sunlight would be 'dappled' if seen against a solid background.


Ref: D01_20240115_1156_023+024_FB6 Kestrel female landing on Meadow Post (montage over 500mS).jpg

A shaft of morning sunlight enriches the colours of one of our female Kestrels.


Ref: DF3_20240118_0943_044 Kestrel female on Black Poplar tree by meadow.jpg

07 Feb 2024

The trail-cam moved to the back of Duck Pond to watch the pollarded Willow top has come good by revealing a visit by a Little Owl (actual species name) shortly after dark. We hadn't seen one since July 2021. The Squirrel is shown at exactly the same crop to provide an indication of size.


Ref: SP2_20240112_1944_068+1952_072+1052_015 Little Owl 10min on tree-stump at Duck pond 2+3 of 3 + Squirrel size ref (montage).jpg

Two days later we see another Owl visiting the same Pollarded Willow, this time a Tawny Owl seen at the Meadow Post a few minutes earlier.
We have to assume that its is the same individual.
Scale from the 2 very different cameras is here not controlled.


Ref: D01_20240114_1827_001+1833_013_FB6+SP2_1848_028 Tawny Owl 7+ minute visit to meadow post then Duck Pond 1-3 of 3 (montage).jpg

06 Feb 2024

"What - no juicy mouse for lunch?"
Peanuts will have to do.


Ref: E63_20240112_1306_053_FB1 Magpie collecting peanuts.jpg

This Magpie spends about 7 minutes on and around the Meadow Post.


Ref: D01_20240116_0321_056+1324_057+1324_058_FB6 Magpie landings on Meadow post over 7 minutes (montage).jpg

05 Feb 2024

The Saga of the female Kestrel Part 2 of 2
The whole sequence lasts about 20 minutes.
From feeding on the soils heap she flies the 100 metres along our East hedge to the NE corner of our hedge surround.
We decided that we had disturbed her 'enough' and started walking back when a neighbour flew over her as he departed in his Helicopter, and the bird decides to fly back in our direction and land on the top of our electricity power pole.


Ref: DF3_20240106_1314_131+1317_138+1318_146 Kestrel female disturbed by local helicopter unexpectedly flies back (montage).jpg

She stayed there for another 6 minutes before flying along the hedge onto a branch of this Ash tree growing out of the south hedge.


Ref: DF3_20240106_1320_152 Kestrel female in branches of tree in South Hedge.jpg

She then flies around the SE corner of our patch and lands in one of the conifers inside our patch, viewed from the outside.


Ref: DF3_20240106_1320_171 Kestrel female initial landing on conifer branch.jpg

Conifer branches tends to be rather flexible and the slightest wind will cause to sway up, down around. Like Kestrels in flight keeping the head still in order to detect the movement of prey, here you see how she changes her whole body stance to maintain her eye position on the bobbing branch.


Ref: DF3_20240106_1320_179+1325_191 Kestrel female on bouncing conifer branch varies stature to keeps eyes steady (montage)jpg.jpg

04 Feb 2024

The Saga of the female Kestrel Part 1 of 2
The whole sequence lasts about 20 minutes.
The female Kestrel was first spotted from inside our patch on the top of the disused and leaning telephone pole with back to camera busily hunting the 'land' outside our patch. 7 minutes later we arrived at the other side of the pole where she was still hunting but now properly lit by the hazy sunshine.


Ref: DF3_20240106_1301_039+1308_059 Kestrel female on Disused Telephone pole views from NW & SW (montage).jpg

After a couple of minutes she suddenly dives down to the top of one of the monstrous piles of mud and clay on the farm side of the hedge. She is now hidden from us by the pile nearest us from some 30m along the track.


Ref: DF3_20240106_1309_066+068-070 Kestrel female diving on prey from top of telephone pole (accurate montage @7fps).jpg

Jogging down the track we find her on the linear heap along the ditch (about 1.5 metres high) with some sort of Rodent in her left claw which she is busy eating. In the middle pic she has her beak filled with the meat.
She was almost stationary on the mud - the pics are spread for clarity only.


Ref: DF3_20240106_1310_094+097+101 Kestrel female swallowing probable Rodent prey (spread montage).jpg

Once consumed she decides to take off.
Not quite the vertical launch it looks like here, but a pretty good rise out of nothing.


Ref: DF3_20240106_1310_106+114+115 Kestrel female launching from top of soil dump (impression montage).jpg

03 Feb 2024

The Laurel bush starts shaking about, and it turns out to be a Squirrel hanging down from a Laural branch with their rear legs to leave their front paws free to pick and consume Rose hips that grow freely from the rose much entwining the Laurel.


Ref: DF5_20240109_1140_031 Grey Squirrel hanging from Laurel tree eating Rose Hip.jpg

Some 40m away this Squirrel 'freezes on their way down the Oak tree by the Meadow. You can see the rear claws swivelled round to enable them to hang comfortably, and even 'walk down' the tree-bark.


Ref: DF3_20240109_1335_045 Grey Squirrel hanging down on bark of tree a few cm from ground (orig & final).jpg

02 Feb 2024

"Anything juicy or crunchy worth a swim to the Island?"


Ref: BU8_20240110_0121_067+068 Fox pauses by Duck Pond to look over at island (impression montage).jpg

The Fox just walks through the muddy flooded ditch.
Maybe the fox is so wet they can't get any wetter!


Ref: BU7_20240108_2153_076-078 Fox crosses south ditch by walking through the flooded ditch (near accurate montage).jpg

Here a Fox shows us why they visit our patch on most nights - here leaving at the east hedge gap, complete with a good sized Rabbit clamped in their jaws.


Ref: BUA_20240108_0103_028_SC8 Fox carrying dead Rabbit toward east hedge gap (crop only).jpg

01 Feb 2024

This Reeves' Muntjac Mum tends to her fawn near the Eastern hedge gap. Of the 3 Fawn + mother combinations we see, this is the most advanced pair. These Deer don't have any sort of 'Rut' or breeding season, but breed all year, you get Fawns of all ages and sizes.


Ref: BUA_20240105_2027_097_SC8 Muntjac Reeves Deer mother licking Fawn.jpg

We don't remember previously seeing two Muntjac Deer at the same time in the area behind the garage. Mum is the larger Deer with the nicked right ear (our left) with the fawn behind. They quietly wandered away to the left and we thought that they had disappeared ...


Ref: DF3_20240108_0918_014 Muntjac Reeves Deer mother and Fawn behind garage.jpg

... but returning anyway 10 minutes later we find the Fawn has returned.


Ref: DF3_20240108_0930_037 Muntjac Reeves Deer Fawn returns alone within 10 minutes.jpg

 


 

Return to image of the day

Newer page of archive          Older page of archive