Return to moorhen home page

Return to section index

Image-of-the-Day by Subject

Birds, Insects & Bats in flight (outdoors) Page 49

Image Taken on 07 Jun 2011 at 16:01    Image of day on 16 Jul 2011

Swifts are the most regular fly catching bird at the moment - here a portrait with the wings catching the light nicely.

Ref: 20110716_df1_20110607_1601_142 swift in flight (crop)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 08 Jun 2011 at 13:14    Image of day on 16 Jul 2011

And here a more conventional view showing the sickle shaped wings.

Ref: 20110716_df1_20110608_1314_123 swift in flight(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 31 May 2010 at 16:03    Image of day on 08 Jul 2010

BBC Springwatch tells us all flycatchers are late this year. For us the number of Swifts has soared and the usual good show of Swallows plus the odd Martin has reduced to the odd flyover. So we make the most of the Swifts this year.

Ref: 20100708_df1_20100531_1603_035 swift in flight (crop)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 11 May 2010 at 16:57    Image of day on 14 Jun 2010

The swifts are outnumbering the swallows this year. This shot shows the interesting stepped grey of the under-feather markings and the wonderful long primary feathers.

Ref: 20100614_df1_20100511_1657_589 swift in flight (crop)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 14 Jun 2008 at 12:58    Image of day on 25 Jun 2008

Swifts and swallows are making intermittent appearances.

Ref: 20080625_dc1_20080614_1258_192 swift in flight (web crop)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 06 Jul 2006 at 17:56    Image of day on 19 Jul 2006

Photographing birds in flight is hard, and flycatchers doubly so. So getting even a half-decent image is a minor triumph.

Ref: 20060719_d60_20060706_1756_632 swift in flight (web crop)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 05 Jun 2006 at 16:28    Image of day on 13 Jun 2006

This year not many Swallows but a few swifts of which this one is an example. The BBC Springwatch website and paperwork packs include Swallows, Swifts and House Martins from our portfolio.

Ref: 20060613_d10_20060605_1628_486 swift in flight(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 02 Jul 2016 at 17:50    Image of day on 17 Aug 2016

Alarmingly few Swifts, Swallows and Martin so far this year.
Here is a passing Swift.

Ref: 20160817_df3_20160702_1750_054-065 swift in flight (selected) 1-5 of 5 (close spaced montage)(r+mb id@1024).jpg

Image Taken on 26 Aug 2015 at 15:16    Image of day on 27 Oct 2015

A Swift in flight climbing gracefully.

Ref: 20151027_df4_20150826_1516_092-097 swift in flight 1-6 of 6 (close montage)(r+mb id@1024).jpg

Image Taken on 17 Jul 2019 at 17:31    Image of day on 06 Sep 2019

A close spaced montage at about 10 fps.

Ref: 20190906_d72_20190717_1731_355-358 swift in flight @10fps 1-4 of 5 (close spaced montage)(r+mb id@1024).jpg

Image Taken on 31 May 2010 at 16:05    Image of day on 08 Jul 2010

We are trying to catch the moment of an insect about to go into a flycatchers beak. During this attempt we got this unusual sequence of what we think is a swallow reaching way up to catch an insect. Probably about 200mS between images with arbitrary positions.
We guess that the insect was hidden by the right wing of the first image, and inside the beak by the second!

Ref: 20100708_df1_20100531_1605_088-090 swift in flight arching back & opening beak to catch insect (q) 1-3 of 3 (arbitrary montage)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 18 Jul 2019 at 11:50    Image of day on 06 Sep 2019

Swifts really fly fast - this and the next sequence are photographed at about 10 fps (Frames per second). That's about 100 body lengths per second!
The detail of the bird is lost at any size of image that it is sensible to email or put on the WWW, which is why we mostly provide 'Close spaced Montages' to get a better view of the creature.

Ref: 20190906_d72_20190718_1150_067-072 swift in flight at 10fps against trees 1-6 of 6 (accurate montage)(r+mb id@1024).jpg

Image Taken on 22 Jun 2011 at 13:37    Image of day on 29 Jul 2011

Swifts are normally photographed as sickle shapes, but they have a full range of wing movements, here caught near the top of its wing stroke.

Ref: 20110729_df1_20110622_1337_290 swift in flight at top of wing stroke(r+mb id@432).jpg

Image Taken on 05 May 2017 at 17:52    Image of day on 27 Jun 2017

A Swift catching an insect - beak open next to last image from the left and the tiny speck of life it consumed is just in front of the open beak. These at about 7fps so slightly less than 1 second of action here.

Ref: 20170627_df3_20170505_1752_159-164 swift in flight catching insect 2-7 of 7 (impression montage)(r+mb id@1024).jpg

Image Taken on 04 May 2010 at 15:11    Image of day on 10 Jun 2010

The swifts have been mostly flying very high but have occasionally come low enough to be much better than 'specks in the sky'. With naked eye they tend to appear as black silhouettes but a camera with exposure locked to prevent the sky forcing underexposure it can show the subtle grey markings.

Ref: 20100610_df1_20100504_1511_119 swift in flight overhead (crop)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 20 May 2008 at 17:45    Image of day on 29 May 2008

Some swifts did a few low circles. Here one has it's mouth open to catch the insects it feeds on.

Ref: 20080529_dc1_20080520_1745_050 swift in flight overhead with beak open(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 22 Jun 2011 at 13:37    Image of day on 29 Jul 2011

No this isn't turned sideways!
The swift was sweeping up to catch an insect (not big enough to spot even in the original).

Ref: 20110729_df1_20110622_1337_238 swift in flight reaching up for insect (unprocessed crop)(r+mb id@432).jpg

Image Taken on 24 May 2016 at 12:30    Image of day on 05 Jul 2016

We often hear that Swifts spend their entire lives in flight expect when breeding, and even then have to choose high places where they can 'drop down' from to gain flight speed.
We understand that a Swift on the ground can not take off without help.
We had never really thought about what constant flight means, but it must include still having to maintain your feathers. Here over about 2 seconds the bird twists to access one of it's flight feathers, and drops a good distance in the process.

Ref: 20160705_df3_20160524_1230_070-079 swift preening in flight 01+02+04+07+10 of 10 (selected montage over about 2 seconds)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 17 Apr 2018 at 04:30    Image of day on 24 May 2018

All three of our 'regular' owls making landing on the meadow post.
The sizes of the Owl images are all at the same scale.

Ref: 20180524_d01_20180417_0430_005+0059_002+20180415_2031_005_fb6 tawny owl + barn owl + little owl landings at same scale (montage)(r+mb id@1024).jpg

Image Taken on 25 Feb 2018 at 18:34    Image of day on 27 Mar 2018

A Visit by what we think of as the 'local' Tawny owl.
After the landing (left) we get a illustration of the rotation of an Owls neck - 270 degrees from multiple sources (all possibly referencing the same original). While this sounds like the bird can almost 'look behind' it, it is actually (360-270) / 2 = 45 degrees short of completely backwards each way. The eyes are so big they can barely move them in their sockets', so to remove the 'blind spot' compare the middle and right images to see that this Owl also twists it's body to increase the amount of turn.

Ref: 20180327_d01_20180225_1834_005+1836_007+1843_017_fb6 tawny owl 12 mins visit landing + looks back right + left 1+3+5 of 6 (montage)(r+mb id@768).jpg




Comments and requests for image use

To make a comment, ask for information or to request a full resolution image, send us an email including the reference or the date for the image you are interested in.

All initial contacts should be made using the icon below:-

Mail Us