Saturday, 30 October 2010

Gargoyles for Halloween

Having photographed the occasional gargoyle on the village church in the past I took the opportunity on today's afternoon walk to capture all that I could see. Halloween is not an occasion that my family has ever celebrated but these certainly brought it to mind.

Music is ' Funeral March of a Marionette', by Charles Gounod and often associated with Alfred Hitchcock.

Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Goldfinches

With the Sun shining on part of the garden it was a treat to watch the various visitors from the kitchen window today.

Blue Tit
Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Coal Tit
Coal Tit

Coal Tit



Friday, 29 October 2010

Friday at the Flicks - Garden Bird Visitors, A Modern Scarecrow

A bit of a dearth of new video at the moment as the birds are eating less from the feeders during this mild spell and the dull grey skies are not conducive to clear photography. Anyway here are some of the birds which came to eat this week.

Coal Tit
Great Tit, Tree Sparrow, Male Chaffinch, more Tree Sparrows

 Something I have been meaning to video for quite a while is a bird scarer / modern scarecrow which seems to do a decent job on a local vegetable patch. It doesn't really show well on the clip but the 'head' is made up of different sections some of which are holograms which really glitter as it turns round in the wind.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


If spiders give you the heebie jeebies then this post is not for you.

Over the past year I have been surprised not only at the numbers of spiders around the garden but also their variety. Look closely at the gravelled area of the garden and one can be seen every few centimetres. Another favoured place is near the corners of windows. Here are a few, as yet unidentified.

One of the largest seen at about 40mm though much bigger if the legs were straightened out!
Garden Spider 1a

Garden Spider 1b

 This small one ( about 14mm) was disturbed in the gravel in the fruit cage.
Garden Spider 3

All these seem to prefer windows.
Garden Spider 4

Garden Spider 6

Garden Spider 5

Garden Spider 7

It is only recently I have come to appreciate the variety of patterns on spiders. They can be quite beautiful in their own way. All the photographs were taken with the Lumix TZ7 with the lens about 60mm away from each subject.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Red is the Colour


Red as the breast of a Robin
Red as the petals of a rose
Red as the rays of the evening sun
Red as a firelight glows
Red as your lips raised to mine
Red as a glass of red rich wine
Red as the dress you wore
When you promised to be mine

Thelma S. Pierce McBurney

The above poem was found on the Poem Hunter site

When I was looking round the garden while catching up on some Autumn pruning and weeding yesterday I saw just how much red was in evidence.

A somewhat fuzzy picture of a Robin Redbreast who wouldn't stay still.
Robin Redbreast

My dwarf standard rose has decided it is time for a new flush of flowers.
Red Rose

It was not the only plant to decide that, in spite of the weather, it must be Spring.

Although some leaves on the Strawberry plants in the greenhouse are turning red...
Strawberry Leaf

... they are also producing new flowers and fruit.
Strawberry Fruit
As are some of the Raspberries in the fruit cage.

Who am I to argue that they have got their seasons all muddled up. At least it means I still have some fresh fruit to enjoy.

Just occasionally we get a bit of colour in the sky at Sunset. If only someone would demolish the telephone pole - but then I would lose my internet connection. Ah well, you can't win them all.

Sunset Clouds

Yesterday was cool but gloriously sunny. Today we are back to normal though the rain did hold off until we had returned from our early morning walk.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Macro on Monday - Guess What

As always I will start with last week's puzzle.

rectangle_New-Out99998    P1010626

Yes. It was a spotty banana.
Gold stars to Jan and Adrian.
Sorry Glo, your first instinct was correct. Have a consolation Silver star.

This week is probably much more difficult, but we will see.
Taken through the microscope at about 600x magnification.


Clue: a man made object you will need to think digitally about.
No prizes - just a bit of fun.
All will be revealed next Monday.

For those following the antics of the Great Tit, it is still visiting the nestbox several times a day.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Rove Beetle

After a wet morning and evening I was almost certain to meet something on the path when Bobby went out for his last wander round the garden before bedtime. Sure enough there it was - a black beetle scurrying along. It froze as soon as it felt my footsteps and luckily for me, and for you, it stayed in the same place long enough for me to fetch the Lumix and take a few photos.

Rove Beetle:
Rove Beetle 1

Rove Beetle 2

There are many different types of Rove Beetle. This one was about 20mm long. One thing which distinguishes them from other beetles is the short elytra - the hard covering over the wings. It is so short that they are able to curve their bodies up like a scorpion when threatened. They don't sting but can give a painful bite. Unlike many other beetles I have found in my garden they belong to the good guys as they feed on smaller insects, some of which are pests on crops.

More details of this successful (having been around for a good 200 million years) beetle can be found on the Just Green web site HERE.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Nestbox Investigations

The Great Tit, or maybe several, has show a lot of interest in the nestbox having visited it on and off most days. At one stage it spent over twenty minutes in the box. I could see another flitting about outside from time to time so the first may have been calling for its mate. On a couple of occasions it even performed the 'nestbox shuffle' which I have only seen the Blue Tits perform in the nesting season.

A short video compiled from several sessions.

I knew birds often looked at possible nesting sites during the Autumn but had not seen this level of interest with the last box which had a smaller hole for the blue Tits.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Friday at the Flicks - Nestbox, Bird Visitors, Tree Sparrow

A few days ago there was more interest in the nestbox with a Blue Tit examining the outside early in the morning and another internal visit later in the day from a Great Tit. Since this was filmed I have moved the outside camera a bit nearer to get a better close up.

A few of the regulars to the garden.
Dunnock, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Wren and Blue Tit

On the only visit to the garden so far  this Autumn here is the Tree Sparrow

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A Visiting Tree Sparrow

Through last Winter several Tree Sparrows joined the local House Sparrows visiting the feeders in the garden. They all left in the Spring to move back to the field hedgerows so yesterday was the first time I had seen one for several months. There was just one looking well fluffed out as it sat in the sunshine on a very cold morning.

Tree Sparrow 3

Tree Sparrow 2

I didn't see it come down to feed. It just sat there for several minutes watching the other birds.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Stained Glass Windows Revisited

There hasn't been a lot of bird activity in the garden recently. I had expected that the numbers would increase with the drop in temperature. One interesting observation has been the activity in and around the nestbox. Not only did a Great Tit investigate the inside early in the morning but later on a Blue Tit was seen to show interest. It spent most of the time checking the outside of the box. With luck there will be some video of them on Friday.

On yesterday afternoon's walk I popped in the village church again to take some closer shots of the stained glass windows. I took the usual +1 0 -1 EV series of shots to use with Photomatrix Pro 3 but was disappointed with the results so I tried using the ReDynaMix plugin in Paintshop Pro using only the darkest photo from each batch. That worked very well most of the time as it picks out detail from the dark section and enhances them., at the same time it tones down the bright parts.

The first view is looking East along the nave. The end window is plain glass. .
SGW Image 3

Facing east to the side of the main aisle is this window which is dated  1908
SGW Image1

Facing west is another window dated  1898
SGW Image2

This visit the porch window had lost the box of plants. The window here is undated. It is the most difficult to photograph and bring out the surrounding stonework as it is so very dark in that part of the church. Maybe I will try added flash another time though I quite like the 'heavenly glow' effect.
P1010822_0_1_fused 3

There is one other stained glass window but unfortunately it is behind a what appears to be a chamber organ so impossible to get at.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Sounds in the Night

Bobby had finished exploring the front garden on his last look round before bedtime when I heard a faint crunching on the wet gravel. My first thought was of an unwelcome furry visitor with a long tail as I had come face to face with one about a week ago. It had been raining and I had my torch with me. As I searched for whatever had been moving there it was. A large common frog taking advantage of the damp for an evening hop about. I dashed in and grabbed the Lumix. Fortunately the frog hadn't moved and I managed a reasonable close up before it decided that it was camera shy.

Common Frog (Rana temporaria)Common Frog

It is always as well to have a torch here. Although I do have some outside lighting there is nearly always  some creature or other lurking in the shadows on wet nights.

So far the Great Tit has made two more investigations of the nestbox. I won't get too excited yet as the Blue Tits did much the same last year but decided against it in the end.

A snapshot from this morning's video capture.
Snapshot 25

Monday, 18 October 2010

Macro on Monday - Guess What

As always we first have a look at last week's puzzle alongside the complete object:

rectangle_New-Out99999   Ichneumon Wasp

It was one of the antennae of an Ichneumon parasitic wasp. The colour may have fooled some as the light source was below the wasp and shining through the antenna.

Adrian and Simon definitely went for an antenna so deserve a silver star while Wilma and Glo hedged their bets between a leg or an antenna - so deserve a bronze star.

This week the photo is a macro taken with the 350D with bellows.


Clue: I need my daily boost of Potassium.
No prizes, just a bit of fun.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


When we go for our afternoon perambulation Bobby and I usually cut through the back of the churchyard. More often than not there are some chickens from the nearby smallholdings diving for cover. The other day there were two which had made themselves a comfortable hollow under one of the small trees. They were not going to move unless they really had to.


One day I tied Bobby outside the church while I went in to see if it was possible to photograph the stained glass windows. For these I took three photos at +1 0 -1 EV and process them as HDR. This window facing East was difficult as there was a green tint to the light which was reflected from trees nearby.

P1010722_0_1_tonemapped c

This small one is in the porch and again is so close to vegetation that it receives very little direct light.


It is not very often these days that farm machinery is left out in the open as quite a few tractors have been stolen in the county.


There is very little Autumn colour at the moment as the plants are changing colour at different times but I did spot this on the way home.


On damp nights it is as well to take a torch when I let Bobby out for his last look round as I never know what may end up underfoot.


 I wonder how many different types of slug there are.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday at the Flicks - Extra - Great Tit Investigates Nestbox

When my last nestbox was taken over by a wasp I took it down and moved another in its place. Then I switched off the camera as it was too late for a new feathered occupant. A couple of weeks ago I switched the camera back on and set the recorder for auto recording on detecting movement. I checked the recorder tonight and found that a Great Tit had investigated the box yesterday morning. The camera is black and white only with IR lighting for seeing in the dark. There is no sound on this recording.

Some birds start early in the Autumn searching out possible nesting sites so it is always worth keeping an eye on a nestbox from time to time. Also a nestbox may be used as a roost during very cold winter nights.

Friday at the Flicks - Brambling, Village Drive

A bit short on videos today as the weather has been so overcast recently. The Brambling only stayed a couple of days but I managed to take a bit more video.

This little drive from home to the edge of the village was filmed a while ago. I know it was on a Monday by all the wheelie bins in view. Like many Lincolnshire villages it is mainly a ribbon development with most houses being along the main street with just a few lanes leading from it.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Brambling in the Garden

I was very fortunate to have a few Brambling visit the garden for a couple of days. The first time I have ever seen them. I guess they have recently flown across the North Sea for their winter visit to the U.K. and needed to feed up before moving further inland. Needless to say during the times they visited lighting condition were against really clear photographs but I did manage a few stills and some more video for Friday.

A Male Brambling peeping over the border to my rockery:
Brambling Male

A pair finding dropped seed on the rockery.
Brambling Pair 2

The male on the right has brighter markings than the female.
Brambling Pair 1

The Brambling is a member of the finch family and can often be seen with their cousins, Chaffinches. They arrive in October and will depart again for Scandinavia in March.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Macro on Monday - Guess What

Here is last week's mystery object along side a full view.

rectangle_New-Out99999   Garden Snail

Adrian was fast off the mark saying it was a lipped snail. I think it was brown lipped and anyway all I wanted was 'snail' So a gold star to Adrian and an honourable mention to Glo and Keith.

This won't be quite so easy. It was taken through the microscope at about 100x magnification.


No prizes - just for fun.

Clue. You would be wrong to expect the other end to be painfully sharp.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Renaming Picture Files

I wonder how many of you, like me, have taken lots of photos of the same subject and then tried to find them months or years later among the thousands of numbered files on your hard drive. One solution is to rename them at the time they are transferred to the computer but that isn't always the most convenient time. You can go through them at a later time and alter them one by one - I'd rather watch paint dry.

A couple of days ago there was a Giveaway of the Day which could do this as a batch process but I found it too complicated for what I wanted so I had a search and found a freeware program for Windows which did the job I wanted very easily. It is called A.F.5 Rename Your Files. It has an uncluttered interface with a good choice of ways of renaming files. You can change part or all of the filename, add the date, sequentially number them, etc.
Click on my illustrations to get a larger view

It has a drag and drop facility so all I did was to drag a series of micro photos which just had a numbered filename added by the camera and set the program up to name, number and date the new filename. As the choices are made from the drop down lists near the top of the program window the result is instantly shown so you can see what you are doing. No other changes are made to the file, EXIF information and size are untouched and the files stay in the same folder but with their new file names. If you change your mind just click 'rename' again and the original filename is restored.


I must admit I am really taken with the simplicity of use with this program so I thought I would pass the information on to anyone else who may have been looking for such a program.

A.F.5 Rename Your Files by Alex Fauland may be found HERE.

Once again this morning the hundreds of gulls were seen flying over the village. Brambling are continuing to visit the garden. I guess these winter visitors are re-building their energy levels having flown across the North Sea recently.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Too Much Excitement for One Day

Just went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and looked to see the Goldfinches feeding. What was that on the ground? Several male chaffinches? No. Too much colour. The Canon was in the other room but fortunately the Camcorder is always set up by the window so I managed a couple of seconds of video before they were spooked and flew away. Later I identified them as a group of about six Brambling. I had not seen even a single one before and now I had a small group.

I have slowed the video down to a quarter speed as the clip was so short and it starts with a still from the video.

Managed to get a quick shot when one returned.

Brambling 1

Still very overcast with poor lighting conditions.
Related Posts with Thumbnails