Friday, 30 September 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Hedgehogs

Yesterday I set up the Panasonic hard drive camcorder up to film any birds bathing in the garden pond waterfall. It has the advantage of being able to film unattended for long periods as there is space for over 25 hours of video on the hard drive and a decent battery will last for about 2.5 hrs. I tried three sessions totalling about 1.5 hrs - result - nothing! Not a single bird though I chose times which are normally popular with the birds. Typical.

I did manage to get a few views of the hedgehogs which visit after dark. There are at least two which visit every night.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife wherever you are.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Wings on Wednesday

Glorious day yesterday. Set up the 350D to take some automatic photos of any birds visiting the garden pond waterfall. Lighting not so good as the Sun is lower in the sky so the depth of focus wasn't great.

Mainly House Sparrows. Not a good photo but gives an idea of how well they have been breeding this year.


Of course Starlings cannot resist a good bath either.....


... making sure everyone else gets a good shower at the same time.


Back with the Sparrows I have been pleased to see a few Tree Sparrows returning to the feeders after spending the Summer in the local hedgerows. Young House Sparrow at the top, Tree Sparrow underneath.

House and Tree Sparrows

Another missed photo: (Bee or Moth?)

While I was seeing what to prune out of the remaining Lavender bush I spotted a new visitor. Was it a bee or a moth? It looked much like the Hummingbird Hawk Moth photos I have looked at but the descriptions say the size is 35 to 45 mm wingspan and my visitor seemed smaller than that. The body looked just like a smallish bumblebee, it had the straight snout sticking out in front and hovered like a hummingbird. Of course I dashed in for the TZ7 but it had gone by the time I got back and I haven't seen it again.

Monday, 26 September 2011

My Sketch iPhone / iPad app - Free for a short while

My Sketch iPad / iPhone App

Just found this app which is free for a very short while. It takes a colour photo and turns it into a sketch with a choice of 20 slightly different effects. Needless to say I couldn't resist trying it out while it is free (normally £1.49) and was absolutely delighted with the results. One example:

Foal  Sketch made by  Sketch made by

I tend to transfer photos from the PC to the iPad for some processing as there are some great easy to use apps. This one has one disadvantage at the moment. The photo can be cropped but seems to have a fixed aspect ratio. If the original is not that shape some will be missing on the finished result. Not a problem unless the original is closely cropped to start with.

If it interests you then search for My Sketch on the iTunes app store.

Macro on Monday - Guess What

Brilliant! Once again all five guesses were correct in identifying the frog last week. Congratulations and virtual  gold star go to Keith, Adrian, Wilma, Matron and Glo.


What a lovely patient subject it was as I poked the lens within a few inches and once again the Panasonic TZ7 performed beautifully on still and movie settings. There are many times I feel I get better results from this little camera than I do from my Canon equipment costing ten times as much.

And now, as they say, for something completely different. There is nothing macro or micro about this inanimate object.

Guess what:

 Just for fun, no prizes for a correct guess. Just that glow of satisfaction and a virtual gold star.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Red Admiral Feeding on Ivy

Some weeks, like last week, there is plenty to video. Others there is nothing until the last minute, like this week. Until midday yesterday I had no new video clips when I spotted a Red Admiral butterfly on some Ivy near the bottom of the garden. I needed a camcorder with a powerful zoom so I dug out the Panasonic with its 70x optical zoom and, even though it hadn't been used for nearly a year, found the battery was still fully charged. I started filming trough the kitchen window and then gradually moved closer. Fortunately the flutter stayed for quite a long while. The only problem with the 70x zoom is some purple colour fringing round high contrast areas otherwise it does a decent job. The camera was tripod mounted so movement is the result of a breezy day.

I missed another opportunity to snap the Grey Heron this morning. Spotted it cautiously making its way to the garden pond but it noticed me and when I got it nicely framed as it took off - the camera refused to take the shot! Such are the frustrations of nature photography.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you wherever you are.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wings for Wednesday - Those Goldfinches and a Comma

 Really bustling activity at the Birdy Bistro this morning.






 To finish with, a Comma Butterfly which actually waited while I got the mobile phone near enough for a decent shot.

Comma Butterfly

Monday, 19 September 2011

Macro on Monday - Guess What

Great, all five guesses last week were correct so Adrian, John, Keith, Wilma and Glo are all awarded my congratulations and a gold star  for correctly identifying the garden snail.

Yes Wilma. That was the eye stalk. Once again the photo was taken with the TZ7 and small crops used. Thank you Glo for the witty explanation as to why you were later than usual. (Follow the link in last Monday's comments)

Page_1  Snail

On to this week's puzzle picture. I am sure you will not need any clues from Miss Piggy to help with the identification of this creature.

Guess What:

 Just for fun. No prizes except a virtual gold star for a correct identification.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Windy, Caterpillar, Hedgehogs, Greenfinches

It is nearly a week since the remains of Hurricane Katia passed over the country. Fortunately, here anyway, wind strength was well down on those forecast as possibilities. Mainly gusts in the 35 to 45mph range. We had stronger winds last January. For wildlfe it matters not what the weather is like, life must go on and they have to eat.

In spite of the wind it was a glorious sunny day. As I checked out the garden pond a movement in the grass caught my eye. At first I though the grey shape crawling through the grass was one of the newts but on closer inspection it turned out to be an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar. They are large, stretching to about 3.5 inches ( 90mm) long. Every so often it would stop and investigate the vegetation and the ground. I read somewhere that they bury themselves underground to pupate and remain there through the winter. Holding the TZ7 steady was difficult in the blustery conditions.

I said earlier in the week I had managed to take some video of the adult and juvenile Hedgehogs so here they are. Focussing a bit iffy in places as the camera was on manual focus and I couldn't find the switch while I was filming from the darkened kitchen. Notice how perfect their table manners were while they were being filmed - not once standing in the dish. Most unusual.

Finally a short clip of the Greenfinches which are a very welcome sight as it shows their numbers are recovering a bit after two years of finch disease. This goup of seven or eight are mostly juveniles.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you wherever you are.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Wings for Wednesday - Greenfinches Return

Until two years ago I always had Greenfinches visit the Birdy Bistro. That was until the first outbreak of finch disease (Trichomonosis) two years ago which reduced the numbers of Goldfinches and Greenfinches drastically. That was followed by another outbreak of the disease last year. Since then I have rarely seen a Greenfinch, until this past week or so,

The Goldfinch population has recovered, exploded really, here. I can get up to fifty arguing over the twelve perches on the Niger seed feeders. Now about six Greenfinches have joined them which gives hope that their numbers have started to recover as well.

Greenfinch 4


Greenfinches 2

I can ony hope it is too late in the year for a new outbreak of finch disease in this area.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Macro on Monday - Guess What + A Breezy Day

How fast Macro Mondays seem to come round these days. A reasonably successful one last week with congratulations and virtual gold stars gold star going to Adrian, Keith and Glo for identifying the Water Lily.

Page_1    Pond Lily

On to the new puzzle picture for this week.
Guess What:

No prizes, just for fun.

Well, so far today, the winds haven't reached the speeds suggested by the Met Office, not here anyway. I have no doubt the gusts will have been much stronger in exposed areas and further North in the country. It was still quite a battle walking into the wind on our afternoon perambulation though.

Wind  12th Sept 2011

For some reason the graph doesn't show one particular gust which I saw reached just over 45mph..

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Mother and Juvenile Hedgehogs

About 9pm last night I was just about to let Bobby out in the back garden when I noticed two Hedgehogs feeding. For once they were eating peacefully together and it was only while photographing them through the glass in the back door that I noticed their difference in size. The smaller one was obviously this year's juvenile and the larger was most probably its mother as the male takes no part in raising youngsters.

Yummy, yummy. Dried mealworms and crushed unsalted peanuts.
Mother and Juvenile Hedgehogs 1

Mother and Juvenile Hedgehog 3a

Mother and Juvenile Hedgehogs 2

I also managed a bit of video before they both left the area, hopefully usable on Friday at the Flicks.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Three Quarters of a Sunset

To be exact - a brief though lovely Sunset over three quarters of the sky.

Looking North:
Sunset 03

Looking East:
Sunset 05

Looking South:
Sunset 04

I didn't bother with 'looking West'. In that direction were thick, dark, fast moving rain clouds. All racing North. Probably trying to find out where Adrian is ;-)

The breeze has been picking up as the day progressed.
Presumably the edge of the depression which was Hurricane Katia now heading across the Atlantic in our direction. So far the Met Office maps show the worst of the storm is expected to pass north of Lincolnshire on Monday though things can change.

The three Sunset photos were tweaked somewhat using the Redynamix plugin.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Hedgehog

Just the one silent video today. A few nights ago a Hedgehog visited just as the daylight was fading. It would appear to be a good job I hadn't cleared up all the seed the Starlings had scattered from the feeders as Spiky seemed to be enjoying the sunflower hearts. He/she had arrived just as I was about to put the dish of dried mealworms and crushed unsalted peanuts out so I waited for a while and took a few video clips.

When I went out with the dish I hoped for a few still photos but the hog made a dash for cover until it considered the coast clear before coming back to tuck in to the usual feast.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife wherever you are.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wings for Wednesday

A couple of red eyed flies this week.

The first is a Flesh Fly:  (Sarcophaga bercaea)
Easily recognised by the large red eyes, the stripes on the thorax and the checked abdomen. They do not lay eggs but carry them until they hatch. The larvae then burrow into food material.

Red-eyed Fly

The second appears to be a  Root-Maggot Fly . (Anthomyiidae)

Red-eyed Fly

Both photos are somewhat reduced in sharpness as they were processed twice. First using the Redynamix plugin in PaintShop Pro. Then they were transferred to the iPad  to convert to greyscale and colour pop the flies using the ColorSplash app.

Why colour pop? This is a small crop from the photo as taken. I feel that the bright colour of the plastic barrel detracts from the subject.


Now the breeding season is over the Goldfinches are back to moving around in flocks. Yesterday teatime the Birdy Bistro was invaded by upwards of forty all trying to feed at the same time. One noticeable fact is the number of youngsters. I would estimate that at least half were this years juveniles which is great and should help to improve their numbers in the area.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Macro on Monday - Guess What + Birthday Bash

It would seem last week's mystery plant was more difficult than I thought it would be. Maybe the top negative picture put people off. Only Glo managed to suss it out and gained the virtual gold star    gold star for identifying the piece of Groundsel. It was an anagram of 'under logs' in the clue.

Page_1  Groundsel

Better luck with the new mystery plant.
Guess What:

 No prizes. Just for fun. Don't be shy - have a go.

Grand Birthday Bash

I think I am still recovering from last Saturday night. Clinton, a close neighbour and friend, had a garden party and BBQ to celebrate being 80 years young.

Yvonne, his wife, had asked me if I would video some of the event as Clinton's daughter was to make a surprise visit from Australia where she has been living for the past five years.


The photographer was from the local paper.

The whole evening went very smoothly and so, fortunately, did my little videoing episode. Beside the constant supply of food from the BBQ and never ending supply of the wobbly leg liquid there was entertainment from a couple of belly dancers


and a pole dancer, who I missed as it was too dark for my camcorder and I had to get back to Bobby who was already panicking. It is very rare for me to leave him at night, especially for several hours. Of course my early exit might also have had something to do with the fact that video clips were in danger of looking as though I was filming on a trawler in a North Sea storm. Today I was able to put together a quarter hour video which was burned on to DVDs for the family.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Goldfinches, Blue Tit

There are so many Goldfinches visiting at the moment there is usually plenty of squabbling, especially amongst the impatient youngsters. Like us they have three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and teatime.

There is a microphone behind a small solar panel on the shed. One day I could hear constant tapping which turned out to be a Blue Tit  pecking at the woodwork where a cable enters the shed. The hole is plugged with Blu-Tack. The bird then goes on to investigate the tapes which hold various cables together. Insects use those as safe havens and the Blue Tits often go looking to see what they can find..

 Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.
Related Posts with Thumbnails