Monday, 30 September 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star Congratulations and the virtual gold star to Wilma and ImaBurdie who definitely identified Penny who was dozing after a hard day supervising. Not sure, TWG, whether you meant a penny coin or my Penny.



For the new mystery photo here is part of a wild creature.
Guess What type of creature:

 Clue: You won't get singed by this one.

No prizes. Just for fun.
Any guesses left in the comments will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Two Juvenile Hedgehogs

Checking through last night's video captures I was expecting to see the usual solo adult Hedgehog make a visit or two. It was a real thrill to see two juveniles - most probably from this year's brood. The one in the Hedgehog House was having a short nap when a second one turned up. After a look round outside the house the second one went in to search for any food inside:

An adult had visited earlier on so that makes at least three Hedgehogs visiting the garden at the moment. Great to see them coming to eat so they put on enough weight to see them through their Winter hibernation period.

A still shot from the video:

This morning I saw a Great Tit make another inspection of the nestbox. Also it was a surprise to see a juvenile Goldfinch visit the feeder. I guess they may have had two broods this year.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Friday at the Flicks .....

..... you guessed it  - Hedgehogs. It's that time of year.

To eat: crushed unsalted peanuts and waxed dried mealworms.
To drink: water.

Have a great weekend watching the wildlife where ever you are.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Casing the Joint

This morning was the first time this Autumn that I noticed a Great Tit inspecting the nestbox:

There will be lots more inspections before we know whether there will be another family raised in the box next Spring. Also there is a chance that it may be used as a roost during the Winter.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star Congratulations and the virtual gold star go to Adrian who was the only person the get last weeks mystery photo identification spot on. A close look at the head of a Crane Fly, also known as a Daddy Longlegs:

IMG_7075x     2013-09-11 11.20.41x

On to another creature to identify for this week's puzzle photo.
Guess What:

Clue: Not worth a lot of thought.

No prizes, just for fun.

Guesses left in the comments will be revealed next Monday along with the answer.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Friday at the Flicks - Food for Spiky, Penny Investigates

It's been a pretty uncomfortable week. Now idea how but I managed to strain a back muscle a few days ago which made it difficult to find a comfortable sitting or sleeping position. It didn't help that there was work which had to be done in the garden. Fortunately it seems to be easing now.

Not a lot different here on the wildlife front so here is a capture of me scattering the crushed, unsalted peanuts ready for the regular night visitors.

Also a short capture of Penny trying to find out if there was a hog in the Hedgehog House. It's a good job she hasn't found out how to lift up the roof. It looks as though she is knocking on the front door as well as listening for any sounds of movement and trying to see inside. The house was empty at that particular time:

Have a great weekend observing whatever your local wildlife is up to.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie

by Rose Fyleman

  I think mice are nice. 
Their tails are long
Their faces small,
They haven't any
Chins at all.

Their ears are pink,
Their teeth are white,
They run about
The house at night.
They nibble things
They shouldn't touch
And no one seems
To like them much.
But I think mice
Are nice  


Post title is the first line from the poem   

Monday, 16 September 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

Last week's mystery photo got everyone stumped. The nearest was Ragged Robin with a mention of kettles and scale. You may not have come across this sort of item before unless, like me, you live in a hard water area which deposits layers of scale inside everything, especially where water is boiled. The item is a limescale descaler which is made of stainless steel. You put one in a kettle and it attracts much of the limescale instead of it being deposited on the inside of the kettle.

IMG_7060x    DSCN1823x

On to this week's mystery photo
Guess What:

Clue: This one won't lift any heavy weights.

No prizes. Just for fun.
Answers left in the comments will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Wet Night

Yesterday I put the outside video camera back to monitor how many Hedgehogs are visiting so we can now see inside and outside the Hedgehog House. Of course Hedgehogs aren't the only creatures about at night:

After using Debut video capture software for a few years I finally found I can digitally zoom and pan the picture while it is recording.

I was very surprised to see there was a hog in the house early this morning (not shown on the video). By the markings it was a different one which went home as daylight was dawning.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Autumn Clean

After a couple of dreary, damp days which have given a real feel that Autumn has arrived I decided it was time to clean out the camera nestbox.

First, removed the front panels and disposed of the old nest:


Brushed out as much dust and droppings as possible and then gave it a good spray with Ark-Klens. A good cleanser, disinfectant and deodoriser which is formulated for use in animal housing:

DSCN1819    DSCN1818

The box needed a good dose of cleaning. I have never seen so many small fleas leaping about as there were today after the nest had been removed. Also sprayed the inside of the front panels, left all for a short while then a good wipe down with some kitchen towels. Also cleaned the business end of the b/w camera (the black cylinder above the nesting area) Waited about an hour for things to dry out then re-fixed the front panels.


Looking well weathered now after three years out in all weathers but guaranteed nice and clean inside ready for the next occupant.

Why clean out so long before nesting time? Birds often explore and choose nesting sites in the Autumn and sometimes use nestboxes as roosts to spend cold, damp, windy Winter and early Spring nights.

Later: I see a new dropping in the box so I guess it has already been explored. I would be surprised if  I hadn't been watched while I was cleaning it out! Waiting for a new power supply for the video recorder which will automatically record any activity in it and the Hedgehog House.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

That Hedgehog Again

The local hedgehog continues to make nightly visits to the Hedgehog House for free nosh
(crushed unsalted peanuts and dried mealworms):

Jerky movements near the start of the video are caused by the PC dropping frames while it was being recorded!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star Once again congratulations and a virtual gold star to everyone who had a go at identifying last week's mystery photos. Adrian, Sue Garrett, TexWisgirl, Wilma, Ima Burdie and Ragged Robin all identified the macro photos as being feathers. They were found in the garden and probably came from a Wood Pigeon.

IMG_6371.JPGx       IMG_7008x


This time a macro shot of an inanimate object.
I wonder how many will be able to identify this one.

Guess what:

Clue: wet, hard fur.
No prizes, just for fun.
Guesses left in the comments will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Cloudy Day

Yesterday there were plenty of clouds racing across the sky so I set up the Fujifilm IS-1 with the 720nm IR filter and left it taking one photo every 6 seconds until the batteries ran out. Total taken - 910 shots batch converted to greyscale with Irfanview and dropped en masse in trakAxPC, titles and soundtrack added:


Clouds are very clever things
They aren't held up with hooks or strings
They have no wings to help them fly
They simply hang there in the sky
George Ansell  from Poems for Kids

The setup:
Camera on a sturdy tripod.
Home brew intervalometer powered by 12V battery on the table:


Saturday, 7 September 2013

The Frog

The Frog

Be kind and tender to the Frog,
   And do not call him names,
As ‘Slimy skin,’ or ‘Polly-wog,’
   Or likewise ‘Ugly James,’
Or ‘Gape-a-grin,’ or ‘Toad-gone-wrong,’   
   Or ‘Billy Bandy-knees’:
The Frog is justly sensitive
   To epithets like these.
No animal will more repay
   A treatment kind and fair;
At least so lonely people say
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,   
They are extremely rare).

2013-09-07 11.25.36
iPhone 4     Camera+ app

 A Frog in his Tea
by Rex Miller
The frog was tired of sitting still
so it jumped from the lawn
to the window sill,
and hopped through the gap
down onto the rug,
then up on the arm and into the mug.

The man looked down to his cup of tea
and saw something swimming
that couldn't get free.
He lifted it carefully and there in his
drink were two blinking eyes
looking up in surprise.

Both being shocked to meet over tea
the frog and the man
swopped smiles of glee.
Lifting him on to his palm he said
"Now that's what I call a mug shot
thank goodness my tea was not hot."

2013-09-07 11.25.55
iPhone 4     Camera+ app

I Have a Little Frog
I have a little frog
His name is Tiny Tim,
I put him in the bathtub,
To see if he could swim,
He drank up all the water,
And gobbled up the soap!
And when he tried to talk
He had a BUBBLE in his throat!

Fujifilm IS-1  720nm IR filter

 Came home from a photographically frustrating walk. Didn't take a camera as it looked like rain and saw plenty of dragons and flutters some of which would have paused for the odd portrait. Just about to unlock the back door when what should I see but a fully grown common frog looking for all the world as though it was waiting to be let in. Grabbed a few shots with the iPhone and then went in to fetch the Fujifilm and took a few in IR. Froggy was very obliging and stayed still several times to allow me to get within inches for some close shots.

I Have a Little Frog from CanTeach
A Frog in his Tea from English Poems for Kids

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Another Itsy Bitsy Spider

I have been very pleased with the performance of the Raynox DCR-150 (magnification 4.8 diopter) macro add on lens. When I saw a little used DCR-250 (magnification 8 diopter) for sale I grabbed it. This one magnifies even more though takes more patience to get things in focus. A short while after it had arrived I spotted a tiny spider on the lid of a wheelie bin so the lens had its first try out:

Tiny Spider IMG_7007

I was chuffed with the result considering I was hand holding a weighty 50D with battery pack, 70-200mm lens, LED ring light and the DCR-250. On top of that the spider was moving. I haven't found out yet what spider this is. Size - about 8 to 9mm across the legs.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Where Are They All Going?

We were out a bit earlier this morning for our early morning walkies, about 6.45 a.m. local time. A fairly clear blue sky and was struck by the number of commercial airline con trails I could see. All were heading towards the North Sea and then on to the continent. As well as the number it was noticeable that they were all tending to converge on the same narrow corridor. Though the camera in the iPhone could only see a few I counted thirteen trails, many fairly recent and probably all in the last hour or so.

2013-09-03 06.42.12

There is a fascinating site where you can zoom in on any part of the world and see in real time just how many commercial aircraft are up there. If you want to see what is above you now then go to the PlaneFinder site and zoom in on your local area. Link should open in a new window.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Macro on Monday - Guess What

gold star Brilliant - another full house of correct guesses for last week's mystery photo. Congratulations and the virtual gold star to Sue Garret, TexWisGirl, Adrian, Glo and ImaBurdie who all correctly worked out it was a scrambled photo of a wasp nest which was built in a nestbox three years ago.


Wasp Nest

Back to real macro shots for this week's mystery photo.
In fact this week you can have a BOGOF*

What are these?
 IMG_6371.JPGx    IMG_7008x

Not two views of the same thing - two related items from the same creature.

Clue: One cosy and one uplifting.

Just for fun. No prizes.
Answers left in the comments will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

*BOGOF - buy one, get one free

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Hedgehog Visitor

A few days ago I moved the Hedgehog house to a position where I could connect up the camera. At the same time I changed the old B/W board camera for a small colour one which is designed for bird boxes. This one has white LEDs built in. The idea was to entice any Hedgehog into the house by scattering crushed peanuts inside in the hopes I would get some video of it. I wasn't sure whether the bright white light might be too strong for a nocturnal animal


The first couple of nights I also scattered crushed peanuts outside as well as inside so the hog ate those and didn't venture in the house, not while I was monitoring anyway. Last night I forgot to put any outside and lo and behold hoggy ventured inside. Nothing like the lure of food to entice an animal where you want it to be.

If you are thinking of putting out some peanuts for Hedgehogs make sure you use unsalted ones. Those sold for bird food are ideal but will need to be broken or crushed in to smaller pieces. Also a small bowl of water would be appreciated by any passing hog. Not milk as their system cannot digest it and will make them very ill.

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