Saturday, 31 July 2010

Garden Snails and a Dragonfly

When Bobby went for his last look round his empire a couple of nights ago I spotted two brown garden snails crossing the concrete. The ground was perfectly dry so I was somewhat surprised they had chosen that route.Also they took no notice of us. In daylight hours they would have probably retreated into their shells but these two kept going and provided me with my first opportunity to take some photographs of garden snails.

Brown Garden Snail

Normally thrusting a camera within a couple of inches would make the snail withdraw its tentacles but this time I could clearly see the eyes on the end of those long stalks. In fact it was the length of the tentacles which had first caught my attention.

Brown Garden Snail

 I have never really taken much notice or interest in snails but on finding a great site ( ) was fascinated by the complexity of their anatomy.

Yesterday I notice one of the rare visits to my garden by a Common Darter Dragonfly which rested for a short while on some gravel long enough for me to take a few photographs.

Dragonfly - Common Darter

Friday, 30 July 2010

Friday at the Flicks (Greenfinch, Hedgehog, Farming)

Since the outbreak of finch disease last Summer it has been something of a rarity to see a Greenfinch visit the feeders.

Over the past week the camera has only picked up one Hedgehog visiting the feeding area. There may have been a second one around during the first part of the video as the Hedgehog has obviously spotted something which may present danger. Unfortunately whatever it was didn't come in view.

The farm workers have been very busy this past week. Earlier in the week the grain was harvested and the bales of straw removed from the field. On Wednesday the field was ploughed and yesterday they were busy harrowing. You can see how dry the ground is by the dust being thrown up behind the tractor.

So far this month my weather station has recorded 0.59 of an inch of rain in total with 0.28 on the 12th and the rest as even smaller amounts spread over several days. I should think most of it evaporated in the warm weather before it could soak in to the ground.

Have a great weekend observing the world around you.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Open air Larder

Looking out of the kitchen window yesterday I couldn't help noticing that one spider had built its web in just the right place. There were so many small flies caught in it I could almost make out the shape of the web.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for a Spider

I think it will take it the rest of the week to wrap them all up and store them away for a rainy day.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Junior Has a Name

When I visited Stan yesterday I asked if the foal had been given a name yet and found out that his full name is Carling Star (Fred for short).

Angel With Carling Star

There are still very rare sightings of dragonflies near my pond as yet but the Blue-tailed Damselflies are nearly always in evidence. Most are brightly coloured with their heads and tail ends glowing like little jewels in the sunlight.

Blue-tailed Damselfly

These I assume are males of the species. Every so often I catch a glimpse of one with much duller markings which I think are the females.

Blue-tailed Damselfly

After a gap of many weeks a Robin has started to visit the feeding area.


I am not sure whether this is a juvenile which has nearly all of its adult plumage or an adult which has been battling for its territory.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Angel's Foal Keeps Growing

Yesterday afternoon Angel and her foal were grazing in their field as we stopped to have a look at them. When they noticed us they stopped and stared back.

Mare and Foal 4

After a while ma decided it was safe to wander over and say hello..

Mare and Foal 3

The foal still stays close to mum but looks much more confident than the last time we saw them. There was just enough life left in the battery to take a few short video clips with the Lumix. Although junior is eating grass and such like he still likes to wash it down with a bit of mother's milk. I love the way his tail pumps up and down whilst suckling.

It was lovely to be able to say hello and watch them close up for a while.


I think junior (I must find out whether he has been given a name yet) is growing in to a handsome stallion.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Friday at the Flicks (Goldfinch, Blue Tit Juvenile, Magpie Juvenile)

In one of her comments Jan (ShySongbird's Twitterings) wrote how she wondered, when she first bought a Niger feeder, how the Goldfinches would ever manage to get the seeds out through such small holes. It was something I wondered about myself. The holes have to be small to stop the fine seeds from falling out. As can be seen from this brief clip, slowed down to one quarter speed, the Goldfinch accurately puts its beak directly in the hole every time.

The juvenile Blue Tit continues to visit the feeders and at last I managed to take some brief video clips of it. The colour variations are caused by the sunlight being from different directions at various times of day. At the beginning a Magpie can be heard chuntering to itself as they often do.

Last year a pair of Magpies brought their offspring to the garden. This year I have only seen the juveniles. Mainly just one by itself but late yesterday I did spot a couple. This time it is the local House Sparrows which can be heard.

Yesterday was a dull cool day but the sun is back this morning so things are looking up again. The one lovely sight to watch late yesterday was a group of about twelve Swallows swooping about the sky over this part of the village. They were too high and too fast to photo or video but very enjoyable to watch as they banked and dived. There must have been a large number of insects for them as they stayed in the same area for well over a quarter of an hour.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around your neighbourhood.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Time Lapse Revisited

A while ago I found a cheap kit for building a time lapse controller so I decided to use that when I rebuilt my circuit.

Here the 350D is set up on my sturdy tripod ready to take a few hundred, 1302 actually, snapshots at 6 second intervals of the clouds yesterday from 5 to 7.15 p.m. The photo is 3 shots (+-1EV) processed as HDR using Photomatrix: Of course 'Santas Little Helper' was supervising!


The controller powered by a 12V battery was on the garden table. I modified the kit so that the controls were easy to use, the original design had them on the circuit board.

Time Lapse Controller

I rested the Lumix on top of the 350D to take this HDRd view. The Canon lens hood is visible at the bottom of the photo. The view is to the East with the Sun directly behind the camera.

Clouds HDR Tonemapped

After processing the 1302 photos using VideoMach this was the result of over two hours hard work on the part of the old Canon.

It would appear the Canon 350D is a good sturdy camera as it is taking a year's worth of photos in an hour or two. I do have access to obtaining another 350D so I think I will buy that as a backup, just in case!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Juvenile Blue Tit

This little beauty has visited several times and had me fooled for a while as it was often accompanied by an adult Great Tit. The photographs didn't do justice to the almost canary yellow of it breast feathers,

Juvenile Blue Tit

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Juvenile Goldfinch

It seems to have been one of those weeks or even fortnights. Very hard to get motivated. There has been very little activity in the garden especially since one of the local raptors appears to have caught a Collared Dove looking at the amount of grey feathers covering next door's back garden. That was a few days ago and since then the numbers of birds visiting has fallen right off.

These are a couple of photos I took when I made the video clip of the juvenile Goldfinch.

Juvenile Goldfinch 2

Juvenile Goldfinch 1

Today I ache all over as I spent a few hours yesterday assembling a couple of bookcases. Wouldn't you just know it - one had a few items missing so now I have to wait until the missing parts are sent before I can finish the job.

Sorry I haven't been looking at the blogs I normally follow. I hope to catch up with all your activities very soon.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Friday at the Flicks (Clouds at Sunset, Juvenile Goldfinch)

This time lapse video was made a short while ago when it looked as though we might get a decent sunset. Unfortunately dark clouds crowded out much of the effect.

Today I was fortunate enough to spot a juvenile Goldfinch at the seed feeder. The weather was very blustery and the bird was having to work hard to maintain its balance on the perch.

It was interesting to not that the juvenile had a mixture of adult wing and tail colouring but still had the mottled front and head of a fledgeling.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Hedgehogs on a Wet Summer Night

If you are a Hedgehog then you just have to shake off the rain and get on with the job of eating.

It looks as though the time they came for their dried mealworms, crushes unsalted peanuts and sunflower hearts was when we got our heaviest rainfall of the day. Overall we had about a third of an inch and so far today (Tuesday) less than a tenth of an inch.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Visitors to the Garden Pond

I have been waiting quite a while to see the return of a Broad Bodied Chaser to the garden. I didn't see any last summer or the summer before that but one had visited two and three years ago. Finally I spotted one yesterday.

Broad Bodied Chaser

It flew around the garden a few times and only landed twice so I was lucky to get a few hurried shots and a short piece of video.

I am very sure that Blue-tailed Damselflies have been breeding in the pond for a while as the numbers seen are gradually increasing year by year. This year I can normally see six flitting about amongst the reeds. This is the first time I have spotted them mating.

Pair of Blue-tailed Damselflies

Various insects come to the pond to drink, flies, wasps and the occasional visit from a Tiger Crane Fly. Their numbers have increased this year as their yellow ochre colouring can often be spotted flying about various areas of the village.

Crane Fly

Filming was difficult as the sunlight was so strong bright colours became washed out and there was a stiff gusty breeze.

Today has started out dull and wet. The garden desperately needs a decent amount of rain though so far today we have only had one hundreth of an inch. The last rainfall was one tenth of an inch on the 29th June.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

An HDRd Summer Afternoon Sky

On our walk yesterday afternoon I took a few bracketed photographs +-1 to see if the HDR result would bring out the cloud formations.

Some of the clouds in the first photo really did look as though they had been painted out of focus on the blue sky. Cannot say I have ever noticed this sort of formation in the past.



Two different processes on the same group of photos here.

HDR Tonemapped

Exposure Fusion

Finally not HDR but a panorama made with six hand held photos. Pity the sky was so washed out.

Panorama Barley Field

On a larger view on Flickr towards the right you can see the spire of Louth parish church standing well above the valley and towards the left is Belmont TV mast standing on top of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

HDR processing done with Photomatrix Pro v3.2 and the panorama stitched using Serif Panorama Plus v2. Photos taken with the Lumix TZ7.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Friday at the Flicks (Surrounded Pigeon, Hungry Young Jackdaws)

Just made it for Friday - combination of a busy day and a sieve for a memory.

These two clips were taken automatically on Thursday morning while I was still in the land of nod.

A Wood Pigeon was becoming surrounded by the early morning invasion of Jackdaws which seem to happen every morning since the youngsters fledged.

A while later the Jackdaws had the food to them selves and the youngsters were as demanding as ever.

When I went out a short while ago to top up the seed feeders I was surprised to find a dead Goldfinch on the ground. Other than being deceased it appeared in perfect condition, its feather in full bright plumage and no noticeable marks to show it may been attacked. Quite a puzzle.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Discretion is the Better Part of Valour

When a larger Hedgehog arrives at your food dish it is definitely better to wait nearby until it has finished eating. This video is running about double speed.

Very little going on at the bird feeders during this hot weather except for the eraly morning invasion of Wood Pigeons, Jackdaws and their broods and Rooks.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

More Prickly Encounters + Giveaway of the Day

Giveaway of the Day has Aiseesoft Total Video Converter available for about another 17 hours at the time of writing. I have installed it (Windozy XP) and it looks a very useful bit of software. In fact I used it to brighten up the following video which was taken at 10.30 p.m. last night. Then the video was completed using Ulead Video Studio, ATVC can crop, cut, merge and save video files in many formats.

Another three way prickly encounter.

A Prickle of Hedgehogs

These are a few photos I took the other day when the Jackdaw was feeding its young in the garden.

Jackdaw Feeding Young 1

Jackdaw Feeding Young 2

Jackdaw Feeding Young 3

Saturday, 3 July 2010

A Prickle of Hedgehogs

I knew there were at least three Hedgehogs which regularly visit the garden at night but last night was the first time I had seen three together at the feeding area.

The way things turn out maybe I should have titled this:
Two is Company but Three is a Crowd.

That is not a lightning flash near the end but me trying to get a photograph from the kitchen window, not very successfully.

3 Hedgehogs

I did manage to get one of a Hedgehog having a drink.

Hedgehog Drinking

Friday, 2 July 2010

Friday at the Flicks (Jackdaw Feeding Juvenile, Clouds)

Hot off the press, camcorder anyway, this morning is some video of an adult Jackdaw feeding one of its youngsters. I first spotted one juvenile by itself under the Birdy Bistro but an adult near the end of the garden spotted me and flew over to fetch the young one away to safety. Fortunately they stayed under the far feeders while I set up the camcorder.

It's a slow job when you have to find each seed and strip the husk off before you can give it to your offspring. Plenty of noisy Sparrows nearby!

I had rebuilt my electronic gizmo which fires the 350D at fixed, chosen intervals and set the camera up in the garden last Tuesday to give it its final test run. Fascinating on a hot afternoon the way each cloud bubbles up and disappears and the way winds blow them in different directions at various levels.

956 photos (one taken every 6 seconds)  make up this video clip which was automatically produced using VideoMach.

 Have a great weekend observing the natural world around you.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Who Likes a Jam Sandwich?

I enjoy a jam sandwich

Who Likes a Jam Sandwich

So would I if I could get near it

Stock Dove

Don't fly away, I'm hungry too

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