Author Archives: Words

Missing Brush

A long while since I’ve blogged, but I’ve been continuing to monitor the foxes. Recently I’d noticed one particular fox on the nightcam who seemed to be holding her brush awkwardly. For a while I thought it was being held up and curved away from the camera, in something of a defensive pose. As these few photos show (taken a couple of nights ago), the posture is physical, not behavioural. At some point, this beautiful little fox has lost half her brush. I suspect it was caused by an injury (though how or when I don’t know), but other than that she looks fantastically healthy.

fox with partially missing brush

Stumpy showing the loss of her brush

She has tended to stay at the rear of the garden, but does socialize with Wolfy (though Wolfy is steadfastly dominant). Here’s a couple more shots of her.

fox with partially missing brush

fox with partially missing brush

More soon… hopefully!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens.

Posted in Foxes Tagged , |

Summer Swallows

If one swallow doesn’t make a summer, then I think I can safely say summer arrived today (even though it may be short lived).

With the sun shining I headed over to Sheepcote Valley this afternoon. As always I have my eyes open for kestrels (I saw one, way up high), but it was the swooping swallows that caught my eye. This season’s broods have now fledged and the adults were in frenzy of insect catching to feed countless hungry mouths. The fledglings were in smalls groups, perching on low bushes along the side of Brighton race track. There were sheep grazing in the valley, but they were happy to ignore me as I settled down for a long afternoon of swallow-watching.

I’m still working through the shots I took, but here are a few that I’ve processed quickly and am blogging now as otherwise I may never catch up!

fledgling swallows

Four fledgling swallows waiting patiently to be fed.

Adult swallow feeding fledgling

Adult swallow feeding fledgling

adult swallow feeding fledgling

Adult delivering an insect meal

Adult swallow feeding fledgling

Adult swallow feeding fledgling

Fledgling swallow

Fledgling swallow

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Posted in Birds Tagged , , |

Ant Hill Mob

A few weeks ago as part of tidying up the garden we dug out a long-standing ant-hill that was in the middle of the lawn. The ants weren’t too happy, but they’d had a long run of several years undisturbed and it was time for them to move on.

The lawn has now recovered with some re-seeding, and the ants – so it appears – have found a perfectly good new home. This was the sight that greeted me when I opened our compost bin earlier in the week.

ant colony with pupae

Ant colony with a huge number of eggs pupae. The dark areas are
tunnels leading down into the compost bin

You can clearly see the tunnels they are building down into the compost, a little bit like a hive. There are a huge number of eggs pupae (larger than the ants) on the surface, plus some large winged ants, though vast majority are the standard small worker ant. I’m trying not to disturb them too often as once daylight hits the surface they go into a frenzy of moving everything.

ant colony with winged ants

There are several winged ants among the mass

ants moving pupae
ants moving pupae

Close-up of ants and eggs pupae

The major problem with the colony is that they make the compost more or less unusable, so we may have to start again entirely. The ants are safe for the time-being!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

edited 20/6/19 to correct references to eggs to ‘pupae’
Posted in Ants, Insects, Wildlife Tagged |