Category Archives: horse

A few recent shots…

I’ve somewhat lost the thread of blogging regularly, but I have still been out with the camera and have picked up a few interesting images on the way. This is therefore something of an eclectic collection of recent photos that I quite like. I will include some fox updates as well.

The most recent photos were yesterday when I spent an hour or so at Falmer pond. It was very quiet on the bird front, but I did find a nice spot where a couple of rats were playing by the water’s edge. They tend to keep to the runs just under the lip of the edge of the pond, so for much of the time they are hidden from view. I got this shot, which is one of my favourites from yesterday from across a corner of the pond.

rat

Rat perched on a tree root running underneath the overhanging lip of Falmer Pond.

I also quite like this one of one of the rats swimming. The pond is a complete mess at the moment… leaves cluttering it among the blue-green algae and generally looking grubby. But that’s fine for Rattus norvegicus.

rat

Rat swimming in Falmer Pond

This next shot was also taken at Falmer, at the tail end of October on a day where the low sun was creating some beautiful autumn colour. It’s a simple shot, but it took an age for anything to swim across the reflected colour and add a little details. So many thanks to this little moorhen for taking up the baton.

moorhen on golden pond

Moorhen on Falmer Pond as the sun is setting

I’m now going back a full month to October 9th, when I stumbled across a race meeting at Brighton Racecourse (otherwise known as Sheepcote Valley (the track runs across a public access area). It was a lovely sunny day, and I had plenty of time to work out what I wanted to do. As well as plenty of hard ‘racing’ shots I also played around with long-shutter panning shots as the riders cantered up to the starting boxes.

race horse

This is Barrsbrook cantering to the start of the 3.30 race, ridden by Hector Crouch. He finished 2nd.

The horse is Junoesque cantering to the start of the 3.30 race, ridden by Charile Bennett. It finished 4th.

horse race

Some hard racing action

horse racing

The 3.30 race. Horse 6 is Military Madame ridden by David Probert. It finished 11th.

Now to the foxes… As I think I have previously mentioned, the young foxes have crept away as autumn and winter set in. This happens every year, though sometimes one youngster will be allowed to stay close to their birth territory. Last year it was Pretty, who has remained a constant visitor for 18 months or so. She is now the only regular fox we see, though there are others lurking. A couple of nights ago we noticed she had an injured ear. She wasn’t too concerned and injuries are very much a part of the fox’s life. Hopefully it will clear up quickly. It’s possible she has been in a fight over territory, but it is very difficult to keep track of vulpine social organisation. Anyway, the wound is fairly obvious in this shot.

fox with wounded ear

Pretty, with wound to her right ear (left of image). Taken on 7/11/18.

Prior to that she has been on really good form, and back at the beginning of November posed beautifully at the top of our 5 foot garden hedge. It has been some time since she has done this, and the trigger may have been a small cat who sometimes visits the garden.

fox on the top of garden hedge

Pretty sitting pretty atop an 5 foot high hedge

With the other foxes keeping their distance Pretty has been the mainstay of the Fox of the Day page. I try to keep that fairly varied (at least in the style of photo), but at this time of the year it can be difficult so I was delighted when a different fox appeared last night. I have caught glimpses of it before, but it’s very shy and usually has scuttled away before I have any chance of taking a picture. Last night the balance of food or flight played into my hands and so here is the newest fox in the garden.

fox at night

Unidentified shy fox

To bring this right up to date, here’s one more photo of Pretty from which it appears her right ear is healing up nicely. This was taken a few minutes ago in a howling wind and lashing rain. She was fine about the weather but I wasn’t going to stay outside for too long.

fox in the rain

Pretty in the rain. Her wounded ear appears to be improving.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM or EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens.

Also posted in Foxes, rats, Wildlife Tagged , , , , |

Horses at Falmer

I took a slightly different route out today and spent some time on the other side of the A27 in what is now North Falmer (the village is split in two by the A27). This is a view across the South Downs National Park, which – thanks to a government u-turn tonight under pressure from Labour – will now be protected from fracking.

fields

Falmer fields, part of the South Downs National Park

There are usually some horses around, and today was no exception.

Horses

horse

Nicely wrapped up against the chill.

The closing shot today is included for its curiosity. I swear these doves think they’re ducks.

Collared doves

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Also posted in Birds, Farming, Landscape, South Downs National Park Tagged , , |

Out in the Fields

Today was definitely a taste of summer, and too good to miss a chance to head out to the local downland fields at lunchtime. There was just enough of a breeze to keep things comfortable, and the views are always good even if there’s little else around.

Horse in field at Falmer

A few yellowhammers were down at ground level, feeding.

yellowhammer

I’d all but given up and was heading away when I noticed a slight inconsistency in the distance. Peering through the camera I could just make out a couple of foxes at the edge of the field. They were by some dense shrubs and were warming themselves in the sunshine.

Two foxes in field at Falmer

Two foxes in field at Falmer

The third shot was taken a few minutes later after they had retreated back under cover. I was actually photographing the rabbit in the top of the frame and only spotted the fox lurking near the bottom of the image later on.

fox and rabbit

On another day I’ll do better (I can hardly do worse), but it’s always a treat to get photos of foxes in fields.

Back on campus the blue tits are still actively feeding their young. The adult pair was gathering food so quickly that they almost crashed into each other as one was entering and the other leaving the nest box.

Two blue tits

It can’t be too long now before the young fledge. I’d really like to see that, but since I don’t know quite when that will be and my time is constrained I’ll need a fair slice of luck.

The final photo tonight is to make up for all the eye strain in picking out the daytime foxes. This is the nicked ear fox in the garden this evening.

fox in long grass

Camera note: all daytime photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens. The nicked-ear fox was taken with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

Also posted in Birds, Farming, Foxes Tagged , , , |