In reality this was taken last Tuesday when the temperature here reached 28.4C according to my weather records. Though the sky was mainly blue there was a fair amount of whispy white cloud to be seen. In spite of that the solar filter I use on the camera seemed to cut through enough to show Sunspot 2579 which can be seen near the centre:
Again on Friday there was another opportunity while the sky seemed virtually cloudless:
This time I think Sunspot 2580 is just about visible towards 5 o'clock and 2581 towards 8 o'clock.
Yesterday evening was not one of Penny's favourites when a change in the weather brought heavy rain and thunder storms. Fortunately we were near the edge of the storms which moved through South Lincolnshire, the Wash and North Norfolk.
This is something I have been wanting to film for quite a while and was in the way of an experiment. I couldn't find a spare piece of glass to film through from underneath so ended up with a section of clear plastic which I cleaned up as best I could. This was the rough and ready set up in the kitchen:
Fortunately the monitor screen on the 70D can be flipped round which enabled me to see what the camera could see without having to stand on my head. It took longer to find a snail than it did to set up and film. A few days ago, after heavy rain, I couldn't move for them covering the paths. The day I chose for the experiment was hot and I had to look under endless pots and stones before finding one.
The 70D was used to film from underneath and I used the pocket Nikon hand held to film from above:
Sparkly bits are just reflections of the lighting.
The sound track is 'Stale Mate' by Jingle Punks from the YouTube Audio Library.
When I find a piece of glass I will have another go at this as the plastic was still a bit misty which blurred the fine detail but you can see the 'foot' rippling as it moves forwards.
Wednesday I spent a very pleasant three quarters of an hour watching a Migrant Hawker Dragonfly as it hunted round my garden, every so often stopping to rest, always on the same leaf:
Many dragons are not afraid of people. It would often fly within a few feet of my head as it zoomed round looking for its next meal. Unfortunately never hovering in one place long enough to give me the chance of a flight shot.
Mid August is usually the time when a few Dragonflies visit the garden pond. Not to breed like the Damselflies, I think they come just to feed as there is plenty of small insect life. Today it was the turn of two male Common Darters. One had chosen a particular vantage point on the old branches I set up in the forlorn hope a Kingfisher may use them one day:
As usual its head was in almost constant movement as those large eyes sought out the next meal. Nor did it stay still for very long, constantly taking off for a short flight and always returning to the same spot. I tried to get a flight shot but this was the nearest. I caught it just as it was landing.
All were taken with the Canon 70D fitted with a 100-400mm zoom lens used at maximum zoom. As the minimum focal distance is around 6m I was usually about 20ft away which meant Mr Dragon didn't bother about me taking his likeness and the background was well out of focus. All photos are crops.
As we walked past a hedge on our early walkies this morning a moth flew out, landed briefly on Penny's back and then carried on across the lane to rest on a fence:
This was only my second sighting of a Magpie Moth, Abraxas grossulariata. From a distance it was bending in fairly well with the wood so I doubt I would have noticed it if it hadn't flown across our path.
On our early walkabouts several Magpies can often be heard making their very distinctive cackling sound. They usually stay up on the roof tops though one morning I did see one chasing a Sparrowhawk out of the neighbourhood. Occasionally one or two can be seen in the garden like this cheeky looking juvenile:
I always know when they are around as the noise they make is very distinctive:
There were two of them in the garden and for the first time saw what they were up to. I had regularly seen broken egg shells in various parts of the garden. Soon after the video was taken one arrived back in the tree with an egg in its beak. As it was from a Wood Pigeon nest I was quite pleased the Magpies were helping to curtail their ever increasing numbers.
Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.
I must go around with my eyes shut on our daily perambulations. Yesterday was the first time I had noticed a Sunflower growing next to the cricket field. It's not as though it is a miniature. Far from it.
It is probably the tallest I have actually seen with my own eyes:
I usually grow a few myself though they never grow to that sort of height.
Last Spring I forgot all about stealing a few seeds from the birds' supply.
Decided to have a look to see what life was sharing the Summer House.
Until I processed the photos I though I was looking at one spider but when I looked closely there seemed to be too many legs. These focus stacked photos were taken about half an hour apart.
No good asking me what is going on here:
My best guesses give two possibilities.
Two spiders mating
Two spiders having a slow motion battle.