August Meeting – addendum and apology!

I must apologise to all present at our August meeting, and in particular to Colin for omitting to mention in my previous post, the other significant part of the evening.

Apparently with very little notice, Colin put together an amazing montage of video clips of wildlife which he’s photographed around Colin and Yvonne’s garden and stream over the last few years.  And all captured with camera and software equipment which Colin has put together himself. What a clever chap!

Everyone present was thrilled with all the clips we were shown – a diverse range of herons, buzzards and owls taking frogs from their pond; otters, dippers,  sparrowhawks and gooseanders along their stream, and amazing footage of sparrowhawks and bird feeders with a woodpecker snucking behind the feeder as the sparrowhawk approached, and only then flying off fast to safety, as the sparrowhawk passed the feeder.

This was truly inspirational stuff and a fascinating insight into how lucky we are to have all this wildlife visiting our gardens – even if we rarely witness much of the action in person.

I don’t have any of Colin’s images to include, though perhaps I might be able to persuade him to provide links to some of the clips for anyone unable to make the meeting last week?

My sole and rather feeble excuse for this glaring omission is that we’ve had 5 grandchildren and their parents with us over the bank holiday, which rather tired me out and distracted me.

However,  one of the pluses of their visit was more frequent trips down to our stream, and as a result seeing for the first time ever on our stream (as indeed on one of Colin’s memorable video clips) the iridiscent blue flash and blur of a passing kingfisher.

Colin explained that these are likely to be juvenile birds expanding into new territory, and that our type of upland stream probably wouldn’t support birds year round, but still a great thrill to see it, even if my photos of it as I whizzed round give just a brief impressionistic flash of blue. Much later after scanning several times the 6 images I’d taken in 2 bursts on the camera as it flashed away from me, with explosive white droppings left in a trail, I could make out it had actually settled on a perch beneath the willow branches…

Though I’m still perplexed by the other blue in the images amongst the leaves – there are no blue flowers there.  Might these have been other kingfishers??? 

Finally readers may know, but I didn’t until 2 days ago, that the vibrant blue flash and feathers we all associate with kingfisher feathers could be considered to be an optical illusion.  This type of blue is known as a “structural colour”. The feathers contain no actual blue pigment, unlike the orange pigment granules in their breast feathers. The back feathers are actually brown, but are covered in a very thin and intricately arranged transparent layer of tissue which selectively reflects more blue light than any other frequency, so we perceive them as being blue.

Click here to read more if interested, on this quite recently discovered information!

So many thanks indeed again to Colin, for a brilliant bonus to our evening, and any chance of some links to some of the clips, Colin??

 

 

 

 

 

 

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