Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 126.96.36.199
Is your visitor using some ordinary human browser?
Are the non-footer images getting loaded all in one gulp, the way you'd expect with a human?
You can hide "block elements" in browsers supporting the web developer extension. Not sure whether this is a rendering adjustment or just a display feature.
some images are thumbnails pertinent to the page body content
So they're unique to the page-- not something that might already be in the browser's cache from earlier visits?
I see some of the handhelds doing strange things with images requests (anywhere from 5-minutes to multiple hours later) retrieving images that are linked from a previous page visit.