Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Just hang on a sec ..............

If you're in a hurry, stop here! Sorry this is a long post, but it's mostly pictures, so not that bad really. The pictures below are all incidentals - not the target of the time out, but seen and snapped along the way.
To start a fledgling blackbird, trying to find it's way back into the hedge while I was hunting whitethroats.

Most, however have been a consequence of a new addition to the family - a 2 year old rescue border collie.
One thing we do now is walk! I have taken to bringing my pocket digital camera (in a pocket), and have been pleasantly surprised by the results, even if my requests to 'hang on a sec' aren't always welcomed! Compared to my usual macro lens the difference is that this takes wide-angle close-ups, showing more of the background. Not the shot for the classic detail, but I quite like them.

Slow worm

Rhingia campestris
Empis spp. Predatory species found in a hedgerow, most often prey in hand. The last shot shows what I take to be 2 mating empids and a prey fly.

I think a digger wasp. I'm no entomologist, so please correct any mistakes!
Ichneumon spp.
Green shield bug

Soldier beetle
Cricket nymph - pretty sure dark bush cricket, no idea which instar.

Ermine moth caterpillar webs

Unidentified caterpillar - please let me know if you recognise this one.

Holly blue

Speckled wood
Common wave (?)
Next some micromoths. some of these are surprisingly pretty up close.

Adela reaumurella clustering on a tree. I especially like the 'through the leaf'' shot.

Unknown spp
Unknown spp
Unknown spp
Alabonia geoffrella
Phyllobius pomaceus - showing blue green and gold green variants

and to conclude the now hatched larva of the green dock beetles I posted about a couple of weeks ago.
Thanks for sticking with it - just be grateful I didn't include the flowers shots!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby ..............

A post or two ago I wrote about the rather chaotic flight of our local cockchafers, but they weren't the only insects I've come across recently flying like that.
Whilst standing in a country lane, remote camera trigger in hand, waiting for a whitethroat to land on the target post I watched a hornet fly down the lane and swing into the hedge. A second later I was shocked by a bright pink ball of confusion that shot out the hedge, bounced around the lane and then seemed to disappear. My first thought as some kind of beetle, but on closer inspection I actually found a moth, although not the stunning pink I had first glimpsed.
Then again look at those stockings. Just a hint of pink maybe?
It flew onto a leaf showing a little more colour,
but it was when it surprisingly flew up and landed on my hand that I could finally confirm my first impression. I didn't get any pictures of it in flight, but my books say in the south the hindwings are pink, whereas in the north they are grey.
It's a Ruby Tiger - apparently not uncommon, and one I would love to find again. In the south.
And yes, that's the camera trigger in my hand.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Willow wren

In addition to the blog I show my pictures on some picasa web albums. It allows you to see how many time shots have been viewed, and so I know I generally have a select audience! However 2 years ago - almost to the day - I posted a picture of a wood warbler, and started to receive many more comments than usual. In the end 89,631 people have looked at the picture. I was amazed, but in time found it was because it had been selected as a 'featured photo'. It wasn't a great shot, although I suppose the woodland and overcast conditions gave it a certain atmosphere. That was the only time I had ever tried to snap wood warblers, so I decided it was time to try again.
They can be frustrating, liking to sing quite high up meaning that lovely white breast is often cast in shade - if you can get the bird into any sunlight anyway, and in full song the head is thrown back meaning many shots are largely torso. I found one quite quickly, and it wasn't completely anti-social, although there was certain vampiric tendency to avoid the sun. So here are a few of the better snaps, but let's be clear, I'll be very happy if 89 people have a look!

If you want to see some better quality versions have a look at the web albums! By the way at one time, until the Revd Gilbert White came along, the name willow wren was given to what we now recognise as three different warblers - willow, wood and chiffchaff.
If you want to see some really nice wood warbler shots have a look HERE and HERE at Rich Steel's blog (always quality), or HERE at Chris Grady's album including some shots of birds with food.