Friday, July 29, 2011

Project 2011

If you read the wildlife photography books they all say that to get the best shots you need to get to know your target, put your time in on one thing rather than just going out to see what you can find.  Over the last couple of years I've put this into practice more than in the past - 2009 was Rich's field, 2010 was my woodland puddle, and for me both paid dividends, and pleasingly both were within a few miles of home.
For 2011 I had a new plan, closer to home than ever.
I'll explain more in the next post, but for now here's a taster, hopefully to whet your appetite!
The first to appear in front of the lens was a real treat.  This was my best view yet of a green woodpecker - completely unexpected and not seen since.
More birds followed, blackbird
and as a reassuring pointer to the fact that the absence of a hide wasn't a deterrent a succession of normally shy corvids -  magpie
a moulting crow
and one of my faves a jay.  Well several in fact.
For once though birds weren't the target.  The squirrels were a bit wary
and with the rabbit I finally felt I was on track.
Knowing rabbits were around got my mouth watering.  And it seemed I wasn't the only one licking my lips ........
(Click on the pic for a bigger view - it really is licking it's lips!).

More to follow soon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Orchid bees and bee orchids

I'm acutely aware that I haven't posted much recently. Partly that's because life has been quite busy, partly because the dog means I'm not out with my 'real' camera so much (but lots of snaps with the pocket camera to come) and partly because I have a new project on the go - quite a lot of effort for not too much return so far, but like all such projects I live in hope! Certainly there will be some pictures to come in time.
Anyway I did take some flower snaps the other weekend. I'm no orchid expert, and I'm always taken aback by the variety of form individual orchid types can take, but I think these are all common spotted orchids despite the varying flower heads.

Some were growing in a local meadow (not Rich's this time, but Paul's), along with yellow rattle - the grass parasite that helps control the more rampant grasses that might otherwise swamp the flowers - ........
and this vetch - I think birdsfoot trefoil, but there were no seed heads to enable confirmation.
Over at Newport wetlands I found a vetch I recognised instantly - even though I had never seen it before - the grass vetchling. I first heard of it when Rich and Nic told me that they had found a specimen in their developing hay meadow. It's just as Nic described - typical pea flowers on the stems and leaves of a grass. Nice plant but tricky to photograph - tall and slim it's mostly fresh air!

The real aim of going to the wetlands was to see if 2011 was a better year for one of my real favourites - the last 2 hadn't been so good. Whilst snapping the grass vetchling a soft pink caught my eye, and sure enough it was my first bee-orchid for 3 years. With a bit more looking I found more, and eventually some I could snap with a more uncluttered background. Aren't these flowers just the bee's-knees! (Sorry).

I really do love them. Again they can be tricky to snap given the relatively narrow plane of focus macro lenses often have. Front to back it's a lot of flower to get sharp.
Larger pic's and a few more will appear on the web albums over the next few days, so do have a look.