Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the totally devastating.

The Bad weather has largely stayed with us although, as I type this, there is glorious sunshine lighting up my back garden. Three days in Chester could have made things bad too other than for the fact that I managed to stop at a reserve at Prees Heath, near Whitchurch in Shropshire which is the last Midlands stronghold of the Silver Studded Blue butterfly. I also had a visit to Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB reserve about 10 miles from mums towards the Wirral, with my brother Alan.

I have had some cracking shots this week, I am really chuffed with my photography, starting with some Grasshopper shots which I think are possibly my best ever.

Both were caught at Prees, I had a great time there although the sun was only peeping its face through the clouds occasionally. I got my first ever picture of a Small Heath butterfly, I can't recall having seen one before either so that was a bonus.

The star of the two visits to Prees Heath was undoubtedly the Silver studded Blue. A stunningly pretty butterfly.

and a real bonus was catching a pair locked together mating,

It really shows the difference between the male and the female, I love this picture. I quite like this next one too.

In addition to the butterflies there were some really interesting Fungi on the heath, firstly is this Puffball. I cannot identify the species other than it could possibly be simply a common Puffball.

secondly there was a fungi that caught my eye in a small group, it has a green colour to it and again I cannot identify it other than possibly The Charcoal Burner, or Grass Green Russula. It was located near to Birch trees.

The trip to Burton Mere RSPB reserve with my brother was a chance for him to impress me with his photgraphy skills and for us to chase dragonflies. We did see Common Darter and Brown Hawker whizzing about the place but didn't get chance to photograph them. I did get a nice shot of a Blue tailed Damselfly

and my first shot this year of a Gatekeeper butterfly.

Alan hasn't had chance to go through his shots yet, he's a busy lad holding down 2 jobs, but when he lets me have a couple we'll see how he's coming along, he did have what looked like a corker of a female Common Blue damselfly on his camera so I'm looking forward to seeing that.

Back to Herefordshire and making the most of the sunshine these last two days I've been out chasing butterflies and dragonflies, with mixed results. The only dragonfly I got was 3 frames of a Common Darter.

I have however had some lovely butterflies, Gatekeeper,

Marbled White,

and an extremely lucky, the only one I saw in over an hour of looking, the beautiful, Wood White.

as you can see he was in very shadowy cover so a bugger to try and process. I have to be honest I wasn't confident of finding one but Haugh Woods (pronounced Hoff) are a stronghold to a good colony. I thought it might be a little late in the year too but lets be honest this is a strange year with things appearing to be all out of kilter. I was really pleased to catch sight and photo this little character.

Its Caterpillar time as well isn't it and this week I've photographed two differing types, firstly Peacock and secondly Cinnabar Moth.

All in all not a bad week. Until the Totally devastating.....I banged my Tamron lens and have completely knackered it, I thought about getting it fixed but I don't doubt that it will cost as much to fix as a new one would cost me to buy, so I'm going to save my pennies and buy another because I think for the money, around 120.00 new, its been a fabulous lens, with the exception of the marbled and wood butterflies all of the shots this week have been taken with it. I have loved the lens the 180-300 macro has enabled me to get good close shots without having to stand right over the subject, I don't doubt it doesn't compare to lenses like the Canon 180 macro but it has given me a lot of joy this last month or so.

Finally, isnt it funny that you go years without seeing, or at least noticing a species of bug, then you get a shot of one for the first time, and suddenly you start seeing them more and more. I posted a shot of a long horn beetle Strangalia maculata in one of the last posts and I've seen a few since, today I saw two mating and managed the following shot, then a little later I saw another all on its own in a different location.

Nice weather apparently for a few days now so hopefully another post soon. Make sure you come back and have a look, and don't forget click on images for larger versions.