Friday, 21 September 2012

With a mind to a move.

With my mind on moving back up north I have stopped feeding the birds in my garden and my don't I notice the difference. I only get the odd visitor at the moment but I feel it is better to stop now than suddenly stop at the end of October when there may be less natural food around and they may be more dependent on it.

Photography wise I have continued with the bugs, with a little bit of swan and duck thrown in. I have found a couple of new bugs to show you, and one from an amazing set of photographs that I was fortunate to grab before getting soaked.

Lets start with the swan and duck.

Despite the sun, it was quite cold and windy a real taster for winter. Not fully in true colours yet but getting there. The swans have become incredibly used to humans now, with many people being able to feed the cygnets by hand.

The bugs have been great fun again, I really love doing them and I feel a lot fitter having walked around and around the park and fields nearby. I have shown you a couple of Troilus Luridus larva but finally this week I got an adult, it is identifiable by the yellow on the last but one segment of its antennas.

I also got my first picture of a Vine Weevil, It was on the path on the new part of the estate up from me, I was dressed in Camo trousers, Camo baseball hat and green Tee shirt, laying flat on my belly, ok maybe not dead flat, totally involved with what I was doing when an M.O.D police car came up and stopped alongside me. He was obviously suspicious of a man in full camo on the estate and I showed him some of the shots I had taken to put his mind at rest.

A washed out Small Copper came my way, nice but terribly washed out.

and a new hoverfly.

You may remember that Harvestman that I got the other week, well I got one again with a little bit more focus.

Finally the shot I have been most wanting to show you, you will have seen pictures of Dragonflies doing this, even Butterflies, but have you ever seen this? I think its a Dockleaf Shield bug as it was on the edge of a huge patch of the things and it has the right shape to it. I would happily accept if you know different.

I found it when looking for insects on an old rotted tree trunk, caught it out of the corner of my eye. Had to get on my belly again, its getting to be too much of a habit. amazing to watch it gently pushing its way out, unfortunately although I would have loved to have watched it complete the change it started to pour down so I had to make a break for the shelter of the trees and then home. Truly, truly wonderful to see.

Hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I have obtaining the shots.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Not giving up without a fight.

I think I may have spoken too soon last week, there was I casting the summer into the distance when in  reality it was right there all around me still giving its all.

Friday saw me doing dragonflies in beautiful sunlight, who'd have thought that eh? It was a good week really I intended to do a bit of birding but having looked at my garden visitors I don't think they are quite ready yet. I have a bald headed Blackbird that comes to my garden so I stuck to the bugs. Funnily enough they seemed to want to make it easy for me with no less than 3 shield bugs being found in or around my house. unfortunately two were dead, I am confident that one of them was a Birch shield bug, and the other a Forest shield bug. Roxy found the living bug in my lounge, that too was a Forest Bug.

in adult stage.

I found Hawthorn shield bug in various stages. From a very early stage,

Right up to adult stage.

Its very difficult to find some of these bugs. I have literally looked at hundreds of Hawthorn bushes, although that makes a change from the hundreds of bramble bushes I looked for Sloe bugs in. A couple of posts ago I said that I'd seen lots of Green Shield bug larva but no adults, well it must be the right time of the year now as I have seen quite a few.

Something slightly different this week came in the form of this little critter.

I believe that it is a Notostera Elongata. This is a female of the species I believe. I also had the luck to come across a particularly sweet example of the Scorpion fly.

I tried to get a crab spider and managed a reasonable shot but it wouldn't stop still.

It is possibly the nicest arachnid isn't it?

Dragonflies were mentioned at the beginning of this post, I spent possibly the best 2 hours or so of my time this year at the side of a largely overgrown pool watching and trying to photograph Southern Hawkers, Migrant Hawkers, Common Darters, Ruddy Darters and Common Blue Damselflies. But in all honesty if I had not clicked the shutter once during that time it still would have been fabulous experience. I had Common Darter land on my arm and chest, I had Hawkers hovering so close in front of my 300mm lens that I could not focus on them, but the highlight of the day was a female Sparrowhawk that flew over my head and across infront of me on two occasions. On the second occasion she hit a blackbird in a bush about 50 yards away, I wasn't close enough to photograph it and she was up and off very quickly, but wow what an experience.

I did get a few shots, but due to the position of the sun and the growth around the pond they weren't quite what I would have loved. For that I would have needed to have been standing in the water and my name is not Chris Grady.

A mix of Migrant, Common Darter, and Southern there.

On a slightly different note I am intending to move up north again soon, back to Chester, I am hoping it will have all happened by the end of October, If it does I am so looking forward to winter waders etc on the Dee estuary. My mother has struggled with winter for the last two years so I am moving nearer to be of help to her and my siblings.