Wednesday, 4 June 2014

So much for the good weather!

What a change in the weather we've had these last few days. Very few opportunities to get out and about. Fortunately when the opportunity has presented itself I haven't had to go too far in search of stuff to photograph.

Mostly little stuff to be honest but a trip to Wellington gave me a nice view of a Whitethroat.

I've cropped it in a bit as it was surrounded by foliage, nice to see it busy feeding its young. In exactly the same area as the year before last. Everything is busy with young now, if we get a few nice days together I will definately spend more time trying to photo other stuff there.
The 4 spotted Chasers are about in huge numbers now, I caught this one with the 600 lens.

I also caught a freshly emerged Black Tailed Skimmer, check out Smugmug for that.

Nearer to home I saw something I've never seen before, a swarm of Honey Bees, they were in a hedge on the country park

The quality isn't brilliant as it was taken with the macro lens at a distance. There must have been several thousands of bees in the swarm with lots also flying around.

Quite a few bits of small stuff have kept me glued to the computer and books trying to confirm identities, some of the easier ones are here.

Harlequinn Ladybirds,

This Flesh fly, why is it that these give me the creeps? Is it purely because the name conjures up all manner of images?

This beautiful micro moth, Nemophora Degeerella.

and a final stage Oak Eggar moth caterpillar

Absolutely stunning in my opinion.

Things in my garden have been hectic too, I've had the Blue tits fledge from the nest box, I was a little worried about this chap as it seemed very tiny and hung around my patio for over 24 hrs.

But its parents made sure it didn't go without its fair share of food.Roxy, my Westie, was extremely gentle around it. I was concerned that she would try and kill it but she didn't. she merely had a sniff once or twice. At one point I lifted it off the patio onto a low branch of a big climber plant I have up one part of the garden fence. I was concerned that if Roxy didn't get it the magpies would. Its parent found it no problem and it sat on the branch very contentedly until after tea when I stopped checking.

Poor old parents are looking extremely ragged as usual after raising the young.

I've had Goldfinch and Greenfinch in the garden regularly, the Greenies are extremely flighty so only a Goldie to show you I'm afraid.

I've also had Great spotted woodpecker and a plethora of Squirrels, with four in the garden at once on a few occasions.

I saw my first Large Skipper of the year, I think, yesterday. I don't think it was a Large Skipper, it definately was, but I think it was the first I've seen this year so far, I also am reasonably confident that I saw a Painted Lady on Sunday but it didn't stop and my eyesight isn't brilliant so I couldn't swear on it.

I went for a walk with the children around Cannop Ponds in the FOD on Sunday too and a lovely evening we had, I got pics of a Green Tiger Beetle and a Dor Beetle which can both be seen on the Smugmug gallery in my links.

Springwatch is back and I think its been better this year, so far, than the last few years, I was particularly interested to see the piece about Cuckoo's. There seems to have been a lot more photos on Birdguides this year of Cuckoos, I wonder if it's because there are more around this year or maybe it's just because there are shed loads more people out there with cameras. What do you think?

Anyways, sun is predicted for tomorrow (thurs) so I will be up early with the camera.

Oh yes just one more story to tell you. A nearby friend who lives on the side of the Belmont pool claims he'd seen what he believed to have been an otter, two nights on the trot, on the roadside by the lake, during the night between 1.30 and 3.30. He suffers with his feet too and is often unable to sleep so he sits looking out at the road infront of his house, He was convinced it was too big to be a mink.

Well, I thought about it and decided I would give up a few hours last night (Tues/weds) and go and sit and see what turned up. So at 12.30 I drove my car up there and parked far enough back from where he'd seen it, but still close enough to have a good view, and waited. I had my camera with me, with the 300mm lens thereon. At 01.15 a juvenile Fox trotted passed, and didn't stop, and during my 2hr 45 mins vigil two cats came by. No sign of an otter. However at 01.40 the ducks on the lake started to make a racket, something was clearly disturbing them, there was a lot of splashing and quacking, this went on for almost an hour and at one point it was so loud I thought something must be chasing the birds. I didn't see anything though and after an hour it calmed down to quietness again. I was intrigued.
Whilst sitting and waiting, and this is the point of my tale, I decided to test the 5D and see if it would work in very low light. I played about with it and tried lots of different ISO settings etc, and I was amazed at how good the pictures of the cats and the fox were that I took. Don't get me wrong there was shed loads of noise evident even in camera, but with no flash I couldn't believe I was getting clear shots of my subject matter at all, just by the street lighting. Unfotunately, and this is the depressing bit, I can't show you because in my half addled sleepy state when I got back in I erased them.
But should I be tempted to go and have another go one night soon I will keep a few shots. Suffice to say, I was mega impressed.