Well we have had a bit of an Indian Summer haven't we? Day after day of sunny weather with a fair few still days thrown in. But as luck would have it I have been almost completely unable to make hay whilst the sun shone due to a clumsy accident with my camera kit whilst out doing some macro work on the park near my house.
Whilst out on the park I saw a lady with two dogs coming towards me, I know that some dogs seem fascinated by my camera on its tripod, some bark at it, some sniff it some even try to cock their leg on it. Mostly whilst I've got a firm grip on it. These two dogs were two smallish terriers, so I thought I'd stand the tripod up and kneel down and stroke them, thus keeping them off the kit. however something went wrong, I don't know if I knocked the tripod or the ground was uneven but suddenly the tripod was laying flat on the ground slightly behind me. Worse still the flash unit was not on the camera.
Once the lady had gone and I'd spouted off a few silent expletives I went home to check the kit. The flash unit was clearly a right off, the hot shoe had broken into two pieces. but on the face of it other than the hot shoe housing on the camera being a tad wobbly, it didn't appear damaged.
Unfortunately though when I next used the camera with not only the macro lens but others I realised that all was not well. So an insurance claim it had to be. I'm with a company called Home Protect, but they are underwritten by Axa Ins, and once again despite claiming for my lens last year, I was not let down by them they agreed to repair the lens and camera and replace the flash unit at a total cost of £880 all bar a few pence. I got the camera back on the 7th Oct.
I was without a camera and very frustrated as my Hoverfly list wasn't getting any bigger and the end of insect time is fast approaching. I have purchased a Fuji finepix bridge camera to play with but, its only any good for standard photos.
Since getting the camera back I've been mostly tied up with Fungi. I now have over 60 confirmed types of fungus on my website. I have about as many again that I've not been able to positively identify, even with the help of the fantastic Jo Weightman who I've told you all about before from the Hereford Fungus Survey Group. Fungi identification is very hard when you get beyond the obvious species and as Jo says even the best photo and description of where it was taken can't beat having the specimen in hand. Jo has a fabulous knowledge of the subject and thankfully doesn't mind too much that I send her photos of what I've found after I've done my best at identifying what it is myself. Sometimes it's just a case of asking her for confirmation and then I'm really chuffed if I've got one right.
I finished the season off with 34 confirmed hoverfly species on my list. I also purchased a fabulous book written by Stuart Ball and Roger Morris, Britain's Hoverflies, a Field Guide, 2nd edition. Possibly the best 20 odd pounds that I've ever spent on a nature book, available from Amazon. Roger is a moderator/administrator on a Facebook group for Hoverfly enthusiasts. Again his knowledge of the subject is just fabulous. Check the group out.
I'm now desperate to get back to the birds. I'm trying to identify a spot where I can set up a feeding station, I've got permission to use a local wood but I'm after a nearby orchard, I have yet to see the owner and ask permission but he/she has sheep in there at the moment which I know from last year are not there all winter, so I'm just waiting my time for another week or two.
I also intend to re-join the WWT this year and make many visits to Slimbridge etc. I have a job, I don't start until early December, no it's not Father Xmas. I have to do some training courses first. This will hopefully give me a bit of spare cash to finance the regular trips to Slimbridge.
Here's a small selection of the Fungi I've found recently, but for a more extensive list have a look at my website galleries, www.briandavis.smugmug.com
Common White Saddle