Monday, 5 August 2013


Well I've not been able to get out, I'm currently busy looking after my mum's small yappy type dogs whilst she suns herself over in Jersey, so not wishing to leave her dogs with mine too long I've been confined to odd jobs around the house....GOD I'M BORED.
Seriously what's with TV, the only highlights have been the odd re-run of nature programmes on BBC 4 (thanks..but a little longer please), the British Touring Cars and well that's about it, I think cabin fever is setting in.
I can't really go over the park with my camera as there are just too many kids on mini-moto's tearing around (school holidays suck!) plus no wildlife wit' all the racket, more sinister then that though are the "Eastern Europeans" on the park, one or two (perhaps more) are starting to live in the wood areas of the park, a definite little campsite is forming, also whilst walking through the other day with the hound I caught one emptying a charity bag of donated clothes and sorting what he wanted and what he didn't want, now I'm not easily scared but carrying a hefty camera lens and decent camera body around is just tempting fate a little too much, it's a shame as there are more juvenile birds floating around and even some juvenile Jays and the juvenile sparrowhawks are on the wing hunting, not very well from what I've witnessed.  I watched one sit on a branch on the island on the main lake and watch intently the juvenile mallards and coots and moorhens, one juvenile moorhen strayed onto the muddy bank/shallow water and the sparrowhawk swooped down and tried to snatch it, there was a massive splash, a fleeing juvenile moorhen and a soggy sparrowhawk, made me chuckle, top predator? Not yet!!
So I was banished to the garden for some photography, sadly there isn't much bird wise in the garden at the moment, the swifts that were overhead have gone, the gulls have turned up early though, normally not showing over the estate until late August, early September, I've seen Herring Gulls, Common Gulls, Lesser Black Back(ed?) Gulls and Black Headed gulls taking advantage of some recently hatched flying ants. I didn't bother with the gulls as it gets better as more fly over the estate heading back to their roost later in the year...instead I went all MACRO.....
Now I've not done macro before and I was using an old'ish Nikon Coolpix point and shoot, I just don't have a suitable lens for dslr's. I found using the Nikon incredibly frustrating, in macro mode it continuously focuses, which leads to a lot cursing. Secondly I really don't have a clue a what I'm looking at (you may have guessed from some of the captions under the images). Thirdly it's bloody hard work photographing butterflies a lot harder then I thought to be honest. It settles down (if it settles down) you just get it in focus and the wee bugger flies off (sod) or even worse the wind blows and the plant it was settled on bends over leaving you with a blank screen (double sod) it didn't take me long to appreciate some of the images I've seen recently.

 I've actually got a "not too bad" garden for butterflies and especially bees. Along the whole of the back fence I have a Blackberry bush, which brings in Hover flies and various bees and prevents thieves from jumping over the fence, it also gives Bailey my Australian Shepherd something to eat, as he cleverly picks and eats them, sadly it seems they're a bit late turning ripe, I still have flowers on them!!!
Down one side of the garden I have a Buddleia which brings in the most flying insects, there were plenty I didn't manage a half decent image of, and a massive stinging nettle patch with an assortment of wildflowers in it (check the image above), well they could be weeds, either way not being green finger or lazy means I just don't touch it and it becomes somewhat wild and overgrown, I didn't plant the wildflowers, they where already in place from the previous elderly owner of the house, perhaps she liked picking wildlfowers either way there are some interesting looking plants there......
I also managed to photograph the above Hawker? on the Buddleia, there was also a Broad body chaser in the nettles which I couldn't get a decent image of. Not sure what species it is but nice to see, this as it's the first time I've had such a species turn up in the garden.
After only an hour the camera let out a bleep to indicate the battery was dead, the continuous autofocus drained it in an hour, I managed only four half decent images and about 30 rubbish shots of bees and hover flies, I don't know how you macro shooters do it but one thing for sure it ain't easy and I've found a lot more respect for those that do concentrate on this form of're all mad I swear lol


  1. Go on then I'll guess. Butterflies are A Skipper. there are dozens of them Grizzled Skipper. That's a posh One.
    You caught the third image. It's perfect and it's a Small White.
    The Dragon Fly I don't know. Damsele flies fold their wings up when parked. This is a Dragonfly. In for a penny...Female Migrant Hawker.

    Try hand holding the MP-E 65mm. The f2.8 400mm isn't a walk in the park either.

    1. Thanks Adrian, I've had a read of "Bardsey Wildlife" blog (left handside of my blog) and Ben's got a Migrant Hawker and they look the same so I'm happy with that an the other id help.
      Never held the MP-e 65mm I have the 400mm f2.8 and it's even heavier then my 500mm, I saw a woman lugging a 400mm f2.8 hand holding it all day which was impressive!!

  2. And I said it wouldn't be long before you'd be photographing butterflies!! Sorry to hear that you're stuck at home and bored Douglas but a good 'garden safari' does well to lift the spirits, there's always something to photograph, from small bugs to larger flowers, and you got some great shots with the 'little' camera, first up; Speckled Wood, then two Large Whites and the dragonfly (you lucky so and so, to have one in your garden!) is, as Adrian says, a female Migrant Hawker.
    You need to get that camera re charged and get back out there, you never know what you might find, you won't be!...[;o)

    1. Thanks for the id help Trevor, you're right about what can be found in the garden. There are a couple of species of butterflies that just wouldn't settle for an image on the Buddleia and I counted four different species of bees too, there was a small mammal too which needs photographing so I shall be back in the garden pretty soon.

  3. You got some great garden ticks there Doug; and great shots too.
    Looks like we've got some serious competition in the macro department.

    1. Thanks Keith, though I don't think you guys have to much to worry about though :)