Study in yellow

chrysoperla carnea

f/4, 1/250, ISO 1000, 100mm


A shot from October that I had overlooked. Lacewings appear delicate but are formidable predators of aphids. According to my Collins Complete Guide to British Insects, ‘the larvae of some species camouflage themselves with the dead skins of their prey’ (p.106). I thought it was pretty, toning with the autumn colour of my dogwood tree. Lacewings look amazing in flight; a photographic challenge for this year perhaps…

chrysoperla carnea

Cropped for those who like their bugs up close and personal

More murmurations

starlings
Last month, I posted some images of our local starling murmuration.  I popped back three times last week and was delighted to find them still there, doing their thing, only in greater numbers.  Yesterday was the best yet as the sunset kindly provided a colourful backdrop.
starlings

Murmuration

starlings flocking
Today, I want to share a very special experience.  Last week I had the pleasure of witnessing one of nature’s great Autumn spectacles, a murmuration of starlings.  During Autumn and Winter, starlings flock together at twilight, performing amazing aerial ballets that attract more birds to the group until they descend, all together in a moment, to their roost for the night.
starlings flocking
It starts with just a small group, circling in the sky in a way that seems to attract others.starlings flocking
Soon many more have joined, and fantastic shapes are created as they bank and wheel about.
starlings flocking
This was a very small murmuration, with numbers in the low hundreds.  Flocks in the thousands are seen at certain key locations in Britain at this time of year.  Sadly, however, starling numbers nationally have fallen by 70% in recent years and they are now counted as a threatened species.   For more information, see the RSPB’s website.
starlings flocking
I feel very privileged to have seen this waning, natural wonder.

Boldermere

Surrey landscape

f/11, 2″, ISO 50, 24mm, 0.6 ND Grad and 0.9 Pro Glass

I have had a wonderful week of photography, with two full days out in the field with fellow enthusiasts, Jenifer Bunnett and Tony Antoniou.  Conditions were perfect, with mist and patchy sun.  On both occasions I visited Boldermere, a peaceful lake incongruously nestled in the crook of the M25’s junction with the A3.  Each day was rounded off perfectly with one of nature’s most spectacular Autumn displays, a murmuration of starlings.  Those shots will follow in another post soon.  For now, a gentle panorama of this quiet, forgotten spot.

I have been outside all week, and am consequently very behind with visiting blogs.  I will try to catch up soon, before we head off on our next big adventure, Down Under!

Golden light and morning mist

Surrey Landscape
Jen and I enjoyed a wonderful shoot on Chatley Heath yesterday. For a short while, the sun burned through the early mist to cast its rays across the landscape. Chatley Heath is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and it is managed as a nature reserve by Surrey Wildlife Trust, a favourite charity of mine.
Surrey landscape

Smiler

insect close-up

f2.8, 1/640, ISO 100, 100mm

It’s been a while since I posted a bug shot. Well, at least a couple of weeks, which is a long bug-holiday for Focused Moments! These are shots from 2010, found today while trying to clear some space on my hard drive. I recently heard someone describe dragonfly faces as scary but I think they’re rather cute; they always look to me as if they are smiling.
insect

f.13, 1/80, ISO 400, 100mm

    The Dragon-fly

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.
-Tennyson