Deer in frost

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Another picture from Friday’s fantastic, frosty day out.  As I was taking a landscape shot,  two deer took flight across the meadow.  Of course, my wide lens hadn’t a hope of catching them, but I quickly changed to my 70-200mm lens and hoped I’d find more.  Luckily, I did.

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Yesterday, I shared the colour version of this shot, also from Friday but I rather like this tinted black and white edit too.   And it is a handy segue from frost to black and white to my 365/25, from this day in 2009:






We were lucky, during our trip to Western Australia last month, to meet some dolphins.  Australia

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Mystery river fly

Insect on gate
I found this beautiful creature sheltering from the rain under one of the curlicues of our wrought-iron gate. It is some sort of river fly but I haven’t conclusively identified it more specifically. Any river fly experts out there? It has two long tails, unlike the common mayfly which has three, and apparently only one pair of wings. I found it nowhere near a river so I an guessing it is one of the river flies that will inhabit standing water. Anyway, whatever it is, it’s a beauty! Here’s a close-up:
close-up of insect in gate

The first day of Autumn

phalangium opilioThis week there has been a nip in the air. There are suddenly fewer winged insects about and a first-day-of-the season safari round the garden this morning yielded some distinctly Autumnal sights. This harvestman was crouching on a fading rudbeckia flower.
 lychnis coronariaThe lychnis coronaria have gone to seed. I took a quick photograph before shaking the seeds liberally over the border. They are very reliable self-seeders in my garden, even colonising the lawn given half a chance.
sepia macroThe hollyhock seed heads are opening. I do love the way the seeds are wedged in – they remind me of oysters.
Despite the chill, the speckled bush crickets are still about. This male stared at me rather belligerently, I thought.
speckled bush cricket
All these shots were taken at 3,200 ISO. Not too shabby. The new camera passes the ISO test.

One square metre


One question I am often asked is how I manage to spot all the bugs I shoot. It really is just a matter of training your eye. The more you start to look for the smaller creatures around you, the more you start to find them.


One way to train your eye is to find a small area of vegetation, say one square metre, and see how many insects you can find and photograph. You will be surprised after a little while just how many are there.


All of the shots in today’s post were taken in one clump of weeds by the Wey Navigation towpath. The photo shoot took about 15 minutes in total. In fact, I found several other insects in the same clump.


Why not give it a try and share the results on your blog and/or in comments here?

My Internet is down and I am blogging on 3G, which is expensive, so please forgive me if I am a little slow in replying or visiting your blogs until the pesky thing is fixed.

More cricket news


It’s been a couple of weeks since my post about the little speckled bush cricket nymph I found in my herb border. It’s still there, lurking in the fennel, along with three chums. As you can see, it has developed quite a bit in that time and is starting to look a little more like the adult it will become.


Incidentally, when I posted my earlier shot of the nymph on Flickr I received a rather picky comment to the effect that it was a shame I had failed to capture it facing me. Ahem, full frontal enough now? 😉

Damselfly embrace


A male damselfly holds onto the female after mating to prevent other males from inseminating her. Taken in my garden this week.

Dimply damsel, sweetly smiling,
All caressing, none beguiling,
Bud of beauty, fairly blowing,
Every charm to nature owing.

Ambrose Philips, ‘To Miss Margaret Pultenay’ (1727)

A new world beckons

A freshly hatched nymph looks out on a new world.

I was pottering around the herb garden looking for some buggy subjects for my ever-hungry macro lens when I thought I saw a greenfly. Closer observation revealed this pretty little speckled bush cricket nymph. Speckled bush cricket (leptophyes punctatissima) nymphs shed their skins six times. Each version is called an instar. I think this tiny nymph is a newly emerged first instar.

The full adult version, as pictured below, can be found in the garden from about late July onwards. I have found the little nymph in the same place every day since I took its picture. I will follow its progress and try to get some more shots as it grows.

For more information on speckled bush crickets and some super shots see this blog.