Tuesday 26 July 2011

Same Common Blue - different angle

These shots of a male Common Blue were taken this evening in bright, low sunlight.  The insect was docile and ready to roost so gave me the opportunity to move around it.  All were taken within five minutes of each other and goes to show what a change of position does to the final image.  The top shot is back-lit and directly facing the sun.  Exposure was +0.3EV.  The bottom shot is with the sun behind me and exposure dropped to -0.7EV.  Aperture F/13.  ISO 200. All handheld with 200mm Micro Nikkor F/4.

Monday 25 July 2011

Seawatching season starts now

One of my favourite aspects of birding in Cornwall is the annual movement of seabirds from July to September.  Spectacular movements of around 800 Cory's hearwater have already been seen off Porthgwarra.  I managed to see five off Pendeen last week, one giving quite close views, though still too distant for photography.  The shots below were taken from a pelagic last year.  Hopefully I will be able to get on a couple over the next month or so.

Sooty Shearwater


Monday 18 July 2011

Great Green Bush Cricket in early morning dew

Ap F/9. ISO 125. Exposure: 0.0 EV Matrix metering. WB: Cloudy. 200mm F/4 Micro Nikkor.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Brown Argus at first light

This image was taken early this morning in very low, bright sunshine.  Several mint condition Brown Argus were just emerging from the dew-sodden grass.  They were quite docile as they allowed the warmth to get into their bodies.

Ap F/10. ISO 125.  Exp 0.0 EV.  Nikon F/4 Micro Nikkor lens. Tripod.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Dark-green Fritillary at Perranporth dunes

These shots were taken yesterday evening, which is the only time of day that seems to be the best to get anywhere near this species.  Dark-greens are strong fliers and only need a hint of sunshine to fly around.  The species is locally common in Cornwall with the north coastal regions being the best eg Gwithian towans, Perranporth dunes and around the Camel Estuary. 

Sunday 10 July 2011

Field trip to Windmill Farm, Lizard

A fascinating field trip to Windmill Farm today with a dozen people unearthed a new world of fascinating macro subjects.  Led by Steve Jones and Dougy Wright, we were introduced to water-based insects, dragonfly exuviae, butterflies, grass snakes, crickets and ovipositing! Many thanks to all those present for sharing their specialist knowledge.  The images below are a small selection of today's highlights.

Blue-tailed Damselflies in the copulation wheel

Common Darter, approx one day old

Common Darter recently emerged from its' exuviae.

Female Emperor ovipositing
 The image below is a fascinating collection of Emperor exuviae.  Steve Jones is monitoring the area - 268 were collected yesterday from just two pools.  Counting exuviae gives a more accurate picture of how many adults are in the area, most of which disperse.The collection is just a small sample and the actual total is probably three or four times this amount.

Emperor Dragonfly exuviae, a selection of 268 collected from just two pools at Windmill.

Female Golden-ringed Dragonfly - we witnessed an Emperor devouring another Golden-ringed Dragonfly!

Great Green Bush Cricket, female.

Water Stick Insect with freshly devoured beetle (top right) and the eggs of the stick insect growing inside the reed. Opposite the pale eggs are the breathing tubes (small spikes).

Dark-green Fritillary at Perranporth

I took this image last Thursday in low light.  There are actually two shown in this photo.  The image was taken at about 8pm on ISO800, far higher than I normally use.  The insect was also "shivering" which meant this image was the only one just in focus.  Dark-green Fritillary is a bit of a speciality in this region and this was my first for the year here.

Back-lit Silver-studded Blue

I took this shot last week on an evening visit to Perranporth.  My friend Sam Williams also took a similar shot as we experimented with back-lit macro.  The low evening sun is situated just above the 12 o'clock position.  Exposure was raised to +1 EV. Ap F/10.

Monday 4 July 2011

Bentley Wood, pt 2

Below are some more images from Bentley Wood yesterday, including Her Majesty, the Purple Emperor.  This mythical butterfly is rare in England and even here at it's stronghold, is difficult to find.  We only saw four and were exceptionally lucky to see, let alone photo, a female sunning herself on a path.  For some reason, she did not want to move from the puddle, even when a tractor drove past.

Female Purple Emperor resting on the warm track at about 10am

Female Purple Emperor, video grab, courtesy of John Chapple.

Large Skipper, male, one of hundreds seen during the day.

Male Silver-washed Fritillary

Female Silver-washed Fritillary being shown interest from a male.

Bentley Wood, Hampshire

A must-visit to the famous Bentley Wood on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border on Sunday paid dividends.  John Chapple and me saw every available species including four Purple Emperors (also known as His/Her Majesty), two White-letter Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreaks, scores of Silver-washed Fritillary, Dark-green Fritillary, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, scores of Marbled Whites and White Admirals and hundreds of Ringlets.

Below are some shots of Marbled White and White Admiral.  Further images will follow in later posts.  Given the number of enthusiasts present and surrounding some species, I decided to use a longer lens as the macro would involve too close a view with so many observers to consider.  It was good to see so many faces from the past there, especially the Devon crews!

A link to more information on Bentley Wood can be found HERE

Female Marbled White nectaring on Marsh Thistle

White Admiral (the first to appear on this blog).