Saturday, 15 August 2015

Macro in Ann's Garden

Today was another adventure into the macro-world and time to experiment with a new Speedlite 270EX II set on manual in order to obtain 250 shutter speed.  The External Speedlite control needed to be set in the menu on flash function setting to Hi. 
In an attempt to take shots of wasps on fallen apples, I witnessed an aggressive behaviour which can only be described as a viscous attack. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Wicken Fen

I jumped at the chance at an outing to Wicken Fen with friends from the Cambridge Camera Club.  It is always fun and a wonderful chance to learn from more experienced photographers.  Thank you Barry for sorting out my Lee filter system, it is always a great asset to have a skilled engineer to help out. Despite it being really windy, it did not deter the mosquitoes from biting most of us.  I, like most, had my socks pulled well over my trousers but I still ended up with bites on my legs. Bug spray seems to be essential for a day's macro-work in the reeds.  It is one thing trying to get a good shot of an insect with the eyes in focus and the specimen in the right plane, let alone identify the correct nomenclature.  It almost became a competition to find the ugliest bug.

Thank you Ann for getting me a shot of a red dragonfly.  Everyone seemed concerned I would fall in the water-filled ditch as I attempted to hold the camera on live-view on the edge of the bank. I wonder why!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Y Dafarn, Moelfre. Wales

It was a lovely day to visit this idyllic spot.  As we drove through the five-bar gate the lake appeared. It was a stunning place to be invited for lunch.  The natural lake spanned ten acres on a twenty-two acre property which was a haven for wild life. The boathouse is just visible at the end of the lake.  I am told in winter the ducks skid on the iced lake. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Shrewsbury's Mayor opens Sainsbury's after a refit, or does he?

I went shopping early not expecting to see any grand opening in the store, but as I entered the supermarket,  I notice a guide-dog paying attention to the initial instructions from a manager.  However,  the dog soon became nonchalant.  The Mayor appeared to have been given some cardboard scissors to cut the ribbon and as the countdown reached zero, a minder in a white shirt, standing next to him  sliced through the ribbon with sharp scissors. Was it a health and safety issue?  Ask the guide-dog, I think he may have seen it before!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Harlequin Ladybird - decapitated - a crime scene!

The Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) was first spotted in the UK in 2003 and has threatened the existence of the native species. Although, an aphid predator it has been reported to cannibalise other Coccinellidae. Originating in East Asia, and artificially introduced to control aphids, it is larger and more voracious than British species that have become part of their diet. Little can be done to control the proliferation of the Harlequin other than spiders and some wasps. (Parasitoid wasp ). The specimen below has met its demise and fixed to the leaf by a web, appears to have been sucked dry by a spider. This was found on the rose bush.

Rose Sawfly - Arge pagana

Thank you Ann for identifying yesterday's specimen. I was fascinated to look up Rose Sawfly -Arge.pagana  and go back to the rose bush to look for more evidence of the life cycle.  I now know why the larvae, not caterpillars, wave the lower segment of the body as when disturbed, they adopt an S-shaped pose, often raising their rear ends and waving them about!  The eggs hatch into larvae that resemble moth caterpillars, although they have more pairs of 'pro-legs' on their abdominal segments. The larvae usually feed in groups on leaves and fruit of plants and I certainly found more evidence of this today. In the shot below the stem shows remains of the egg stage on the stem. The Sawfly is so named because it uses the saw-like appearance of the ovipositor to cut into the stem. I will be looking out for the perfect insect which is usually formed in the first part of August, the pupal stage is very short and maybe that is why I could find any.  However, I don't have a trained eye!

Scar on the shoot of rose after the deposit of eggs

Who is eating the roses?

 I noticed the rose leaves had been stripped only to discover these caterpillars and I have no idea what they will eventually be. They were very active munching the leaves and hardly stopped to take a rest!