Tag Archives: Nature photography

Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta

I haven’t just seen a Migrant Hawker. Well, I have sort of..

I just identified a Migrant Hawker on somebodies blog and I thought that I better do a Migrant Hawker post in case he comes round to check me out. (hi Stephen) Fodrambler does not lie ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Migrant HawkerThe easiest identifying feature is the “Golf Tee” mark on the second segment of the abdomen. and that is diagnostic.

Migrant HawkerIt has a brown costa (the leading edge of the wing) and almost non existent antehumeral stripes.

Migrant HawkerThis next picture is not a Migrant Hawker this is a Southern Hawker. I am just using it to explain “antehumeral stripes” The Southern Hawker has very bold antehumerals (the two yellow stripes just behind it’s head.

Southern HawkerBack to the migrant Hawker and here is a quick tour.

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Migrant HawkerSo that is my quick guide to identifying a Migrant Hawker.

Top.

Migrant HawkerMiddle…

Migrant Hawkerand this is the end of it.

Migrant HawkerExcept for a couple of my very own drawings explaining Dragonfly anatomy for reference purposes only.

Dragonfly anatomy 1Dragonfly anatomy 2

 

Shine for me

I thought that we should have some pictures of the larvae of the Peacock Butterfly and given how easy it would be for me to obtain these images….it would be a crime not to do it.

So I invited a baby Peacock outside for a photo shoot.

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock Larva

Peacock LarvaMy beautiful little animals are going a bit nuts at the moment, they keep trying to escape. They are quite big and I am not sure if they have got another moult in them or if they are ready to pupate. I have caterpillar proofed my cupboard with many more sheets of paper and I am keeping them well fed but they seem determined to wander ๐Ÿ™‚

The Pellucid Hover Fly

A couple of days ago I posted a picture of a Pellucid Hover Fly (above) without properly identifying it. So just to set the record straight and while I am having my coffee and making my plans, this is a Pellucid Hover Fly.

Pellucid HoverflyThis one is a female, it is the same with all Hover Flies, the female’s eyes are spaced apart and the male’s eyes meet in the middle.

The Pellucid is one of the UK’s largest flies and quite easy to identify. It has a large white band through the middle of the abdomen and dark spots on it’s wings, also a very pretty face.

Pellucid HoverflyThe colouration is supposed to mimic a bee or wasp, that may serve to deter attacks from birds but there is another reason behind it.

The female is an intrepid beast. She enters the nest of wasps (Common and German) and lays her eggs in their nests. The larvae feed on the debris at the bottom of the nest. Despite the fact that she doesn’t look much like a wasp she is allowed to do this without being attacked even though Wasp’s nests are otherwise pretty well guarded places. This may be a symbiotic relationship as the larvae clean the nest and remove (eat) dead Wasps and their larvae and they also eat other insects that they find in the nest.

When they are ready to pupate the larvae leave the nest and pupate underground and adult flies emerge sometime around June.

Volucella pellucensMost Hover Flies look a bit like Bees or Wasps and that must help to prevent attack but they don’t sting. The big difference between a Hover Fly and the Bees and Wasps is that Hover Flies only have two wings. They belong to the order Diptera (The True Flies) and Diptera literally means “two wings”.

All insects have four wings but in the Diptera the hind wings are tiny and are not used for flying.

Volucella pellucensso that is the beautiful female Pellucid Hover Fly,ย Volucella pellucens.

Pellucid Hover FlyHere is the male of the species.

Pellucid Hover Fly

Pellucid Hover FlyNow while you were reading that I have had a chat with Fizz and we have decided to give the Butterflies a rest for today and go up to the woods in search of a particular fungus that I feel quite confident of finding and of course we shall play ball in the fields on the way. So we shall see you later.

Have a nice Tuesday.

TOWIE WOWIE

I took Fizz for a walk. I couldn’t take her with me this morning, it would have been too dangerous. There were busy roads to cross and although we were only hunting for a Small Skipper there was always the chance that we could run ย into a Large one.

So, getting pics of the Small Skipper this morning was amazing but an Essex Skipper on the same day, what are ย the chances of that happening?

Essex SkipperC’mon Poochy we’ve got games to play.

FizzWhile she was sucking her ball and resting in the shade I took a little stroll up the track to see what I might find.

The thing is you don’t just have to find these Butterflies, you have to get close enough to photograph them and from the right angle. It is not always as easy as I make it look.

(in fact a bit of luck sometimes comes into it as well)

Essex SkipperThis Butterfly was a lot easier to approach than the last one. I don’t think that this was her first hit on the old Hog Weed juice, if you know what I mean. Probably about her eighth. Practically nothing was going to drag her away from the bar. Nice to see a happy Butterfly ๐Ÿ™‚

Thymelicus lineola

Thymelicus lineola

Thymelicus lineolaSo here is our Essex. Black tips to the underside of the antennae, that is 100% Essex.

Essex Skipper

Essex Skipper

Small is Beautiful

I went out early this morning to try and catch the Butterflies napping.

I am after the Skippers. I want the photographs ย that show the difference between a Small Skipper and an Essex Skipper.

A little Skipper.

sMALL sKIPPERThe difference is tiny. The very tip of the underside of the antennae is black in an Essex and orange/brown in a Small Skipper. You can only see it if you look at the animal face on.

Small SkipperIt is not easy getting close to them, never mind getting in their little faces.

Small SkipperI have been advised to hum to them to hold their attention. I was told a low almost inaudible hum but the only tune that I could remember when the time came was Wagners “Flight of the Valkyries” inappropriate perhaps and ย it requires some gusto to do it properly but it was the only thing that sprang to mind as I crept up behind yet another of the little blighters.

Small SkipperGotcha!

Small SkipperOrange tip on the underside of the antennae. That is a Small Skipper 100% Small. Excuse me while I savour my triumph.

Small Skipper

Small Skipper

Small SkipperNow all that we have left to do is to catch an Essex, well, one is not much use without the other.

Fizz, fetch me my butterfly net.

Fruits of the Forest

This is just a little something to keep you going.

Wild Strawberry Wild Strawberry Wild Strawberry Wild Strawberry Wild Strawberry Wild Strawberry Wild Strawberry Wild StrawberryThank you little flower.

Wild StrawberryNow I have to take Fizz up to the Badger sett and tell them the good news about Owen. I expect that they would rather hear that he had accidentally shot himself instead of them but they will have to settle for the news I have.

“Sett”le, geddit? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so funny ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been very lucky today, there are many more pictures to come.

Unidentified Wildflower

This is the flower that I went out to photograph today. ย I told you that it was beautiful, didn’t I? At this moment in time I don’t know what it is, although I recognise the family and finding it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

However I do believe in getting other people to do my work for me and I have a lot to do this evening. So if anybody recognises it please do tell me what it is.

Unidentified Wildflower

Unidentified Wildflower

Unidentified Wildflower

Unidentified Wildflower

Unidentified Wildflower

Unidentified Wildflower

Unidentified Wildflower

8

Large Skipper

Continuing with my Butterfly theme this one is also on the wing now until the end of July.

Large SkipperYou can tell a Large Skipper from a Small or Essex Skipper by the blotchy pattern on their wings (normally referred to as chequered) the other two species have uniform orange wings. Also the antennae of the large Skipper are pointed and hooked and the others are not.

Large SkipperThe male large Skipper, pictured below, has a prominent “sex brand”, The black, diagonal line about half way down it’s fore wing, these are actually scent scales that make it smell like a man butterfly. Also the underside of the antennae tip is orange.

Large Skipper MaleThese features are absent on the female.
Large Skipper Female

Male.Large Skipper Male

Female.Large Skipper Female

Large Skipper FemaleThis pose, with the wings held at different angles is very typical of the Skippers and it works for me, I think that it looks nice.

Large Skipper FemaleThat’s a large Skipper Butterfly

Purple Hairstreak

I thought that we could have some Butterflies today because I have just been out photographing one. This isn’t it. This is a Purple Hairstreak (female). I am just in a Butterfly mood.

Purple Hairstreak

Purple HairstreakI have only got two pictures, well I have got more but they are exactly the same as these, she was one of those annoying animals that only had one pose and then she flew away. She did close her wings for me..

These are fairly common butterflies but you don’t often see them. They live up in the tops of Oak trees. The eggs are laid on Oak buds and the larva burrows into the bud and eats it. The adult butterflies feed on Aphid honeydew that they find up in the canopy, they don’t often come down to our level. Flight time is now until the beginning of September so keep your eyes open if you live near woodland with Oaks in it.

She is a very beautiful butterfly to see.