Nature's Place

Intelligent Earth

The wind changed yesterday. Instead of a cold southerly the wind now comes from the north and it is warm again, being in the southern hemisphere. It was so sudden and dramatic the condensation is still dripping off the cold metal water tanks a day later.

The frogs are pleased. Everywhere about the house there are frogs sitting, as frogs do. I have seen a dozen or so tonight and they are looking a bit thin, a bit bony, after the cold spell. I wonder if they eat mince meat?

They eat tuna, I’ve seen one climbing out of the cat’s bowl with a big grin on his face. Do frogs grin?
The occasional large moth has come fluttering about the light outside and it is nice to have a pic of one in the nearby tree, its natural habitat, lovely colour and form.

At first it tried to land on the bulb but found no foothold and fell, fell and fell again until it settled on the wooden beam just above. I got a few close ups of it stationary but they don’t match the couple I got of it scrambling up the tree branch. And then it disappeared into the night where I couldn’t follow.
I haven’t mown the grass for a while and it is getting long in places. Back of the house mostly for some reason, where there are most dandelions. It’s more sheltered there. These sunny yellow dandelions are the biggest attraction for the insects at the moment so I won’t be mowing the grass for a while yet.

There are pockets of dandelions and daisies about the garden where the bees and hoverfly’s feed. And other small flowering plants – weeds to some. And creatures such as tiny wasps and fly’s. It really is amazing what is seen through the macro and close up lens. Or just when I look – with my looking glasses on.
The bees are very fast feeding at the flower, in and out mostly. Sometimes they vigorously investigate the flower to be sure they have everything to be had at that time. Though they usually look as if they are in a hurry – to serve the hive I reckon.

It’s their instinct, programming, to get as much as possible as quickly as possible and get back home. Real busy worker bees.

The hoverfly’s are more sedate but fewer in number. It requires some persistence to get a good photo of either. And planning.

To plan I usually select a flower likely to attract a bee, let’s say, one just come to full bloom is best – freshest.

I position for the shot with consideration for the angle of shot and the direction of light/shadow and flight path – usually the same because the flower points to the sun so it is more visible to the bee from that direction.

I establish working distance for the magnification to be used and sometimes lock focus and perhaps exposure for the anticipated position and lighting of the subject. Working distance is the distance from the camera it is possible to get something in focus – fairly well defined with macro lenses.

If there are a lot of flowers it is difficult to plan – which flower to sit in wait at. It’s exhausting chasing bees around to get a photo – I tried, and mostly fruitless unless there are many bees. I have since found it best to be economical with exertions. But you can be sitting for a long time before a subject comes along and under the right conditions and position.

But it happens, the extraordinary image is captured, even if only by luck – and patience and a little know how. I have seen a picture of a dragonfly in flight across open water and they are ‘fast’.
The wasp’s are back as well. Thoroughly searching up and down the back of the house for anything to eat, and maybe a future nest site – who knows? There must be a nest nearby. They are discernibly cognizant of my presence but as long as no threat is offered they are passive, though still guarded.

Occasionally one lands on or near the Passionfruit plant leaves where I can get a good look at – her? Maybe, I suspect most of these wasps are female since my only real experience of them is of a very successful nest tended by many mothers – I presume.

The one pictured was climbing about the greenery inspecting this spot and that and finally settled in a sheltered spot under a leaf, facing out to the world. It looked to me to be waiting in ambush for any unwary creature to come along – since such creature’s needs are simple and predictable. Or was it just resting in the green shade?

It kept an eye on me as I approached and backed into its shelter to signal I was close enough. Any closer and she would have taken action, like hide or fly away – or attack.

Intelligent little creatures all.
Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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