Nature's Place

Droning On …

P1040271_filtered Mark Berkery

8 seems like a lot but I couldn’t leave out any more.

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Tough little creatures these Hoppers, careful handling required.

The new Butterfly Bush, six of them, are coming along nicely. One has been flowering for a week and the scent is divine, the colours dark and rich. That’s to me, who knows what the little people see and smell. Probably the same in their way.

I got the plants early in the year off ebay, grown in Victoria, and put them straight in the ground a couple months ago, with space for them to expand, and they are all doing well. I’ll have to do a post on just the flowers, with their different and wonderful colours and scents they deserve it.

For now though I want to introduce you to the Drone Fly, lover of the flower’s nectar. A female I’m sure, with clearly separated eyes,who dropped by and surprised me one day as I was checking for infestations – I have been getting hoppers congregating and mating on new stems of the two golden flowered bushes and I don’t want them destroyed.

What I do is grasp two or three hoppers at a time, sidelong between thumb and forefinger, carefully as they have some microscopic thorny growth, and throw them away with any wind to ensure they don’t directly return. As I watch them disappear against the sky they take wing and change direction, like tiny helicopters, usually toward the big palm tree nearby. Then, a day or so after, I do it again …

It’s a necessary process to keep the plants healthy as they grow. I can’t use insecticide, that would be silly since I want to photograph bugs, unnecessarily criminal even. Well, it would be if we valued the little people as we should. I enjoy going around the garden anyway, and everything I do there is of value, in a sense.

We should value them because they do enormous work, but we don’t because we don’t see it, and that will cost us … If ever there was a case for the need of faith insects are it. Have faith they are necessary, even vital, and enjoy their presence that is often delightful, when time is taken to observe them at play.

Giving them space, not too much to the destroyers – our nature has been unbalanced by our interference, and anything else they need for their well-being, and they will entertain all day long without robbing the larder.

They love nothing better than to show off their colours, form and flying skills, and other not so unusual but often surprising behaviour …

Faith, all is as it should be … And if something needs changing, change it will – where there is willing, or not.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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18 Responses

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  1. Cate said, on 17/10/2015 at 6:29 am

    An especially beautiful juxtaposition of colors, Mark! And I deeply appreciate, as always, your philosophy of respect and appreciation for insects, which have innate value,
    in addition to all they do for we lumbering, clueless humans.

    • Mark said, on 17/10/2015 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks Cate. We have the clues, we just don’t seem able to follow through on them …

  2. Lissa said, on 17/10/2015 at 6:01 am

    Buddleias. Been some years since I last had them growing. Found them on eBay – thanks for the heads up. I will order some and get them going as a treat for the senses for myself, visitors and most importantly my little garden helpers :)

    • Mark said, on 17/10/2015 at 2:34 pm

      They are popular with the locals and I expect they will attract some exotics too …

  3. Lea Tran said, on 16/10/2015 at 11:31 pm

    The colour of the butterfly bush flowers are so gorgeous! What a beautiful world we live in. Thanks for capturing that, Mark.

    • Mark said, on 17/10/2015 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks Lea. A wonderful nature, for sure.

  4. gwenniesworld said, on 16/10/2015 at 7:19 pm

    beautiful pictures ! I’m so pleased these are small and not as big as us, imagine !!!

    • Mark said, on 16/10/2015 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks Gwennie. Yes, it would be a different world imagined.

  5. jamyunJamiun Micheal said, on 16/10/2015 at 6:51 pm

    your work is great Mark.. Do you have facebook account. I wish to follow you on facebook too

    • Mark said, on 16/10/2015 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks Michael, long time … No, I don’t have a facebook account.

  6. macmsue said, on 16/10/2015 at 6:21 pm

    Great shots, as usual. What are the butterfly bushes? I know sometimes Buddleias are sometimes called that but I haven’t seen them with that intense colour.

    • Mark said, on 16/10/2015 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks Mac. That’s them and the colour is fairy rendered. I have five different colours and this is the first to flower.

      • macmsue said, on 16/10/2015 at 8:33 pm

        My plant was grown from a cutting and is now quite big but I haven’t seen many butterflies on it. Maybe this summer I will.

        • Mark said, on 16/10/2015 at 8:48 pm

          Mine too. There are a number of flowering plants in the garden now and these are the favourites on a warm day. They have by far the strongest scent.

  7. David said, on 16/10/2015 at 12:25 pm

    Wonderful photos as always. Don’t think I’ve ever seen an insect with spotted eyes like your drone flies. Always fun to see something new and this was very interesting. I think the hopper family of insects probably has some of the weirdest looking insects because of the way they mimic various plant leaves and the one you shot lives up to that weirdness. I liked your thoughts on the need for faith in insects; made me think a little which is rarely a bad thing.

    • Mark said, on 16/10/2015 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks David.

      These hoppers look like the thorns of a rose bush but they’re not fooling me. :-)

      It’s a crazy world where the presumed dominant species think (or don’t think at all) it’s ok to poison the planet and its other inhabitants as a matter of course or convenience.

  8. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature said, on 16/10/2015 at 10:59 am

    These pictures are wonderful! What an odd head the drone fly has. And the hopper? I don’t even know what that is. What fun. You must have an amazing macro lens and lots of patience. Great shots!

    • Mark said, on 16/10/2015 at 11:19 am

      Thanks MM … The weird and wonderful world of insects. Similar imagery can be had with cheap camera gear of a few hundred dollars or less, like most of my previous work. Not really patience, some love of nature helps and then just keep going the best I can.


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