Nature's Place

Assassin …

The most recent, from a few days ago in the hot sun. A few shots before she flew away, a rare occurrence that, assassins flying.

*Click on the pictures for a proper look …

A younger version, from a winter’s night, others could be found nearby. At some point they must become a danger to each other.

Found throughout the garden, only requirement being others may live and eat there. This plant good for caterpillars at one time.

You can see it’s a youngster by the wing buds – not developed much at all. Nice to get the blue car in the background.

The kill … the only consideration being hunger, instinctively. Slip that lance between the armour and pretty quick the beetle is a meal.

It doesn’t lend itself to many angles for portrait. Here on a dried out banana skin, taking advantage of the others feeding there.

Too small to make a meal, that fruit fly on an old banana. But others, bigger, do come and die while dining on the fermenting pulp.

Is there such a thing as a pretty assassin bug? Not really, but they can be appreciated for being what they are, unselfconsciously so.

On her way to somewhere else, no food here today, buds not yet open to feed the other flying things. Though some eat early.

though nothing ‘common or garden’ about these creatures. One of the many exotic creatures that pass the seasons here.

The eggs were laid last year and through the winter the little ones proved themselves in the rough and tumble of survival in the layers of green.

They often ambush their prey, waiting motionless for the unwary passer-by, but they are also very active in pursuit of a meal when need be –

a couple of older shots – click.

I have seen small ‘herds’ of these as tiny hatchlings that wander the formations for a while, but not many actually survive to maturity and develop wings.

Winged, a world of difference to realising their potential. What a privilege that is, earned.

We, people, must learn to soar otherwise.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click on those pictures for a closer look

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Macro Day Six

It was a hot day today and after the rains there are few creatures about. At least you have to know where to find what is there, experience gives you that. I didn’t take many shots myself since I spent most of the time setting things up for the others because the little ones were not being very cooperative.

But never mind, we got some shots and I have more from earlier in the week that I’ll post later.

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Human nature is combative, no surprise there since it comes through the instinctive species. Thing is though, the ‘species’ only do it when necessary for survival, reproduction rights or/and dominance of the herd.

Oops! That’s when people do it too, though often unnecessarily. But we don’t have to be ‘controlled’ by instinct anymore, do we?

Well, we do our best.

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When nature presents something unusual or spectacular it usually means something and can readily be connected to a recent ‘event’. Nature is after all a reflection, to the degree the observer is grounded in sense.

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Plenty of Grasshoppers and Clown spiders about in places.

The occasional Assassin Bug with prey – a caterpillar here, nearly sucked dry.

Mating Weevils in the forest.

And a Hibiscus Harlequin Bug, little beauty.

From today what recurs to me is ‘relax’, and be alert, by a focus of attention where it is necessary to do so. First by calming the body by ensuring enough oxygen through breath control, second by dropping the tension in the body, and third by taking control of what you give your attention to – sense. It’s simple.

And that is probably the most important exercise. Don’t forget to relax, by doing it when reminded.

What you attend to grows.

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If you or anyone you know is genuinely interested in coming along for hands on experience of what and how I do what I do check these links : Macro Meditation Day, Macro Illustrated and Meditate, and email me at contact (at) beingmark (dot) com so you are on the list for mailouts. Put Macro Meditation Day in the subject line of any email.

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All the best.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Dangerous Liaison

It’s a jungle after all. One hungry creature attacks another and someone comes off the worse, usually dead, but maimed is probably common too – having seen so many of our tiny creatures missing limbs or bearing wounds.

You might think; ‘Oh! Poor Sweet Little Bee. Beastly Assassin Bug.’ I might. And bees are sweet things – maybe something to do with their pollinating and honey making, especially the Australian native bees – since this is where I am.

But Assassins aren’t beastly, just designed differently to fit a particular niche in the living pattern of things, or the pattern of living things. Truly, each piece of the pattern is a wonder unto itself.

The fact is that’s Nature, everything that is has its place in it. It can’t be denied. And to take sides is absurd, or is it?

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Well, Nature gets on fine without our interference so it’s hard to put a case for interfering. In fact where we interfere we invariably make more problems in trying to fix the one we focus on, but that’s probably because the ‘problem’ we try to fix isn’t a problem at all, just an inconvenient – to us – fact. And when you try to change facts that don’t need changing in a world of effects a ripple of predictable consequences is what you get, but unknown outcomes.

The trouble is we personalise Nature and so make of it the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ when there is only the fact, no good or bad at all. This notional existence of good and bad is self-divisive, the high and low of emotional consideration, the ‘I like’ and ‘I don’t like’, the source of much personal misery and ill health, and is ultimately unsustainable.

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How to depersonalize then? When you’ve had enough – ever tried giving up something you love before you’ve had enough, just leave the good and bad out of it and see the fact. And that’s the end of ‘problems’.

It does mean no more judgment of the fact, no more unnecessary thinking.

Simple really, when you’ve had enough … ((:

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Assassin at Work

I spy an Assassin.

Wandering about in the forest.

Tracked ‘im up the grass plant to panic in the hive.

Stabbed a wasp and carried her away.

And away.

And just when Assassin thought it was safe to stop the ants joined in the kill.

So off Assassin went again and didn’t stop till ants were way behind and wasp was drained of life.

This way and that, a little lost at times it seemed.

But never let go the precious hard won meal.

Skewered Wasp.

And the Assassin lived happily ever after. Until …

But that’s another story.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Hot Spot

P1470363P1470343P1460861P1460749P1470405P1460446P1460839P1460776The Hibiscus tree sustains many forms of life, it’s amazing how many. And their life cycles fit each other, as the tree is coming round to a new generation of flower buds the little Harlequins are ready for them, juicy morsels. Just as the assassin bugs came along when the little Harlequins were about to appear. And the small reddish brown bugs live on through it all. Everything fits in.

When I went looking at the plants around the hibiscus I found it was just the same, abundant in different forms of life, at different stages of development. There are hot spots in the forest for insect life and this tree and its surrounds is one. You can go to other trees and plants and not see a living thing, until you get up close.

And then if you go there regularly you will find the kinds of creatures come and go with no apparent reason but you can sense the perfect rhythm of it all. But none is more populated than this one Hibiscus tree.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Wild Hibiscus Tree – Harlequin and Friends

P1460091_filteredP1420783_filteredP1420496_filteredP1460397P1460677_filteredP1460722P1400296_filteredP1420873_filteredP1460154_filteredP1470311P1470318P1460667I’ve been observing the activity and tracking the residents for a while now, down in the forest, on the wild Hibiscus tree. The tree has white flowers with a dark red heart, beautiful clean colour when new. And a contrast that reaches deep inside, in sense.

The leaves have been mostly eaten for a while now, since the tree is also home to a few other creatures besides the Harlequin bug. There are small reddish brown beetles that roam all over the place, including all over the harlequins, who seem to mind quite a bit, getting very agitated when one climbs on their back.

The flower houses a host of squat dark flies that only seem to leave that dark heart when I disturb them, by moving the flower. Lately there has been a burgeoning of other bugs, such as the black and yellow assassins pictured, who seem to transform to the red and yellow beauty by climbing out of their old jacket.

Nothing like a new set of clothes to set you free.

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The Harlequin is definitely the star of this show though. At first I thought I was lucky to get a few shots of an individual. Then I got a few shots of a few more individuals. That’s when I realised the hibiscus tree is home to these beautiful creatures, they didn’t go away.

Over time I visited the tree and observed the Harlequin bug in the various stages of its development. I watched it mature, eat, commune, grow wings, mate, lay eggs and guard and incubate them. Saw the young hatch and then herd themselves around the tree with the adult looking on for a short while.

It has been an eventful time, Hibiscus Harlequin time.

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A privilege really, to witness the life of these beautifully coloured creatures. And here you have it in the comfort of your home, no need to go down the bug infested forest, with mozzies and little black biting midges chasing you.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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