Nature's Place

Assassin …

What’s this coming up the branch, a new kind of bug, a mutant … or is it an assassin bug holding on to dinner.

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

She sees me and does an about-turn. But then she can’t see me past her package and I no longer exist in her small world. Until …

… I get around the other side. But she soon settles down, me being no apparent threat. Unwilling to relinquish her catch.

Up close you can just see how she uses her lance/proboscis/stabber to pierce and hold onto her prey.

And later that day, after her meal, she’s wandering a flower spike in the garden and positioning herself for the next days hunting. … But… what’s that in the background? It looks like a face but it’s a spider sitting in its web.

If there’s anything can discourage an assassin bug it’s this spider, an orb weaver. But they never meet this dark night. Who knows what may be the next …

all grown up, what the Assassin Baby eventually develops into.

It has been an unusual year in many respects but the point here is there has been very few small creatures in the garden.

I can think of a number of reasons – combinations of rain, sun, birds, etc – but at summer’s end the ‘last man standing’ is the assassin bug.

So, I present to you the winner of this years trophy … well, thank god – whatever that is – insects don’t have personalities.

And every body dies eventually.

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



A Time For …

…  bees again?

There are Banana trees in the back yard that the Possum and Bats, Flying Foxes they are called, love to eat from when the fruit is ripe enough. I’m watchful to get a few myself this year, as last. The trouble with the trees though is they are big and one recent day I went out and noticed one of them had been cut down, the one that was about to fall on the neighbours shed, that I was going to cut down anyway. Well, a little something I didn’t have to do, no harm.

And I have had to cut down a few of them to keep them from becoming a nuisance, to the civilisation of back yards bordering onto each other, or falling on the clothes line, or the person below. One I cut down was about, what, 20ft tall? And it fell towards the Frangipani, one with lovely red flowers, and broke an extensive piece off it. So, not to waste or leave it for the passers by that took last years cuttings I planted it in the front garden. I’ve been doing a lot of work in the front garden, for the flowers and bugs and photos.

It’s not as if I haven’t done this before but such a large piece, about five feet tall and branched, I wasn’t sure it would work. I plant it in the ground, in a spot it fits, some might say ‘it likes’, and water it enough to keep it from drying out and losing its leaves. It seems to be working; at least it has new shoots and is showing no ill signs so far, maybe a little soft at the extremities.

What I do every day is fill a bucket with water and every now and then go and pour enough to drench the ground, a brown clay soil, and as I said it seems to be working and in about 10 or so years will provide shade in that corner from the setting sun.


The thing is whenever I go to the bucket and look in I often find some creature that has fallen in the water and hasn’t found a way out yet. So I take care of that first, put a finger under the creature and bring it to the top of a branch and let it off to dry out on the Frangipani tip. Where it sits and grooms itself, wanders about, tastes the water, and sometimes falls back in the bucket below – that’s livin.

The other thing is most of what I find are bees, tiny bees that I have seen nowhere else but in the water bucket. Isn’t that an odd thing? They are less than 1cm long, 10mm, barely visible except for something to see them against.  If it wasn’t for all that preceded it I would not know of these particular bees, the ones from the yellow water bucket.

How one thing always leads to another, everything has consequences. Some can be predicted, and some only generally so. But the wonder is in the not knowing. You can try and work it all out but what a mental waste, just wait and see.

You never know what nature is going to show up or where. But one thing’s for sure; you’ll see more of it if you are out in it.

Whatever ‘it’ is. Sense, nature, getting the hands dirty, seeing, smelling, doing whatever.

It’s a pleasure.

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


Perfectly Queen … of the Bees

It was a few weeks ago now that she showed up on the morning rounds of my little nature. There were still some of the little people/creatures to be found in the fields and woods as the winter, such as it is here, hadn’t yet taken a firm hold. Grass was still growing and leaves hadn’t fallen, not much of either. An in-between time you could say, not yet too cold for long enough to drive everything to death or shelter.

The field of long grasses was beginning to dry out with few of nature’s flowers, man’s weeds, still blooming here and there. Little yellow and red striped bells of beauty to me, shining here and there at the tops of the now yellowing threads of the earth’s summer blanket. Calling out to the remaining little people, come to me, here I am, just for you my love. Drink deep and live a little longer in my cold Elysian field.

And there, down the tracks of the season’s comings and goings, I saw a sign of wonder and mystery. A solitary queen, of queens, sitting in the shadows of the morning sun. Drinking the shine as it rose on the dew, warming to a new day to which there were now so few. My little queen, ‘tis you.

So I went to her, and with a passion new, tended her rising ‘til she had awoken true. From this way and that I saw she was fine and I, labouring in the rising sun, a little heady on just the scent of her wine. My, my, what a lovely so new. The form and the colours a blessing of Thine.

Then, inevitably she woke and I stood back to hear what she spoke. A tinkling sound to the ear of the round, a way of the listening, and the speaking, not often found. And what was it she said that touched me so, was it something you hear now that I can no longer know, or keep.

It’s that same sound, of the blackness, the silence so deep!

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