Nature's Place

Black Wasp

Already debilitated but job not done yet. Wasp resumes work on dismembering spider.

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Powerful and efficient butcher, the wasp takes no chances and makes no mistakes.

Resumes her butchery in a forceful manner, expressive of her no-nonsense ways.

She inspects spider to maintain methodology, removing those long and – could be – deadly legs.

Using her wings now to increase traction on the object of her desire. Time is of the essence.

Spiders legs can often regrow, but not this time … Severing another leg to make flying easier.

Change of position, having a go at the deadly mandibles, which may still be a threat – if only to her young.

Job almost done, package nearly ready, she prepares to carry spider away to her home in the BBB’s nest.

Spider legs strewn about. Package almost ready to fly. One last go at those venom packed mandibles.

I was pottering around the house and saw this Huntsman limping along the ground.

Limping because some legs were missing and it couldn’t run as Huntsmen do so well.

Limping out into open space when ordinarily it would be in the opposite direction, under cover.

So, thinking it might be confused (for some reason), I gave it a nudge towards the undergrowth.

But it wasn’t having it, kept on heading out into open space and nothing I could do about it.

Then the black wasp with yellow antennae showed up and attacked the spider with a will.

It had already been working on it, spider confused by venom but not yet subdued.

So she, the wasp, stung the spider again, and again, and proceeded to dismember it.

To carry it away to her nest at the edge of the garden, to feed her young.

What they do, we do … our existential nature.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Sleepy Wasp

Just a little smudge of black on the wood at first sight.

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It occurred to me to stop and look, just in case it was something to shoot.

Because often you don’t know until you get up close what it is.

And it was. She started to move soon after but not enough to fly away.

Yet … But it’s inevitable, every flying creature takes to the wing soon enough.

Gotta work fast sometimes …

Little black wasp found sleeping on a Blue Banded Bee hotel one morning.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



A Flower …

Small wasp feeding on the pokeweed flowers found growing wild in the bush.

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Blue billygoat weed for background. Another food crop for the little ones when much else is dormant.

The plant, ink/pokeweed, is said to be poisonous and it probably is, I haven’t tried it, and probably won’t.

Though I have tasted the dark ripe berry, where I got my seeds, and dried them in the sun. Before I knew.

It’s what children do with luscious dark red berries, though a ‘natural’ caution kept it to a taste, not a meal. … With a bit of luck I’ll have my own pokeweed plants flowering around the garden soon enough.

by another name. Pokeweed, or inkweed, and others. It depends on who is telling.

I like it for the fact it flowers when most other plants are not, it feeds the little ones.

In spite of it being poisonous to people who don’t know how to use it, or use it properly.

Everything has its place and this flower will be growing in the garden soon enough, with some luck.

The seeds are in the fridge for a while to come and then we’ll see what may be.

The garden calls out ‘yes’. And nature will have its way, within beauty being.

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



White Socks Wasp

A common enough wasp around these parts, just not at this time of year.

These are usually much earlier to the bees nest, to lay their eggs.

Maybe it was just born, a little out of season perhaps. It’s getting too cold now for their outdoor survival.

I’d get back in the nest and wait for spring, if I were her. But that’s not the way of things here, life must be lived.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click on the picture for a closer look



Wasp Day

Immobile on a flower in the middle of the day, unusual for a hungry wasp. Still there when I got back with camera.

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Then without any notice she took off, I couldn’t follow with old eyes. Just as well we were going to the same place.

Where I work in the garden. The table with pot plants on it, and trays with water in them. So she could drink her fill.

So quiet she was I thought I’d try some background, a leaf from the nearby passion fruit vine, carefully placed.

And she didn’t mind being moved, we had an understanding, no unnecessary activity. But she wasn’t leaving.

Just a few shots for the record, my record. The green allows some detail in the shadows, contrast is necessary …

… a world of difference. After a while I gave her my warm finger and she climbed on without pause, the cool wind.

No sign of her stinger, so relax … She snuggled up, close as she could. What else to do on a cold windy day.

To soak up the warmth of it I suspect, and was very patient with me. She wasn’t interested in the butterfly bush.

She prefers meat, I think. Nectar at another time maybe. First things first tho, warmth for the rest of the body being.

She had adopted me, as a source of life and nourishment, warmth. And wasn’t going to let me go easy, so it seemed.

We are more dangerous to them than they are to us, though people don’t realise it from inside their emotions.

Spring is in and the days fluctuate between warm and cool. There’s little rain and much wind but the garden gets watered anyway. Changeable … It’s a lovely time of year.

She landed on the nasturtium in the middle of the day and I had to wonder, why so still … She was probably born on a warm day, and this one was cool.

Often a small creature takes its energy from the heat of the sun, amongst other things. Looks like this one was caught in the shade a while.

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



Heir Apparent …

First of all, an open invitation. That means it’s open to anyone, regardless of … anything.

Is anybody interested in meeting up for time out doing macro in the nature? I know my own locality but others can be considered.

I got a van recently, at present it has seating for 5 and loads of space for any gear. It’s on its way to being a camper, maybe, a work in progress.

The idea is to go somewhere natural, near water and bush/garden, for early morning shooting, as the sun comes up, before it gets too hot.

Afternoons are good too, you just have to be better prepared, and to start out into the night which can be as good but different.

It’s an idea, if anyone is interested or has a suggestion comment here or click Contact, for email.


The first egg, of many to come, unless the nest is destroyed. It’s what people do in fear and lacking understanding, not to mention the care it takes to avoid disturbing a nest of this kind, situated as it is and in proximity to people.

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She can be dangerous, fierce in her protection of the nest, with a sting she’s famous for. But not so careless as to throw away her life without cause. And so is the window for mutual respect, due care and attention to her needs.

After using a small 12″ laptop for 5 weeks I really appreciate these pictures on a bigger 24″ screen. So much better, more detailed, and easier on these old eyes. If you are on a small screen see them on a bigger one, even the TV.

From three cells to four, future development in mind, she builds her castle a room at a time. She uses her antennae to listen to her egg developing. I’m sure she can hear things we can’t. And isn’t she photogenic, against a clear background.

Day and night she climbs all over the nest, checking for any flaws in the structure or signs of invasion by other creatures that would take advantage of her work. Watching out for the health of the egg. Such is nature, ever vigilant.

Here she is laying the second egg. It’s as close as I could get without risk of disturbing her or the nest, and that wouldn’t do for my photogenic friend. I would have her survive the season without having to move home mid-birth.

After a short while photographing her she got used to me and no longer made those staccato dancing moves that indicate she is on the verge of alarm. If I had stayed longer she would have come to accept me as part of her nature and so would the offspring, though still wild, make no mistake. Some of the best safaris happen in the garden.

Not long after I got to Pomona, my house sitting gig, I noticed this queen paper wasp nesting in an out of the way place. So I observed her a while.

Over the weeks I was there the nest grew slowly from three cells to five. So she was preparing for the future, a castle for her little dynasty.

I didn’t see her come and go, to gather the materials for the building. In fact I thought she was conserving herself, for the first egg to grow.

Obviously she had other designs in her mind. Her young would develop, the first would help with the next, and so on until …

Some would take off and start the process somewhere else, and on it goes. That’s nature, never ending, always burgeoning.

No matter what we do to the earth, and we are doing more than can be told, she will survive. But things will change.

And ‘adapt or die’ will echo through the psyche, as it has down the ages. Forms come and go, life goes on.

No point in lamenting the past. It takes pain for Man to change, unfortunately, or not.

So it is we develop in time, until time’s up.

Maybe it’s all just apparent.

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



Recovery …

This is what a near drowned wasp (or bee) looks like, just about done in.

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The water is cold and salty, I have seen creatures that live in and on it too.

Recovery on the way, sitting a while to gather strength. A little mite sees an opportunity.

There have been a few of these creatures recovered from the pond the last few weeks.

So far none have failed to take to the skies after a short time sitting still and drying out.

Time for a few pictures, I’m sure they don’t mind. In their state of shock I’m sure they don’t notice.

Other ‘things’ occupying their tiny mind, like the sensation of being alive. Having a scratch, that mite?

You can tell by the look of it how it’s doing, relative to how it was doing. Looking good to go …

There seems no end to the creatures that will fall into the pool.
Some are lucky to be found before exhaustion overtakes them.
They have a short time to continue to live out their little lives.
A short time is all we are here anyway.
Making the short climb out.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click on those pictures for a closer look

Saved Again …

Bedraggled, this is what it looks like just after you’re pulled from a watery grave.

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Not too bad looking from the other side. A sign of life in the lift of the antennae, the set of the legs.

Recovered some from the prospect of certain death. Death is always certain, not always imminent.

Getting up … those stag antennae, legs set apart in support of the body’s weight, sitting on a stick.

Getting some nice background. You’d think a captive, so to speak, subject would be easy to manage.

And it usually is for a while, but nothing alive stays still for long, and I don’t use artificial means.

On the move again, time to alter positions and angles to see what presents. Life surprises sometimes.

Almost fully recovered now, getting set for take off. You can usually see it coming, an attitude …

And there you go … a wave as s/he turns away for the great sky beyond, never to be seen again, until … maybe.

Another little marvel from the watery depths.
A wasp maybe … with stag antennae, all the better to detect.
It was barely discernible lying there on the water’s surface, unmoving.
Impossible to tell if it was alive with the unaided eye, so I used the lens, naturally.
And there was signs of life, a little movement, and soon it came back to the way of being … a wasp.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click on those pictures for a closer look

*Post was prepared early in the week and scheduled to appear here, in the process of swapping computers.

A Watery Grave …

Out of the water and on to a stick, a lifeline for a small but not insignificant thing.

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Taking her time to adjust and recover from the recent struggle in an alien world of water.

It is always striking there is no sign of personality, no suffering ‘me’, but a natural character of resilience.

Into her preening with a gusto, clear off the water, and anything else may have attached. Invigoration.

Once at ease with me, on my stick, I could move about to get the sky as background. Context helps …

Looking more like an wasp close up … a tiny drop of water still visible under its leathery looking body.

Having a good wipe down of the most important parts, antennae. A far seeing sense …

… not this time.

Out walking the garden where I am for now, Noosa hinterland, I noticed activity on the water’s surface.

A small creature, about 3/4 inch long, and it looks like an ant, or it’s a wasp, with those pointy mandibles.

It was in trouble, there is no way out of the middle of the pool so I gave it a hand. Lent it my stick to climb on.

And it didn’t hesitate, the need to survive overcoming any reaction to the sudden appearance of an alien presence.

Once in place it stopped a while to gather itself, wiping down the water, getting ready to launch back into nature.

No holding on to the experience as an emotional impression, no past to weigh her down, no problem.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click on those pictures for a closer look
*This post is composed on a new computer that hasn’t been optimized for it. Just following established protocols, so differences to my usual may be apparent.