Nature's Place

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.

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

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

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Recovery …

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

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

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
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Saved Again …

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

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

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
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*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.

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

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
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*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.

Racing Red …

Hello, hello, hello … up close with a wasp the colour of ferocity, or fear.

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

I’ve never met a natural creature that was aggressive without cause.

And close to death, or exhausted, they are often least concerned for intruders.

This wasp is clearly not doing her usual, and looks unusual, but still full of life.

Making the effort to raise herself up on the wire. Not her natural habitat at all, but peaceful all the same.

Let go the hard iron to the green grass, she does not give up, regardless of her apparent burden of form.

and black, two colours of danger, or cause for alarm perhaps.

I came across this wasp hanging on for dear life. Clearly it is deformed, the ovipositor and sheath turned about and misaligned, looks like.

But she’s showing no signs of distress for it, just doing her best as she is, as I see it. Getting on with her life as it is.

Then she let go and flew to the grass nearby. So, something she can live with, a part of the perfection nature is.

Despite the flaw we can enjoy the beauty of her. Red body and blue-black wings, sleek form she is.

Wonderful little Earth machine. Still serving in her way, the way of sense.

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

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Mother Wasp

*Click on pictures for the bigger version …

It’s a rare event in my experience, to see this mother lay her egg into the Orange-tail Resin Bee’s nest. Once a year or so.

It’s the only place I see this particular kind of wasp, except when I rescue one from the water below – just as rare.

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

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Spider Hunter

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It was just before the rains, I was walking where the drain runs into a creek, the road into a rainforest.

On the edge of things, you could say. And what did I find but ephemeral form. What else is there in this world …

I was inspecting the concrete wall of the drain below the road when she announced herself, antennae waving, staccato gait.

She was already carrying her burden, a spider, food for her yet to be born young, looking for a suitable nest site to deposit.

Following her wasn’t easy but she did present on a number of occasions, shots taken from a prepared position, lying in wait …

Some things come easy, some you work for. No telling what may be either way until the distortion of resistance is negated.

And in the spirit behind that infamous battle cry down through the ages, god wills it … or not.

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

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Daylight Robbery

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The bee hotels I have under the veranda, where they are protected from the heat of the sun and the torrential summer rain, are often under attack by other creatures looking for advantage.

Here is one parasitic wasp laying into the nest of a Orange Tail Resin Bee, you can just see the ovipositor behind the middle legs in two pictures. Through it she deposits an egg which feeds on the bee larva and probably the store left for its initial growth.

It’s the way of nature that one thing depends on another for its sustenance. When one piece of the picture is missing there is a deficiency but things invariably balance out in the big picture – just as well for us most destructive humans.

And then there was light … as one more wasp is created, by design.

A wonderfully mysterious nature.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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And Now?

… for something a little different from what has become the usual native bee, or so it seems.

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We had a Paper Wasp nest on the deck that had to be moved because it was just too successful; about twenty strong at its height and only a few metres from the front door, and Karen had been stung when she inadvertently shifted it one recent day. So it had to be moved because I don’t like to destroy any part of the nature, the garden. I enjoy all the nature, not just the pretty or cute bits.

One night, all dressed up for the occasion, because I know they can fly at night even if they prefer not to, I clipped the old fern growth the nest was hanging from and brought it down to the front of the garden, about forty metres away, where I had prepared a post to place it in where they would have to work harder to maintain its success rate, by at least having to travel further to the food source. I rather foresaw some of the young moving off to new pastures and the nest attaining a more acceptable number, foresight is not always as it turns out though.

The nest was so successful because of the planting I’d been doing the last year, and allowing nature to take its course, Butterflies and Moths laying eggs all round the place, which in turn hatched and soon enough little caterpillars were eating up the vegetation. That’s where the wasps came in; they fed on the caterpillars, voraciously.

It was a balance though; an ample source of food presented and something came along to eat it, and so on – is usually the way of things. But there appeared to be nothing to eat the Wasp. No deft Wasp eating birds about the place, nor Geckos willing to risk being stung in the dead of night, hence the intervention on my part.

But it seems I got it wrong, or went too far, and the nest has now been abandoned by the Queen, there’s always a Queen to start off a Paper Wasp’s nest. Gone to I don’t know where because it has become apparent the little caterpillars are having a ball in the greenery and plants are dying from lack of viable leaves.

And then, in my wanderings about the garden, I saw this fat yellow Lynx spider. There are many Lynx and other spiders around the garden but none as big as this one is, or has recently grown. It looks like what the Wasps are no longer doing the spiders might be.

Well, we’ll see what happens. That’s what I love doing in the garden, just seeing what happens next. It’s a real epic unfolding; when you really see the creatures little lives as important as our own – in their way.

Which of course they are to the web of nature, my nature. It is our nature after all and we can’t really do without any part of it for long or something gets out of whack.

But it always recovers, that’s its nature too, to live again – unstoppable it seems, and ever changing on a changeless reality.

A maelstrom of possibility in form, and no real need to interfere now, nor inclination to.

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It’s how we learn, by going too far – one way anyway.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab

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