Nature's Place

Ant On A Stick …

Sounds almost edible, not uncommon in some places, to eat them, insects.

Oh no, please don’t eat me too … and look at all the small hard bits to get stuck between your teeth.

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I’m going to jump … ok, ok, I’ve got wings so that’s not going to work.

But really, let’s talk about this first. Or let’s not, let’s just forget all about it.

Look how fine a creature I am. Perfectly formed to function in my place, as an ant.

Not somebody’s dinner … I’ve got things to do on this earth too you know.

Apart from looking fine, and as if I know what I’m doing on top of this stick.

I know, I’ll just fly away, and forget we ever had this conversation. And you can do the same. … Right? Right?

Here in the ‘West’ there has been recent talk of eating insects, ostensibly as a food fashion but really because unsustainable practices in food production have made sourcing unpredictable, insecure.
It’s what happens when we take our eye off the ball, looking towards a ‘better’ (for someone) horizon. The ball being here and now, the horizon being there and then, unrealistic – not here now.
No doubt certain strata of society will come to enjoy them (insects) immensely. I could say more … about insatiable human nature.
But all is well, evolution is right on time.
The sun shines, the wind blows …
Water is wet. Here and now.

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



Birdbath Life …

Not sure any more who’s is who’s but this is one of Katie’s, I think. Thanks for the pix Katie. :-) … Birds loving the water on a sunny day.

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The same kind of bird as last one, maybe even the same individual. Don’t know the names. I just see them obviously enjoying themselves.

Another kind, sharper because of the brighter light, checking out the quality of the water. Is it good enough?

“Mmm, I’ll have a go.” Lovely cool clean rainwater. Nothing like it to clear out the dust ‘n’ things.

And then there’s this wagtail, noisy little fellow, always announcing himself. Even brought a friend one day. Thoroughly enjoys the bath regularly.

As you can see, just about. They must feel vulnerable in the bath, in and out in the blink of an eye. Predators about perhaps. Kookaburra maybe … but not this time.

And then the bees showed up, and came again for a few days.

Gathering a little water for the hive. … The dark coloured dish heats up in the sunshine but the bees didn’t seem to notice or mind.

I had to work a little to capture one in a more photogenic posture and position or angle. A little sunlight breaking up on the eye.

Hot, hot, hot … but that’s the thing about these hive honey bees. Individuals are expendable – if that’s what’s happening regards the heat of that dish.

As I got the garden going at the new place a birdbath seemed appropriate, and I just happened to have one Kate no longer wanted when she was also moving recently.

I put it where it can be seen from the table where I write this, indoors, and also from the table on the veranda outside where we sit and relax now and again.

The pix are as good as they get from my gear, which was chosen for macro, not for fast moving birds in shadow = slow shutter speeds = blur.

But never mind, a few bees also found the birdbath attractive in recent days. They make up the sharper few – I do like to see the detail.

How can anyone not see the intelligence in nature, isn’t it obvious from the form and function of the small creatures, if nothing else.

Even the rain that’s falling right now, the form and function – fluid in every way, and wets every thing.

Beautiful too, in its own way.

Nature is …

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



After The Rains …

What nature provides in the aftermath, to those who adapt and can see.

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… everything gets on with it, everything that’s left.

This honey bee appeared between downpours and found a little nourishment.

Amazing in all the debris, and that everything was washed away, it stopped for a couple shots.

A little welcome to the new place that hasn’t had a chance to register the changes I’ve made to the garden.

Maybe next year, if I’m still here – who knows what may be – in a place that’s weathered the worst downpours in decades.

The owner is working hard to ensure the place is ready for worse to come, and so much else is good about the place, why not.

If things work out I might soon have the space and dry to work and get some of my bees to market this year –

We’ll see …

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



The Washing Line

A brief clearance of the cloud cover over Brisbane in recent days. Robber Fly taking a break towards dusk.*Click on the picture for a proper look … and click again

Probably the driest place right now, only because the inches of recently fallen water are flowing across the ground beneath.

It’s been raining for days now, lost count, and not much animated life forms are presenting. Except some cane toads at night as they go about their nocturnal business of decimating what local fauna they can find and swallow.

Fortunately they are not great climbers, cane toads. Ironically it was their presumed climbing abilities they were introduced to Australia for, to rid agriculture of the sugar cane beetle – that flies.

Would be funny if … well, you gotta laugh because crying about it doesn’t help. Sanity dictates I don’t judge the situation.

But what’s that to do with a Robber Fly on the washing line?

Nothing at all, it just came along with the story is all.

One beauty of a Robber Fly.

That’s all for now folks.

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



Be Lated …

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It’s been a while, moving house/s. Too much to do …

So, short and sweet, I trust. This wonderful Dragonfly paused a very short while on a potted butterfly bush at my last place.

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



Preyer On Blue

Preying Mantis, on the blue flowered butterfly bush. Doing what preyers do … sitting, waiting, attacking at opportunity. Preying …

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She doesn’t move much, unnecessarily. But when she does, towards prey, she is very fast. And often, her prey is faster than she is. Such is life …

Inspecting her reflection in the lens a few inches away? Maybe, maybe not, but she is certainly aware I (whatever presents in her perception or sense as ‘I’) am present.

She got used to me quick enough, was able to photograph her from a few inches and pick her up with ease.

Hello beauty, time to bow out of this conversation. Preyer on blue, and the observer unseen.

And on to the next event, the next necessity. … What we do. Us preyers, and prayers.

On the blue butterfly bush, where she sits and waits for what sustains her in her instinctive purpose, to live and live again.

She is one of the first to appear in the garden, so when the flowers are spent on one butterfly bush I give her a lift to the next.

What else visits the flowers takes its chances, and she is fast when she needs to be. Spiked arms flicking out to catch what comes.

But everything at that size is fast, when it comes to survival. So there’s no guarantee, of any kind, to anything.

Only death is certain, eventually. And death is just the end of the struggle to survive.

For a preyer …

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



Life In The Garden

This is how I picked her up, on the end of my stick. … Dead as a door nail. Or a last gasp strategy to survive a watery grave, lying on its back with as much out of water as possible.

And there she goes, against the odds still able to move and signalling life is present still. Amazing little bee …

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A nudge this way and that and before long she is back up and about, more or less. Taking to my finger for its warmth and simplicity of form.

Exploring and inspecting her new location now as she holds on tight. Perhaps some residual awareness in her body of a recent near death experience. But it won’t colour her for long.

Still a ways to go before she can take to the wing again. Those wings stuck together by the surface tension of water, I think. Will drain away as she wriggles and wicks.

Where there’s life … There’s potential for change, advancement, progress, or just plain recovery from the past, actual and otherwise. Unburdened by the weight of experience remembered.

“Do I look like a spider to you.” Looking very stable, legs all splayed out and around. Not falling into anything wet again. No need to do again what nearly killed her, bees are so practical.

“Ooh, this is nice.” A place among the flowers. Time and comfort to groom, first the limbs.

Maybe a little food to speed up recovery. I’m sure she senses it. Nectar and pollen just below in those colourful pots.

“Yes, yes, give me more …” Where to from here, who knows. Energised by her vital instinct to revive and away, where else.

Her changing demeanor observed to signify an inner cause. She is getting back to herself, being a no problem bee, ready to set off once more.

And so it was. Before long, before sundown, she was gone from the butterfly bush. Never to be seen again, except maybe as another bee …

I can’t help it, when I am walking around the pool and see something struggling to live I give it a hand.

Then it gives me a hand, providing me some sense of pleasure photographing it as it revives or dies.

Such is life, that sees the struggling of the forms of life without sentimentalising it.

No need for a bee to be anything but …

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



Assassin – Born Again

Raised up on the trusty stick with many uses. Soaked to the eyeballs but eager to rise again. A little unsteady at first.

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Time for a few shots before s/he gets going again. Nudged in a dryer direction, on life support. Me and my stick …

Renewed enough to start grooming, after being delivered to the flowering butterfly bush. Gently …

There’s little to do but wait to dry out a bit. The wind helped. And gather ones focus, on being a fly …

An Assassin Fly. King or queen of its kind. Master of the air and all below it in the hierarchy of form.

After a while the orange, staked for another form, served to display the Assassins form.

An aerial shot, as the Assassin would see its prey perhaps. Plenty to hold onto, should another Assassin attack from above.

The way they do … Getting into its exercises now, bringing life back to limb and wing.

Manipulated somewhat for the flower in the background. Context is everything. Well, it’s important to the best appearance of form and things.

And a little prayer for the very good luck that saved its neck, this time. Life moves on, death follows …

One is the other, really. Inseparable, one from the other. Where to draw the line … This one dry and ready to fly again. Not yet dead.

At days end the wind was blowing mightily. A good time to check the water’s surface for fallen creatures.

Thought I was just removing debris fallen from the surrounding trees but this little one jumped out.

An Assassin or Robber fly, so called for their capture and kill skills on the wing. Superb control.

With strong flight control, the legs are spiked to form the catcher basket in air.

The proboscis delivers the ‘coup de gras’, usually to the back of the head.

This one was lucky to survive, to live and kill another day.

Such is life …

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



A Journey …

… in the local bush.

Climbing out of the water of Karingal lake, by the rotting boardwalk. Herald of things to come …

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The ubiquitous black jumping spider, prowls the byways looking to ambush an unwary ant. Usually still enough for a shot when focused on eating, or other primal action.

Long legged bug, congregating on the long sticky grass. Probably feasting on the spring juice rising. Or just congregating, for who knows what – the pleasure of it maybe, or the mating prospects.

Little skink, lizard of a kind, has its home on a man-made structure along with others of its kind. It took a while but in time they accepted my presence as background – short memories, and no immediate threat.

Others of its kind, very social creatures. Took me for a member of the family eventually. In the end there was a lot (10 – 15) of them sitting and moving along the painted post, taking little notice of me as they inspected my hand and climbed around.

Fruit fly, patiently waiting for the prickly pear to grow – probably not. Little oasis that it is, the pear cactus. And those prickles – don’t brush against them – will cause serious discomfort in defense of the realm, the bounty of water it soaks up and retains.

Female Lynx spider, sitting nearby the prickly pear, just being a spider. No problem, a male in hailing distance but in no rush to engage. Spring time is for mating and babies, and eating, in the insect world.

Tiny by comparison, the male Lynx spider sits at a distance to the female. They are often eaten after mating, to feed the progeny. It’s only fair. :-) … Well, no its not, but it’s the way it is.

Tiny flowers abound after the rains, with more rain to come. Often overlooked by the naked eye, as we gloss over so much of nature, they are their own little beauties up close.

A rare find these days, leaf-cutter bees, with habitat disappearing and conditions hostile. These little beauties were a welcome sight towards journeys end. … Resting on dried out grass stems overhanging the dusty disused trail that leads back to water.

Another lover of the prickly pear, a gnat of some kind. Looked like a mozzie, but didn’t act like one. Just as well, for me and the gnat. … The prickly pear is full of water in a parched landscape, no surprise to see so many creatures nearby.

One more flowering beauty. You gotta work for the angle, even though they don’t move around, except in the wind. Something to do with eyesight … failing. :-)

A little acknowledgement helps keep it going. Here, and there.

Nature, the sense of it. The magnificent intelligence behind. Or human nature, intelligence personalised.

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