Incoming - August 2017
It was another beautiful morning for my weekend photo shoot, but although the blue skies looked inviting, it was a rather cold start to the day.
With most of the insect life hiding away until it warmed up a little, I started my shoot concentrating on the few birds that were braving the cooler conditions.
I was very pleased to catch this Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) coming in to land, as I'd originally been focused on the Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis). I just happened to see a small flash of yellow coming into view, and the photography gods must have been smiling down on me as when I clicked the shutter, my auto focus system had managed to latch onto the little chap.
Searching for Food - August 2017
I then observed some interesting behaviour amongst some Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris). I spotted this adult flying around in circles, and assumed it was catching insects on the wing...
Mid Air Meeting - August 2017
...it was then joined by this juvenile, and I started to wonder whether or not the adult was teaching the youngster how to go about feeding in mid flight...
Lunch Time - August 2017
...but then both landed, and the adult proceeded to feed the youngster. This happened two or three times while I watched, and I thought it was interesting behaviour.
Gliding Gull - August 2017
While all of this was going on, the Black Headed Gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) circled dad's lawn, waiting for an opportune moment to swoop down and steal some bread away from the Pigeons.
Morning Moonshine - August 2017
My avian buddies weren't the only things hanging around in the beautiful blue cloudless sky. I snapped a shot of the Moon while I waited for the insects to show up. I find the moon a fascinating subject, and always wish I was better equipped to capture it in greater detail.
If you're interested in taking photographs of the moon, you may want to take a look at a few tips I wrote about in a previous article. Shooting The Moon explains some of the basic techniques I use to get a decent exposure with lots of detail. Why not click on the link to check it out?
Close Encounter - August 2017
Eventually, it was warm enough for the insect brigade to come and join me in the garden. This Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) was loving the pollen from the large yellow Butterfly Bush (Buddleia).
Buzy Bee - August 2017
I think it must have probed every single floret in the search for that perfect grain of pollen.
Hornet Mimic - August 2017
It wasn't the only one enjoying the Buddleia Bushes, although this Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) preferred the purple coloured ones.
Mimic Close-up - August 2017
Volucella zonaria is one of the UK's largest Hoverfly, with this particular specimen being approximately 2cm in length.
Pine Ladybird - August 2017
At the other end of the scale, I've often seen these small black Ladybirds (Coccinellidae) around the garden, but have never known their common or scientific name. So, I did a little bit of research, and found that it is a Pine Ladybird (Exochomus 4-pustulatus), which, unsurprisingly, are mainly found in areas of Pine! However, they also like Hawthorn, of which there is a hedge planted very close to the Holly Bush (Ilex) where I photographed this little gal.
Speckled Wood Waiting - August 2017
I wasn't having much luck with Butterflies on my photo shoot until this rather obliging Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria) started to follow me around the garden.
Speckled Wood Stare Down - August 2017
No kidding, for about five minutes, wherever I went, he followed. I used up quite a lot of my memory card taking photos of him, and he rewarded me with some excellent poses.
Next Generation - August 2017
I've not seen many Large White Butterflies (Pieris brassicae) this year, certainly nowhere near as many as last year. So, I was surprised to come across this little Large White Caterpillar munching away on a Nasturtium (Tropaeolum) leaf.
Food Parcel - August 2017
The Garden Spiders (Araneus diadematus) were slowly growing in numbers, and it wouldn't be long before it was impossible to walk around the garden without wandering into one of their webs - a bit like the contents of this spider's lunch box.
Just Dessert - August 2017
This Flesh Fly (Sarcophaga carnaria) was enjoying the fruits of a Bramble Bush (Rubus fruticosus), and was demonstrating why it really isn't a good idea to pick Brambles straight from the bush and eat them, without thoroughly washing them first.
Hairy Hanger On - August 2017
I'm not sure what variety this Fly (Diptera) is, but he was certainly a very hairy chap.
Hypericum Bloom - August 2017
Flower wise, there wasn't an abundance of new activity going on. There were some new St John's Wort (Hypericum) blooms growing through a hedge...
Convolvulus Cauldron - August 2017
...the Convolvulus continued to wind its way around other unsuspecting neighbouring flora...
Pink Erigeron - August 2017
...and the white Erigeron 'Stallone' blooms were turning pink!
Plenty of Pears - August 2017
As the days were starting out chillier, there was definitely a feeling of Autumn approaching. The Pears on the Pear Tree were almost ready for harvesting...
Autumn is Coming - August 2017
...and the Lacecap Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) had definitely popped their Autumn clothing on.
Cotoneaster Crop - August 2017
The Cotoneaster bushes were starting to produce lots of berries...
Willowherb Waves - August 2017
...while the Great Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) plants had started to set seed...
Seedy Place - August 2017
...although not all of the seed was flying off to the most appropriate of places, one of them landing in the centre of this very pretty Grassnut (Triteleia laxa) bloom.
Fading into Autumn - August 2017
As far as Autumn goes, I always think it's definitely on the way as soon as the Acer palmatum tree starts to change from green, to yellow and then to brown.
Feeding Time - August 2017
Finally, some more fishy photography. I finally got around to planting up a new aquarium, and the first residents are these Sterba Cory's (Corydoras sterbai). They're wonderful little catfish that love to surf in the output of the internal filter. I love how their orange fins show up on the dark gravel substrate I installed in this tank.
So, this week I chose Incoming as my Image of the Week, mainly because I was lucky to be able to react quickly enough to point the camera at the Blue Tit, and even luckier to get it in focus...