Wednesday, May 1, 2013

SP5595ish - some insane luck!

Today was gloriously sunny and warm. I was at work for the most part (though I did nip home at lunch time and picked up a hoverfly tick, which I'll come back to). After work, I was intent on getting out into the square with my net and a load of pots. Needless to say I've got a few bits to check out, but at one point on my foray I had an amazing few minutes which is almost unbeliveable - luckily I also had the camera with me.

In one part of my square, I'd noticed a large felled trunk that looked to have been in situ for a while and peppered with holes. It looked to have potential, and I planned on checking it every now and then through the year. I'd also noticed that it had plenty of Cramp Balls on one side.

Photographed back in early March

I walked up to this dead lump of wood today thinking how it would be nice to see something like Scarce Fungus Weevil, or maybe Cobweb Beetle - both would be new for me. About a minute later I was scrambling for my camera to point it at this .......

Scarce Fungus Weevil

I was well pleased, and though I recognised what this was I decided to pot it just in case something needed to be checked. As I potted it, I noticed that it looked just as interesting on the underside so I took it round to the other side of the tree where I knew there was a flat sawn area which would make a good photo station. As I went to tip it out I noticed this ....

(probably not a Cobweb) Beetle larva

I needed to get another pot out so I could get this one sorted, and as I went to put the camera down I was astounded to see this ambling along ....

Euophryum confine - another tick, covered in tiny white mites

Eventually I had both of these potted up, and managed to do what I had intended with the first weevil.

Chunky and funky both ways up

Three British ticks in a matter of a couple of minutes - brilliant! Unless of course I've got any of these wrong.

Earlier in the day, I pointed the camera at a new hoverfly - one I've undoubtedly overlooked before I'd got Stubbs.

Epistrophe eligans

Here's a couple of other bits (not new) from today:

Face Fly

Bibio johannis

What's happened to the St Mark's Flies this year? The Whitethroat on the embankment has moved on, as have all the Willow Warblers it appears - and still no Chiffchaff!

I'll update my total once I've scrutinised bits in pots under the microscope.


  1. I am really envious of the quality of your photos, absolutely brilliant. What sort of equipment do you use?


  2. Thanks Marilyn. I'm not using anything fancy or prohibitively expensive I can assure you. I am using a Panasonic Lumix FZ45 with a Raynox DCR-250 macro conversion lens clipped on. This is a bridge compact camera (not DSLR). I try to always use it set on aperture priority and with the aperture set to f8.0 (smallest aperture setting on this camera) to get best depth of field, and with the ISO set to 80 (slowest ISO on this camera) to get best image quality. After that it's just a case of using flash where necessary or increasing/backing off exposure value. A quick tweak and crop in photoshop and post them on here (or my blog).

    1. Blimey .... I thought you had some mega Canon/Nikon DSLR with an even more mega (expensive) macro lens. And there's me with my - er - Panasonic Lumix FZ45! Just off to google that macro conversion lens on Amazon .... What's your verdict on the Panasonic close-up lens for the Lumix?

    2. Mike - I'd strongly recommend you go for the Raynox. My wife accidentally bought me the panasonic close-up lens for the lumix and I couldn't work out how to make it have the slightest effect. I contacted Panasonic to ask for advice and they entirely ignored my query. I sent it back and got the Raynox and it's great - see my beefly recently which is with the same combination. Mr Lawlor uses the same on Guernsey.

    3. Thanks Andy - I had my doubts about the Panasonic close-up lens after reading some of the dodgy reviews but knew someone in BC who'd used it pretty successfully for butterflies. I can manage the latter without a close-up lens so the Raynox sounds more like the one I need for invertebrates.

    4. I have a GE X5 bridge camera that I like to use in the field as it is not too big to cart about. So hopefully I will be able to use the same Raynox lens, anyway I have ordered one! Can't wait to try it out! Thanks very much for the info.

    5. I've got the FZ48, the same Raynox lens and use the same settings as Mark. But I'm still blown away by his photos compared to mine!

  3. I'm now doubting the Cobweb Beetle - clearly it's a beetle larva but I think it's something else. I'm going to try and rear through.

  4. Mark, I'm also a bit doubtful about the Cobweb Beetle. Ctesias serra has clumps of hairs like a toothbrush. Yours might be a different species of dermestid. Worth rearing.

  5. Thanks Mark - it seems to be happily scoffing buts of dead insect so far so may be in luck.