Monday, 22 May 2017

Good News Bad News Scenario

Rustic Shoulder-knot

The good news is that last night was my first opportunity to run the moth trap for a full night - and it worked. Nothing caught fire, or floated away, and no-one nicked the trap, p*ssed in it or took a cr*p in it (always a potential hazard in urban areas). The bad news? Well moths are pretty thin on the ground, one micro, three Light Brown Apple Moths and a Rustic Shoulder-knot. On the one hand, this proves that the trap works - it is capable of catching moths - if there are any moths to catch. Conditions last night were pretty good, but I'm not the only moth trapper getting very poor results this year. I wish that I had started trapping 10 years ago so that I would have a good dataset to look at across the introduction of LED street lighting here two years ago. The scientific data is very clear that LED street lights are bad for moth populations (and hence for bats and birds). However, there are also very few butterflies in the garden and it's hard to put that onto LED street lights.

All of this points to a very worrying underlying malaise. To paraphrase E.O. Wilson, "If the insects collapse, we're all f*cked". I can't turn the clock back, I can only build a dataset from this point forwards, and hope that catches improve next month. Sorry this has been a bit sweary.

Rustic Shoulder-knot, Apamea sordens.

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f11 1/160 ISO 110

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Is it wrong to have favourites?

Tipula vernalis

I can't remember how many years ago I gave up trying to decide if it's weird to have a favorite Cranefly. Anyway, Tipula vernalis is my favourite - by a mile. Consequently, I wind up taking much the same shot every year when they emerge en masse every spring. Here's this year's entry.

Normal is over rated.

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f11 1/160 ISO 1400

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Cowpat for breakfast

Small Copper

Then it rained.

Small Copper, Lycaena phlaeas.

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f11 1/160 ISO 720

Friday, 19 May 2017

Scarborough Fair

Scarborough Fair

In some ways this image represents a step backwards (e.g. composition) from my previous high key floral flat lay efforts. I’m not after perfection. I’m after an acceptable standard. I’m not giving up yet though.

Nikon D7200
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
f9 32mm 1s ISO 100

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Not Mykonos

Not Mykonos

It's been a hard week bashing spreadsheets, mostly in the rain. A welcome diversion has been Xtoffdav's holiday snaps (I jest, I like his style) of Mykonos. But I'm not in Mykonos. And this isn't Mykonos either, it's the village where I spent my youth. And if you screw your eyes up, and get the processing right), it looks just a little bit like Mykonos.

iPhone 6s Plus f/2.2 4.2 mm 1/4000 ISO 25

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Looking for a ray of sunshine


It seems to have been an uphill struggle today. It all started last night. At 8pm the air in the garden was warm, still, humid and thick with LBAM and promise. When I put the moth trap out at 9 everything had disappeared. I only got one moth (an unidentifiable Stigmella sp.) all night, while everyone else in the county was getting lifetime results. However, Mr Hedgehog made a cameo appearance - the first we've seen in the garden for 20 years (although I did bump into one up the road a few months back). Like foxes, hedgehogs are well on the way to becoming an urban species, having been almost obliterated in the British countryside.

Nikon D7200 Tokina 100mm f3.2 1/20 ISO 12800(!)

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Why worry about the little things?

Sulphur Tubic

Due to a combination of personal circumstances and weather I haven't had chance to run the moth trap properly yet, but I have managed to grab a couple of quick hours here and there. Moths are still in relatively short supply although numbers and variety is starting to pick up now. No spectacular finds so far, although I did miss one very interesting specimen which buzzed by in the dark. So far, for me the fascination has been in the micro moths, such as this pretty little Sulphur Tubic. After spending its larval phase munching dead wood, it's now on the wing for a few short weeks and then it'll be gone for another year.

Micro moths are ignored by many - they're certainly hard work to identify. But for me, these micro marvels are at least as fascinating as a fat hawkmoth. If this 12mm moth was 12cm long people would be paying good money to stand in sweaty greenhouses full of screaming kids at half term to take photographs of it. But why worry about the little things? Here's why.

Sulphur Tubic, Esperia sulphurella.

Nikon D7200 Tokina 100mm f/2.8 f11 1/125 ISO 500

Monday, 15 May 2017

A lesson in genetics

Cepaea nemoralis

Brown-lipped Snail (Cepaea nemoralis), probably the most variable snail in the world. Probably.
Careers have been built on this.

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f9 1/125 ISO 100

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Ivy Broomrape

Ivy Broomrape

Ivy Broomrape, Orobanche hederae. (Probably ;-)

iPhone 6s Plus back camera 4.15mm f2.2 4.2mm 1/112 ISO 25