Sunday, April 29, 2012

Part two....

As I mentioned in my last post, I had too much for one entry and so here goes with part 2...

I'm at last starting to see a good variety of hoverflies here in Kent. 

Helophilus pendulas-female
This one was a nice, clean example and my guess is that it had not long emerged.I've read that it's scientific name means 'dangling sun lover' 

A close-up shot shows the facial strip nicely that can be used to help identify the species.As this fly seemed oblivious to my presence, I decided to try a natural light shot as well...

It didn't occur to me at the time, but later wondered if there was something wrong with this one because when I walked the same route early the next morning, it was still in the same place.

It even allowed me to lift it on to my finger for a photo...

It sat there quite happily whilst I wondered what I should do when it suddenly lifted-off and was gone:possibly it was as simple as it being late in the day when I first saw it (hence, coldish) and by the time it had recovered from emerging and its wings were ready for flight, it was too late and so rested there overnight.

As you'd expect in springtime, there are  things emerging all the time and so I have another freshly emerged fly photo to show you next. This one was very fresh, as witnessed by it's teneral colouration...

Tachina fera
I'm fairly sure the identity is right.It belongs to the Tachinidae family of flies and is quite a large thing at 12-15mm. They are all parasitoids, with larvae that grow up inside other insects. This particular one is know to parasitise caterpillars.

Here's another shot of it from a little later one when it has coloured up.....

And another view, a dorsal shot ...

Enough with the flies already! 

Rhopalus subrufus
The rhopalid bugs are back in the garden at last. There are four species of these in the U.K. and all are rather hairy with wings that are reddish in colour.

This profile view (above) shows just how hairy they are. I've only found two species in the garden thus far, this one and the striking, red and black Corizus  hyoscyami.

What next? Oh yes-I wanted to show you a photo I'd forgotten about until now. It's of Goldfinches on a bird-feeder in a friends garden from a few weeks ago. It's taken with a point and shoot and through the window but still shows just what beauties these little birds are...

From something of beauty that can be appreciated with the naked eye, to something that would be impossible to see with the naked eye but is just as wonderful when viewed through a microscope...

Orange-Tip Butterfly Wing
This is an ultra close shot of an orange-tip butterfly wings seen through a microscope lens that I managed to attach to the camera. I have to say that I've been wanting to try shots like this for a while but wasn't expecting too much from this first attempt. It's a really tricky process and the lens that I used could hardly be described as top quality: in fact, it came from e.bay and cost me just £1.04 plus postage!
 Even so, the result made me smile, it's something unseen without the aid of a microscope and once revealed is stunning-alright, the quality of my photo could be better (and probably will be as I progress) but who would have imagined that a butterfly wing would look like this?

Here's another photograph showing a different area...

The thing that struck me about this is, when we see orange-tips in the wild they appear to have shades of green on their wings for camouflage. What it actually is though is yellow and black and that makes me wonder why mother nature didn't just use green if that's the effect she was looking for?

Sightings of butterflies have been pretty sparse through April but I did manage a shot of a comma a few days ago...

A Comma Butterfly
Well this blog entry is starting to reach epic proportions itself now and so I think it may be time to add a final image and then high-tail it outta here!

A Wood Ant
That's it-quite a variety bag for this edition and I already have some nice and hopefully interesting items for the next one.

Until the next time then...


  1. Hey mate ... gotta say top notch photos!! Those microscopic ones of the Orange Tip wing are incredible and all for just over £1!!

  2. Awe, thanks Tim. Can't really complain about the quality at that price eh? Perhaps one day I'll get some better quality glass and then who knows...

    Appreciate your comment.

  3. Blimey if they get any better i may just give up trying to compete ... if i havent already! LOL!!

  4. Great blog JJ. I'll bet there's lots of interesting close ups to be had with that microscope lens. Very interesting shots of the butterfly wings. Looks like the weather is improving at last. Should be lots to see now. Keep up the good work. Derek Cluskey.

  5. Those are great JJ, that microscope wing picture is amazing, looks like mini bird feathers, really neat! :)

  6. Thanks Cathy. Yes, it's another world even from macro!


Please feel free to comment on my blog. I am always grateful for any feedback, good or bad. Commenting should be fast and easy. Just enter your comment in the box, then click on the drop-down box beside 'Comment as'. You can use your Google ID if you have one, or just choose 'Name/URL and enter your name (URL is not needed). You can also just choose anonymous, if you would rather not be identified.

Regards 'JJ'.

If you do experience any difficulties, you can contact me directly from this blog and I will try to help.