Friday, August 31, 2012

Cold comfort...

Comfort's Wood lies half a mile south of our village (or town as the traders prefer it to be known) and is a place I know very well and walk on an almost daily basis.

For this blog entry, I thought I'd share just some of the finds from today's walk.

Please click on any photo for a larger version
Meadow Brown Butterfly
I've already noticed the drop in numbers of Meadow brown butterflies and even though they seem to be one species that cope reasonably well with lower temperatures, if we get many more morning such as we had today, when it seemed unseasonably cold, spotting these will be much harder.

The Common Blue has had a very tough time locally this year and numbers are well down on last season...

Common Blue Butterfly
This female that I found in Comfort's Wood today is only the third individual I've seen all year thus far and that's a real disaster for the species. I'll be watching with interest to see how they recover come next year.

I normally try for a nice clean background for my butterfly shots but I'm quite happy with these showing some of the habitat in this instance. It's a shame though that this female is in such poor condition.

Aphrophora alni (Alder Spittle-bug)
The rosebay willowherb that has lined the woodland rides for a good few weeks is now coming to an end regards flowering, however, it still seems to be called home by a good number of bugs and insects.

The froghopper pictured above was perched on this plant and was doing its best to avoid being photographed by means of the usual trick of disappearing round the other side of the stem each time I was about to shoot.

Black Vine Weevil
The vine weevil in the photo above was something I wasn't expecting to come across today. I have not seen them in these woods before and knowing that they feed at night, didn't expect to bump into one early afternoon.
Once again, this was on rosebay willowherb.
On an artistic note-I was pleased with how this particular shot turned out. It was one of the few I took using flash to increase the light and I always aim to get as natural light as possible when using flash.

A Barkfly
Barkflies (Psocoptera) seem to have undergone an image change, they were once referred to as Bark-louse-or should that be lice? But it was decided that louse had nasty associations with dirt and disease, therefore the barklouse spin-doctors got together and came up with the alternative of fly.

Not often seen because of their small size, there are actually as many as 68 species in the U.K. with  almost every tree in Britain likely to be host to some of these creatures. This one was on oak.

A Grass Moth
I stumbled on this grass moth when I was photographing the vine weevil. I think it will be Agriphila species but unsure beyond that. Possibly A.straminella as I know that one is active during the day;not too sure though as I think that species has blue eyes?

 I also spotted this tiny moth on fleabane-I should know this one as I'm sure I've photographed it before but memory fails me once again.

My final 'spot' on my hour long walk around Comfort's Wood was a Common Darter dragonfly...

Common Darter Dragonfly
By now, the weather had taken a turn for the worse, as seems to happen with regularity this year and it had begun to rain. This one was perched on a small log on one of the footpaths. Determined to get at least one shot, I lowered myself to the ground and ignoring the dampness, set about getting my photo.

The rain didn't seem to be getting and worse and the dragonfly didn't appear at all bothered by me shoving my lens into its face, and so I felt confident enough to take a few extra shots that I could then 'stack' together on the P.C. for a sharper image with a bit more depth of field.

And so, this is the resulting image:it's a stack of 7 frames shot hand-held using natural light. I was quite pleased to be able to get the extra depth of field and clarity but, I'm not sure that I actually like it that much! It seems a bit too sharp somehow for natural light? 

That was Comfort's Wood then, on the last day of summer 2012. Last day? Huh! There didn't seem to be many summer days this year?

Until the next time then...

All shots taken with Canon 40d-Canon 100mm Macro. All natural light photos with the exception of the vine weevil and barkfly where I added diffused flash.


  1. thanks for sharing.

  2. Great Blog! Your moths are Agriphila tristella (grass veneer) and the Nettle-tap

  3. Thanks for your comments and especially for sorting out an i.d. for the moths

  4. Yet another superbly crafted blog entry. Your natural light photography is amazing!


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