Jul 232010

I’m still after a good topside photo of the European Map, but a sharp, close, open-winged, straight on shot so far eludes me. 😥 Although I’ve got plenty of shots, they are all slightly lacking in some way. But in my pursuit of this today, I happened across my first Painted Lady of the year (in Zgierz).

Painted lady - Vanessa cardui

Rather battered (looks as if it has escaped being eaten by a bird – or maybe the result of migration?) But even with a significant chunk of wing missing, this one appeared to be in total control of its flight ability.

Painted lady - Vanessa cardui

As is normal for painted ladies, this one was quite tricky to get close to, but fortunately was very keen to feed on these flowers, so didn’t go far away when spooked. And when it realised I wasn’t after a butterfly sandwich for breakfast, it let me get quite close. :yes:

Painted lady - Vanessa cardui

Painted lady - Vanessa cardui

Jul 222010

Having seen endless peacocks, speckled woods, ringlets, cabbage whites, and meadow browns in the garden in Zgierz (I even saw what looked like a swallowtail fying quite high up one day 😎 ), today marked the first sighting of a Red Admiral. They like cherries. This one was first seen heading for the cherry tree, where I soon scared it by getting too close. After that (s)he headed over to the compost area to find some rotting apples which fell off the tree. But the closest shot I got was after eating some apple, it headed into a tree to roost at about a foot above my head height and upside down. Light was bad, so I used the pop-up onboard flash. Unusual angle, but good facial and outside wing detail – and we’ve all seen Red Admirals before anyway. 😉

Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta

And this moth was seen in the woods on the way back from a session at the lake yesterday evening. No idea what it is.

No idea what this moth is

Jul 212010

I popped to my “target rich environment” for an hour this morning and got a better shot of the topside of the European Map (Araschnia levana, prorsa). Still not brilliantly sharp, but again it was rather windy, so a bit hard to focus. At least you can see the markings.

European Map (Araschnia levana, prorsa)

Also caught another species I hadn’t got before. This one is a Ringlet – Aphantophus hyperantus.

Ringlet - Aphantophus hyperantus

And there was also a kind of hoverfly on a flower that didn’t object too strongly to having its portrait done.

A kind of hoverfly

Jul 202010

Just popped my head out the door this morning to be confronted with this on the wall. So I ran back in for the camera and clicked off a few “rounds”. Quite laid back, allowed me close enough so that this was full frame with Sigma 105mm.
Call me boring, but I prefer my butterflies the right way up. But beggars can’t be choosers. 😀

Peacock - Inachis io

Not expecting much of anything else today as we spent most of the day in the car to Kepno and back.

Jul 192010

One of the areas I scouted out last week has thousands of Burnet moths. I went through there today and took loads of shots, but it was too dark and too windy to get much of anything really good. So I will have to go back on a brighter day. This one is included just for fun, not for photographic merit…

Burnet moths (5 or 6 spot)

Then I went down to the lake and it was dismal there too, but I found the damselflies and one male in particular let me get really close. These were with on-camera flash though so not as natural looking as I like…

Calopterix splendens

Calopterix splendens

Jul 182010

Banded Demoiselle – Calopteryx splendens. These live up to their latin name – they are indeed splendid to look at. 😎 First place I ever noticed one was at “the Willows” a few weeks ago. Then I saw them again on a riverside walk in Bicester. And they are quite abundant here in Zgierz by the local boating lake. I love the way they fly. Very fluttery and butterfly like. Quite skittish (as I found out both times I tried to get anywhere near them in the UK). Yesterday I just sat down on the bank in a place where there were 3 or 4 fluttering about and waited for them to land near me (ish). Then you stick the camera to your face and approach gradually, taking shots along the way, never knowing which one will be the closest – because they will flutter away if you close in too quickly – or once their comfort zone has been invaded. As usual, click any image for an enlarged version (1000px – they do look a bit soft when shrunk to 600px to fit in the blog 😥 The high res versions 3008 px wide aren’t – but I’m not publishing those freely on the web 😛 ).

Banded Demoiselle - Calopteryx splendens. Male

Banded Demoiselle - Calopteryx splendens. Female

A pair of, what I think is White-legged Damselfly – Platycnemis pennipes. The blue one is the male and the white is the female. (I assumed it was the other way round, but apparently not). If you get too close to these when they are “busy” they will happily relocate by flying to another blade of grass or reed. They also posit their fertilised eggs in the water while flying together. Pretty amazing really.

White-legged Damselfly - Platycnemis pennipes.

Jul 172010

Another early morning trip to the lake this morning, in the hunt for interesting insect life, gleaned three species of butterfly (all beginning with M) I had yet to photograph. I also went in search of damselflies, but will post those tomorrow.

This one I had not noticed before. It’s black and white on the topside and this is the underside. I didn’t get a good enough shot to post of the top side. But there were a few of these round the lake, so I hope to get one in due course. (They are not found in the UK).

Map - Araschnia levana (prorsa)

Next up the marbled white. Classic pose on a thistle flower. The lovely blue background is actually the water of the lake reflecting the sky.

Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

Last up a Meadow brown. Seen loads of these but had trouble getting close enough for a shot. When they’re eating, they’re much more approachable. :yes:

Meadow Brown - Maniola jurtina

Those were my three butterfly selections from today’s crop. I’ll post up the damselfly shots tomorrow.

Jul 142010

Well I did manage to see a few other things today, but didn’t have my camera with me. I got up early and cycled round the lake scouting out where the early morning action is. Loads of damselflies on the other side of the lake from where I was last time. Will take camera and video camera next time. A couple more garden shots of red veined darters (just in case you’re not bored of them yet) :devil:

These guys are amazing. They let you get so close you can hear them crunching their food. This afternoon two of them were sitting on the top of the chain-link fence. I pretty much know where they hang out now. :yes:

red veined darter

This was on top of the chain-link fence sticking it’s backside in the air.

red veined darter

Jul 132010

Starting off with something newer today. Nice to see that the traditional 7-spot ladybird is still alive and well and thriving in Poland 🙂 . Although the Harlequin is here too 😥 (more on that in a minute).

7-spot ladybird

A Harlequin ladybird along with the shell thing they leave behind when they change from larva to adult.

Harlequin ladybird

Next up the largest caterpillar I’ve ever seen. Tomek called me over to find this one. At one point it crawled onto my hand and it felt so weird the way those little feet gripped the skin. A bit creepy. Looked it up later and it’s the caterpillar of a Gypsy Moth.

Gypsy Moth caterpillar

And here’s its facial portrait…

Gypsy Moth

And of course, a regular photo session with the in-house model, the red veined darter (although he showed up an hour earlier today, and

Red Veined Darter (male)

I got some video as well).

Jul 122010

I woke early and decided to pop over to the lake to see if there would be any interesting insect life. Of course there was an abundance of dragonflies and damselflies. Most of the dragonflies were broad bodied chasers (libellula depressa). I got really close to one and then got home to find all the shots were poor because of a poor background.
Here’s a shot of one that had a reasonable background. As I progress in my macro journey, it seems to me that getting close to the insect and getting a sharp shot is not enough. A good clean, contrasting background helps an enormous amount too. :yes:

Broad bodied chaser, down at the lake

I’ll be going back to the lake to try to get some better shots of the chasers. Probably shoot some video too, as it’s hard to appreciate their amazing flying ability with stills.

Several different types of damselfly also there. This white one let me get pretty close without getting spooked.

Damsel fly (yet to ID)

I like this image because the “joint” in the grass seems to mimic the joints of the segments of the damselfly’s body. 😎

And this pair are doing their bit to ensure the future population of damselflies in the “Malinka” boating lake. I would have liked to have got a bit more straight on this one, but I would have had to wade into the lake to do so. These guys were actually flying around while still coupled at one point. That was pretty amazing to see. 😎

Damselflies mating