Friday 31 July 2020

Venus Pool - Speckled Bush Cricket

Another new Bush Cricket!! This time a male Speckled Bush Cricket with, as the name implies a scattering of black spots all over. 

Long antennae as per usual...

The 'wing's as seen here are pretty pointless as they can't fly but boy can they jump!

Turned my head for a moment and he was gone!!

Thursday 30 July 2020

Titterstone Clee - Common Hawker

Titterstone Clee usually turns something up in the Dragon and Damsel world during July. I had to settle for Common Hawker being the star turn of the morning...

Firstly, watching the maiden flight of this freshly emerged male!

The later watching this adult male hawking for prey...

Wonderful creatures, so agile and worth the 30 mins or so it took to get these flight shots!

Sunday 26 July 2020

Llanymynech Rocks - Silver-washed Fritillary

A sunny day was forecast and another butterfly was the target... Despite the lack of sunshine which wasted most of the morning, all came well with at least 15 - 20 Silver-washed Fritillaries on view at various spots on the Shropshire side. 

The best views and freshest butterflies were of course eventually found not far from the entrance as we (Dave Chapman, John Morris and me) retraced out steps and finished with a Fritillary fest!

I'll spare you the damaged wings, lady luck delivered a smart male and female...

Here's the male...

This was really obliging female, with us for an hour on and off, occasionally pestered by amorous males

Just loving the iridescent greenish blue sheen to the underwing in the sunlight!

One of many 'frame fillers' to end with! 

I started the day with just a few mediocre shots of this species over the years and we all left well satisfied 'job done'!

Llanymynech - Southern Hawker

 Whilst the Silver-washed Fritillaries were the main target, there was a good supporting cast and a pair of Southern Hawker dragonfly were constantly flying about the butterfly hotspot...

It would have been rude not too!

Managed to get closer to this one but maybe too close?

That's better, at least the appendages are visible now!

Saturday 25 July 2020

Venus Pool - Aberrant Comma

A good year for Comma butterflies, plenty about and the first to emerge are always very obliging to photograph and then largely ignored. I had to look twice when one flew past me today, did I just see a flash of white?!

I've seen images of 'white' Comma's where the orange brown coloration is completely lost but here the white was restricted to the lower part of the hind wings...

And if you look closely, the body hairs over the same region!

The things Butterflies do to get themselves noticed!

Friday 24 July 2020

The Bog - Emerald Damselflies

Emerald Damselflies must be one of the most beautiful of our Damselflies. The iridescent metallic sheen gives them an edge on just about all the others!

Here's the male, noticeably thin abdomen with powdery blue coloration on the side of the thorax, pronotum and some of the segments. 

The female has a distinctly thicker abdomen, greenish above with beige underparts.

And you can clearly tell for these two, it was love at firstsight!

The Bog - Mottled Grasshopper

Whilst Grayling were the target species, I kept my ears and eyes to the ground in the hope of nailing my final 'easy'  Grasshopper for Shropshire. The habitat here is ideal in the sunny dry spots and it wasn't long before, I could see obviously 'clubbed' antennae in the viewfinder! Keeping them still and in a reasonably open position for a picture was another matter!!

My first one had clearly suffered an injury to the tip of the left antenna! Clear mottling, long wings and red colouration to the abdomen looking good for a male Mottled Grasshopper. The search was on for a better one however...

After a bit of a search, finally found one showing clearly clubbed antennae although there was far less mottling in general. The strongly inflexed pronotum looks good though!

Fascinating creatures, wonder which one will hop into my life next?

The Bog - Grayling

Another habitat, another butterfly and a Shropshire speciality in the form of Grayling, formerly in decline in inland areas. There were at least 12 flying about, always easy to find (after nearly being stood on!)

I've done the underwing on a stone image many times before! Something else was needed?

Brambles to the rescue...

Which way is up?

Two feeding on the same patch!

There was a lot more insect action going on there too!

Monday 20 July 2020

Venus Pool - female Long-winged Conehead

Another day, another Conehead and I haven't even been searching for them, they just seem to turn up!! The was another nymph Long-winged Conehead but this time a female brandishing an amazing ovipositor! Found along the path adjacent to the sand quarry...

This was to be the briefest of encounters as she hopped into the dense vegetation next to the fence and was lost to view!

Sunday 19 July 2020

Venus Pool - Long-winged Conehead No2

Yet another male nymph Long-winged Conehead, this time off the path in the arable field, near to the Oak tree. This photo, first of three demonstrates just how long the antennae are!

A couple of dorsal views...

Followed by a long hop and change of scenery!

The final perch, before I lost him, by far the most photogenic...

Good things come in threes, where;s the next one?

Venus Pool - Roesel's Bush Cricket

Roesel's Bush Cricket has escaped the South East during recent years, spreading steadily northwards and despite being a relative newcomer to Venus Pool, safe to say it has settled down! With a reeling continuous Savi's like churr, once you get attuned to this, it really is all over the reserve. I'm grateful to Dave Chapman for getting my ears tuned in... Here's a taste of some encounters during the past week of insect spotting...

You need a lot of space to fit in stretched legs and those long antennae...

And despite having a mainly brown and grey colour scheme, its quite a colourful character!

Not afraid to pose obligingly for the camera in the Chicory!

My favourite moment of the week, perfect light and tucking those antennae in the frame quite nicely!

Whilst I'm still hooked on Odonata, there's many more interesting insects on show at this time of year and I'm filling my boots...