Sunday, 24 May 2009

Nature, close-up.

Ive been messing about with a new camera that has "super macro". You have to get within 4 cm of your subject to use it, so it's good for plants. For insects, you have to be very lucky or go out when the poor things are too cold to fly away. Apparently, photographers often put their victims (subjects) into the fridge for a while so they don't move around too much. (I'm not talking fashion models here; they don't move because they haven't eaten for a week.) You can tell if an insect is cold because its antennae tend to droop and you may see water particles on the furry bits.

Looking for plants, I went over to the sailing lake, which is awash with ragged robins. I didn't find any orchids for a long time, then stumbled upon a single twayblades, that I think is the first found on the site. It's quite a tall (40cm) green orchid with two, broad, basal leaves.

Dragonflies tend to be very active,when not sunning themselves to warm up. They are very vulnerable when they first emerge, and that's when I found a female hairy dragonfly at the visitors' centre. I think it came out of our garden pond. This is quite a rarity. The best place to see them in in the gully by the beach. The other dragonfly on the wing right now is the scarce chaser, which is rare in Beds. but not so rare in Cambs.

My best butterfly so far was a common blue which I photographed on the Meadow Trail.

If you are new to digital photography, give macro a go. Check out your camera manual to see how to access macro/close up settings. Even the cheapest cameras have it. Mine was under £100.

Bird Ringing

On a totally different topic; I have just heard from our bird ringers, Ian and Rosemary. They made their 2nd Constant Effort Sight visit on the 10th and caught 51 birds which was pretty good. Interesting birds included a lesser whitethroat from 2007 (so it has gone to Kenya and back at least twice!), garden warbler retraps from last year, 3 nightingales, a control (ie ringed elsewhere reed warbler) and best of all, a Spanish ringed garden warbler! The BTO tell us that this is the 6th ever Spanish ringed garden warbler to be found in the UK, and all have been caught by ringers in central England in the last five years. Ian is not sure if this means the Spanish have only started ringing garden warblers (which is possible) or that there has been a subtle shift in migration route.