Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Making the most of it

Not the most eventful day at work, but I did discover that I was over-qualified, by some considerable margin, for Government funding, when I attended a session to enrol on a Business Improvement Techniques NVQ course. No great shakes, but it would have been far easier if this had been explained before I said I'd "give it a go!" My shift over at 14.00 hrs, I was home within ten minutes and out in the garden sorting out our decking area. The phone went, Gadget telling me that a Hen Harrier was coming my way. I could see the gulls going nuts, but sadly missed the bird, two Common Buzzards providing minor compensation. I do have Hen Harrier on my "patch list" but only the one record - it is therefore, a fantastic sighting and I'm gutted at missing this bird. It appears to have passed by, away to the east, hidden from my view by the rooftops of Prestege Avenue?


Hoverflies feeding on umbelifers
I spent a couple of hours in the garden, getting quite a bit done, before deciding to take a walk around the farm, the weather being that good. I took my bins and my camera, fitted with the 18 - 55 mm lens with a 14 mm extension tube. It was always going to be about inverts - I'd seen my first Tawny Mining Bee, of 2015, as I came home. Although there was a chill to the NE breeze, the afternoon sun was very pleasant in the lea of the hedgerows and insect life was plentiful. I saw my first Swallow of the year and a Chiffchaff was singing from the bushes around the "White House" - Spring has definitely sprung!
By deliberately fitting the extension tubes to my camera, I am forced to seek subjects which lend themselves to macro photographic techniques. Today it was a pleasure; of course it would have been nice to get a shot of the Swallow or Chiffchaff - both were well within range of my "big lens" - but it wasn't why I was out on the farm.

This insect was superb - not knowing what it is called doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the encounter.
I derive immense pleasure from macro photography - I'm not particularly good at it, but that is not going to stop me having fun. I suppose I was out for 90 minutes - I took 87 images. Hoverflies were the most numerous subjects, my guess that at least five species were on the wing. I did see another Tawny Mining Bee, but it didn't want to play. However, there were two insects which were completely new to me, one was a fly sp, which was feeding on an umbelifer, the other was 10-spotted Ladybird. Just by forcing myself to look in this fashion has produced two new encounters for me. So what if I missed a Hen Harrier, as great as that record is, I've seen loads of them during my life - those two insects are the first examples, of their kind, that I've ever knowingly set eyes upon.

10-spotted Ladybird.
The first time I've ever knowingly seen one of these creatures. The use of my extension tubes and small lens
being directly responsible for me bothering to look for such subjects

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