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ShareMondays2019 – Jewel In The Grasses

Male Banded Demoiselle

ShareMondays2019 – Jewel In The Grasses

I’m taking part in the Wildlife Trust’s challenge 30DaysWild this June. The challenge is to do something wild every day! There are lots of ideas for exploring wildlife and nature on the website and app. I like to get outdoors as much as possible but, sometimes my fatigue stops me from doing much.

Having a lot of local nature reserves is a big help! If I can manage to spend just an hour or so at Wisley or Heather Farm on Horsell Common, I feel so much better, physically and mentally. It gives me the opportunity to survey the areas for the wildlife that I love and just to breathe fresh air and relax to the peacefulness and sound of birdsong.

This male banded demoiselle was my first challenge image that I shared straight to Twitter. Everyone has really loved it so I’m sharing it again today, with a wider audience and for the ShareMondays, Wex Mondays and Fotospeed challenges.

The females are quite stunning little jewels too!

Female Banded Demoiselle

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ShareMondays2019 – Beauty And The Beast

Ichneumonid parasitoid wasp and common blue butterfly

ShareMondays2019 – Beauty And The Beast

The beauty is a common blue butterfly, a real favourite of mine! The beast in question is an Ichneumonid wasp. They are parasitoids, meaning that their larvae infect and feed on other invertebrates, eventually killing the host. I think this particular wasp is Apechthis compunctor, which lays its’ eggs in the pupae of butterflies. The adult often emerges from the butterfly itself. No small wonder that I would see them at NT Denbies Hillside, amidst the wonderful array of blue and copper butterflies that were on the wing. I can’t be 100% on my ID as these insects aren’t a specialist knowledge of mine, also there are well over 2000 species of ichneumonids in the UK! Watching this wasp actually fly right up to the common blue that I was photographing was fascinating, even though it gave me the creeps. I just kept photographing, hoping that I could capture a shot that told a story of the interrelationship between invertebrate species. This has to be my story and photograph of the week, even if there is an undercurrent of horror about it! Ecology is all about the interrelationships within specific ecosystems. Every time I get to watch something like this I learn more.

Ichneumonid parasitoid wasp and common blue butterfly

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Brimstone On Bluebells

Brimstone On Bluebells

Brimstone On Bluebells

I think the sight of British bluebells in Spring is only completed when adorned with a brimstone butterfly! This sight is definitely one of my favourite things 🙂

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Blue Monday: Of Dust Motes And Dreams

Of Dust Motes And Dreams

Blue Monday: Of Dust Motes And Dreams

The late holly blue butterflies are still flitting about our waterways, gathering near the budding ivy where this generation lay their eggs. There are still wildflowers blooming along the Wey Navigation canal path where I spotted this, and other males, seeking nectar. The beautiful light, streaming through the trees to shine on this tattered little beauty, inspired the poet in me again.

Of Dust Motes And Dreams

Tattered
Torn
A little worn
And weathered

Jaded
Faded hues

Summer blues
And greens
Flickering
In light streams

Flimsy
Frayed
At the rim

Paper-thin wings
Still holding on

Fragile
Yet strong
Agile in flight

Daintily alight
Upon wild
Bowing blooms
As dusk looms

Steadfast sprite
Drink deep
This sweet
Ambrosia

Stave off
The long sleep

Withering
Diminishing
Last notes
Of a hushed song

Impression retained
In glittering
Sunbeams

Flittering away
To dust motes
And dreams

This is my entry for this week’s WexMondays challenge. Good luck to all taking part!

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ShareMondays2018 – Summer Has Flown By

Summer Has Flown By - Southern Hawker Dragonfly

ShareMondays2018 – Summer Has Flown By

A beautiful, male southern hawker dragonfly, fiercely protecting his territory, at RHS Wisley Gardens, in the warm sunshine yesterday. These hawkers are dragonflies of Autumn, seen into October and occasionally even November. I’m sharing this beauty for this week’s ShareMondays2018 and Fotospeed challenges.

Cusp

Summer has flown by
In the mere blink of an eye
Autumn colours reign

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ShareMondays2018 – A Photographic First

Brown Argus at RHS Wisley Gardens

ShareMondays2018 – A Photographic First

For ShareMondays and Wex Mondays this week is this perfect little brown argus butterfly in the grasses at RHS Wisley Gardens last week. This was the first time I have seen this species at Wisley, the first time I have been able to positively identify the sight of one in the UK and the first time I have photographed one! I was very excited. Then I realised that there were two! I almost did a little dance but my legs had seized up from trying to crouch. A great species to be able to add to my Big Butterfly Count this past week.

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Eye To Eye

Eye To Eye

The mountain village of Pyli, on Kos Island, is a favourite haunt of ours when we visit. The fresh water springs and public fountains are a relaxing spot with an abundance of wildlife. This dragonfly was good enough to stay posed while I manoeuvred to get face on with it and stared straight down the lens into those amazing eyes!

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The Emperor’s Salute

Emperor Dragonfly

The Emperor’s Salute

My specimen might be a bit tatty around his wings but these male emperor dragonflies are the real spitfires of the insect world, fighting hard and fast over their territory. He almost seems to be saluting me but I know that this behaviour is actually about cleaning and protecting those incredible and complex eyes! This close-up view was captured in the late afternoon last week, when the tired fliers start to roost in the reed beds. I’m putting this into the mix for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge.