My local patch has some excellent wildflower meadows which are well maintained for each summer season. I look forward every year to the macro sessions in the meadows and never tire of the amount and diversity of the wildlife and insect life you can find if you look close enough.
I'm also very lucky to be able to do some official photography work for the organisation that runs the nature reserve (Oxford Island NNR), which allows me access to areas not often photographed - and they also lend me a helpful insect and bug expert when we go out, making sure I brush up my ID and insect skills while we're there.
The first thing I was met with last week was an abundance of butterflies feeding on the wildlfowers - small coppers, green veined whites and meadow browns all were in good numbers, albeit some of them looking a bit ragged this time of year.
Everyone knows I'm not a big fan of arachnids, but opiliones are a different story :) The many harvestmen that were nesting on the nettles and thistles didn't give me that much of a problem - although I really hadn't seen so many together on the same plants at any one time before. They really are amazing creatures, being able to shed legs as a defensive tactic, and I did see many with legs missing.
Leaving the creepy leg-shedding harvestmen to their nettles, I was glad to see some friendly faces in the form of ladybirds. It was heartening to see so many again, and this was evidence that this years warmer summer has been a lot kinder to our insects that previous years. This lovely 7 spot was posing nicely in the sun - I find ladybirds difficult to photograph with macro kit, struggling to get their small eyes/faces as the focal point of the shot, and to bring out the facial details in the dark area of their heads. Heavily diffusing the flash seemed to work for this one, although I'm still not overly happy with the results :
Apart from the insects, the most important of the meadow are the plants and flowers that attract all the insect life and pollinators. Purple flowers such as thistle and knapweed always attract the usual butterflies, bees and hoverflies. Common orchids and sticthworts also provide a food source, as well as the many grasses growing there. They also provide an area safe enough for the butterflies and moths larva to pupate. Many caterpillars use the grasses and plants to build cocoons:
don;t overlook your local wildflower or grassland meadow - they are havens for all sorts of insect and buglife, and they are a fantastic resource to learn from. All you have to do is spend an hour there and the insects even come to you - this lovely little common green grasshopper liked the heat from my leg and spent some time on my knee as I knelt to take some butterfly pics. Another amazing creature that really comes to life when photographed with closeup gear :
About this blog:
Photographic adventures from from behind the DGPix Wildlife & Nature Photography lens!