The windows have become like tv screens as the season roll by displaying all their wonders. These are amongst the last photos I have taken since becoming ill which was back in the autumn of 2019. Where did autumn go …? Winter arrived and how fast January went by, eh? Spring feels like it is just around the corner, and it will be here before we know it. Spring is my favourite season, and whilst I look forward to it, it all seems to fly by so very quickly.
Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 20th & 22nd October 2019
Place: Local woodland, Staffordshire
These two photographs show the same stunning autumn rainbow which appeared as a part of a ‘double rainbow’ … there was a fainter one above this one. Unfortunately I had my macro lens on at the time, and I know how quickly rainbows can fade. So I grabbed my camera and took what I could. I wish I could have got the whole arching rainbow in all its magnificence … and even the one one above it, but at least I have these.
Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 17th October 2019
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire
Stump Puffball (Lycoperdon pyriforme) There appeared to be hundreds of these tiny balls swarming over a mound of earth near the river. They are apparently feeding off a buried stump, and are usually seen in large numbers.
Not sure about this one. Might be Milking Bonnet (Mycena galopus), but did not want to snap it to see if it seeped milk or not. It seemed a shame to do so. Quite easy to miss on the woodland leaf carpet because it is so small … the bonnet about the size of a fingernail, yet the stem so tall and slender.
This is a hardy Geranium after rain, one of the few remaining flowers left in the garden as autumn deepens. The flower is so delicate and refined with those shimmering raindrops it is like it is made from the finest glass.
This can be quite tricky to photograph. Besides the lighting conditions, it all depends on where you focus as the depth of field can go anywhere. I always use manual mode for full control, and take several photos, picking the one which I think works the best. I tried to keep it soft on the side edges, ensuring the background was completely blurred. This makes the flower and its details pop more, especially if you can tone down the back lighting, too.
By my plant pot full of moss I have a strip of bark leaning against some heather. Occasionally I will lift it to see what is sheltering in the dark and damp place it helps create there. Clinging to the underneath of the bark I found a 5-7mm (around 1/4 inch) Discus Snail (Discus rotundatus). For such a small creature it has such amazing detail and colours.
This is but a small plant pot, and I know you may think this odd, but I just grow a clump of moss in it all year round and nothing more. It appears to attract some varied wildlife (especially if you lift it up and look underneath it) and this Philodromussp. crab spider was one of them. I spotted it yesterday whilst working the garden, and it appeared to be in a bit of a state of confusion, poor thing, as it kept going round and around the top edge of the pot.
I was photographing another species of spider on a plant pot (a lot seems to happen on this plant pot for some reason?) and this one came along. I think it is a young Clubiona sp. and it was so small it was getting lost amongst the moss leaves.
The darn thing would not keep still hence it is not as sharp as I would like.
This is the Common Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea), which I discovered in my garden the other day. They are good at devouring greenfly, so can be one of the gardener’s best buddies. It belongs to the order mentioned in the title ‘Neuroptera’ – which contains the ‘net-winged insects’ such as lacewings, antlions and mantidflies.
One of the fine ‘lace’ wings on this one are slightly damaged as you can see, but it is still quite a beautiful insect. I especially like the pale green colour and yellow stripe running from head to tail.
… but I think I prefer the seed the feathered things drop from above …. squeak!
Here I have tried to capture a few moments in the life of a House Mouse (Mus musculus) … or mice … as I have seen a few of them under my birdfeeder where they have been grabbing the white heart sunflower seeds the finches drop.
They were quite funny to watch. I sat in a garden chair barely a couple of arms lengths away, and every time they appeared from beneath the flora I tried to snap them they ran for cover! They knew I was there, watching them, but I think they were curious about me and it became a bit of a game with them. Eventually they appeared in the open and they did their thing … which was eat … and eat some more …
Of x2 images. Yep, it is that time of the year you will find these large flies attracted to the house lights, and before you know it you will have these gangly flying insects bouncing manically off your kitchen or bathroom ceilings and walls as you either try to swat them or catch them. I tend to catch them in a plastic container, let them out the window, and if I am not careful they will fly straight back in again! One of the delights as autumn closes in and the nights draw in.
Tipula oleraceais is probably the commonest cranefly found in Britain, and with its blunted end this is a male.
This is a new species for me in the garden. It is the Pine Ladybird (Exochomus quadripustulatus). It is quite small between 3 to 4mm long. It has a distinct rim around the base of the wingcases. Although it is mainly found where Pine grows, it also likes Hawthorn which I happen to have in the garden.
It appears it has been quite a good year here for butterflies, which is really good news. This Large White (Pieris brassicae) made a fleeting visit to my garden before fluttering off over the fence to elsewhere.
These ‘Whites’ can be quite a challenge to photograph, especially in bright sunshine. Auto camera setting never seem to work as the whites get blown out loosing the fine lines and detail in the wings, so I always drop exposure on full manual to try and compensate.
This Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax) was quite comical to observe, because it really was quite a shy fly. It was basking on a leaf near my pond, and as I neared it instead of flying off like they do most of the time it crawled behind the leaf and peered out at me. When I turned my back it was out again on the surface of the leaf! I approached again, and it snuck behind the leaf again, just popping its head out.
Feel free to click the image to enlarge and click again to get even closer …
This true bug is called Rhopalus subrufus, and a new species for me in the garden. It appeared to be attracted to my Water Mint. Looking closer it is quite a hairy species, and one of only four of this genus found in the UK.
… ah, but it is … on the third rock from the sun, planet Earth.
Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight is quite famous for its different coloured sands, and a craft tourist industry has grown up around it since early Victorian times.
Here are cliffs of sand of varying hues. The sands are coloured due to oxidised iron compounds formed under different conditions, and look great layered in shaped glass ornaments. There are usually 21 shades of sand available.
Turning your head away from these magnificent cliffs towards the sea and you will see the Needles as featured in the previous post.
Also called the Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), this was another first for me. There were many of these little birds on the seashore bulldozing the seaweed out of their way with their heads in search of invertebrates hiding underneath it.
Feel free to click the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …