A blog on gardening, life by the sea, photography and wildlife

Friday, 30 May 2014

Sparrow fledglings one active one not so

I am a sucker for taking pictures of any fledgling bird, these two sat on my fence this afternoon one was clearly active and had visited the bird bath and the other was well, not so

I wish he would wake up it`s getting near lunch time

Are they coming?

Oh your awake then?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Helix Aspersa

The sun finally made a appearance this afternoon after some really dismal grey days and wet weather for the best part of two weeks. I gauge time by the number of days we haven`t been able to visit the beach chalet but that`s another story.
So it was off to the plot to catch up not having visited for over a week due to the weather.
First thoughts on arrival were, the plants have grown but then so have the weeds and the wet weather had produced an abundance of slugs and snails, slugs I deal with by organic pellets, snails are a problem the birds don`t seem to eat  them and we have no hedgehogs having a enclosed walled site.
So I walked round the plot picking up as I went and gathered about thirty placed them in a lidded bucket and deposited them on the Langney levels on the way home. We do have hedgehogs there. 

Helix aspersa the common snail

There were several snails eating my few ripe strawberries that I had to pick off. That is really unacceptable
I thought the pot marigolds were bright until I saw these calendula interspersed with california poppies on my neighbours plot
Langney levels 
Welcome to Jean from Shrimpton and Perfect Here

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Juvenile Blue Tits

Two juvenile blue tits arrived in the garden this afternoon with one of the adults they proceeded to embark on what looked like a feeding frenzy lasting about ten minutes. This was hardly surprising considering the huge amount of aphids and other bugs that have arrived and settled on the shrubs and trees in the warmer weather here of late.

That looks like a aphid

Monday, 26 May 2014

The rolling donkey and the sleeping pigs

Two years ago we visited the Donkey Sanctuary at Ivybridge North Devon Here a lovely place and while there paid a subscription to adopt a donkey, a worthwhile cause for the excellent work they do in rescuing some really distressed animals. We recommend a visit for a nice day out in a lovely part of Devon if you love donkeys as we do.
Yesterday we visited Sharnfold Farm Eastbourne Here who have two donkeys and also rear pigs for their own butchers shop.
The vagaries of the British weather meant it was raining in the north of England but here in the south we had a lovely warm and sunny day as is often the case, one of the two donkeys had a good roll in the grass while the pigs found it too hot to do anything except sleep in the shade, very sensible.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Photographing the winged insects. Part 2

Most macro lenses for digital SLR cameras apart from being expensive are not ideal for photographing the more nervous subjects since being so close tends to scare them off, there is also the problem of blocking the light out.
Most standard lenses enable you to get quite close to your subject, and if you have a large megapixel sensor on your camera to play with, and most are now, you can magnify the image afterwards by suitable cropping in a photo-editing programme.
With older SLR cameras consider using a close up filter on the lens they cost a few pounds and are ideal to experiment with. Independent small camera retailers that traditionally gave good advice are in short supply, so the internet may be the best option now.Try Here for probably the best advice available on all aspects of photography.
This picture of a hoverfly was taken with a Nikon D40 6Mp camera, standard 18-55 kit lens and +4 screw in filter cropped in Windows Photo Gallery.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Photographing the winged insects

Bees are very tricky to photograph, why can`t they stay still for longer, hover flies are much more accommodating, although neither will look you in the eye. Dragonflies will providing the time is right.

Just gone four since you ask

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Tufted or Brush Horned Gnat

I saw this creature while taking a picture of my Astrantia plant in the garden with a macro lens not having seen one before I sent off the picture to the Royal Entomological Society and got a interesting reply back see bottom of photo.

Dear David,
yes, a non-biting midge or gnat that looks superficially like a mosquito. No biting mouthparts and indeed they do not feed as adults. Most have aquatic living larvae and their presence is used to rank water quality. They can swarm in v large numbers. Their txonomy is a challenge as there are >600 sp in the UK - a recently published key to their identification may be obtained from the Freshwater Association.

John Badmin
RES Regional secretary