Saturday, 26 September 2015

A Day with the Macro Lens at Rainham Marshes

11th September 2015

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On the 10th September Howard wrote "An early stroll this morning around the reserve on a glorious early autumn morning was quite productive. The playground and woodland was full of warblers and I was lucky enough to find both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers in the Cordite." So here I am, all fired up and ready to go. I went straight to the Cordite Stores........which was absolutely dead. And to be fair to Howard, when I arrived he just shook his head and said enjoy the sunshine, which is exactly what I did.

For although there were no birds, the Ivy and Buddleia in the stores were alive with insects. and therefore time to give the long lens a rest and dust off the macro. There were a number of late-flying butterfies including Comma, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Small Copper and, quite frankly, all of them were in fairly good condition for the time of year.

Ladybirds were also much in evidence and these two shots show the astonishing variation in the Harlequin Ladybird, with the first photo being the variation conspicua and the second photo the variation succinea. Who would have thought that they are the same species?

The next insect to come into shot was a fly, the Noon Fly which has got to be one of the most attractively marked flies in the UK. I have photographed these before, but never on such an alluring nectar source and in such good light conditions. The Ivy bees were also enjoying nectaring on the Ivy.

So on to the hoverflies, of which there were four species. I am sure there were a lot more but in one day these were within my capabilities. The first was one that I get in my garden, Helophilus pendulus, with its distinctively striped thorax. Also present was Rhingia campestris, a species of Syrphus which could not be identified down to species with seeing the legs and Volucella zonaris, a Hornet mimic.

Also in the cordite stores was a young Common Lizard sunning itself on a tree stump. I have often seen these around the numerous boardwalks but never in the woodland.

But the stars of the show today were the Wasp Spiders which were just hanging on as it was getting close to the end of the season. This one was still in pretty good condition, although some were getting past their best.

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