Category Archives: WILDLIFE

PLAYING IN THE GARDEN


Rather than throw the honey jar away while there was still some in the bottom, I decided to leave the lid off and place it on it’s side on the Bar-B-Que. In truth I was hoping that it may attract some late night -flying moths.  However, after checking it at night for a couple of nights and finding nothing, I gave up the idea, but left the jar.

A day or two later the rain had stooped and the sun was briefly shining. I took a stroll down to the Bar-B-Que and was absolutely amazed at the number of Honey Bees and a couple of Wasps all guzzling as much as they could of the (now solidified) honey.  By the time I got there there were two dead Honey Bees and two live wasps amongst the tightly packed in ‘gang’! I watched it quite closely for a while and was surprised to see that both the bees and the wasps all ignored each other.

Honey Bees in Jar Honey Bees in Jar

 

The last remaining Wasp
The last remaining Wasp

 

 

RESTING PLACE – IN THE POOR LANDS


I was doing some computer housework today and just having a general clean up and sort out. I found one particular photo that I took a while ago. It’s in Rogiet a small village about 5 miles from Chepstow, for those who are not familiar with area, Chepstow is where the Severn Bridge crossing is, the Gateway to Wales. However, there is a small little hideaway in Rogiet and it is owned by the Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) it is a very old area where many moons ago, so I believe, there was some kind of Gypsy dwelling. Later on it also became a local tipping place where the locals would take there rubbish to dump. I understand some nice little finds have been found there over the years. Especially if you are a collector of ‘say’ small tincture bottles and the like. Today is has been cleared and cleaned up by volunteers with GWT into a small nature reserve, and on a nice day it is a lovely place to go and just sit and watch and listen to nature. I have spent many hours there over the years and I have seen everything from newly born Rabbits to soaring Buzzards, not to mention 1000’s of flies of all types and sizes (great if you are a Bug person), bees, birds and a plethora of wildflowers. For those of you who live in the area, I can recommend a 20 minute stroll at The Rogiet Poor Lands site, and it doesn’t have to be a nice sunny day either. I have also been there on a crisp Autumn morning and watched the songbirds hunting for food.

A welcome resting spot to stop and absorb all that is nature
A welcome resting spot to stop and absorb all that is nature

There is no charge to go in and in most cases, depending upon time of year and day you may well be on your own where you can contemplate……..well anything really.

Late night Breather in Garden


Just take a flashlight and have one more breath of fresh air before retiring. (Don’t forget to take camera).

I have got into the habit of doming this recently because of Rosie my mini Dachshund who has discovered ‘mousing’ and just loves to go chasing around the garden following her long nose.

Tonight whilst waiting for her I spotted a Speckled Bush Cricket. I love them they alway remind me of Walt Disney characters.

Speckled Bush Cricket
Speckled Bush Cricket

TIME IS THE MOST PRECIOUS COMMODITY


The times I have promised myself that I would make time to sit down and continue with my Blog. However, with the best will the world, there is only just so much time in the day. And if you are a) an insomniac. b) a main carer for your beloved. c) a semi-retired -‘Everything’ – it gets difficult to say the least.

But I am going to try. I have found a new extension to my wildlife photography since I last posted. The Garden at Night! We only have a small garden, by choice, but Ido try and legit go as wilds possible. And recently I found that whilst I was out there at night, waiting for Rosie (or mini-dahshund) to do her business, if I took a small but powerful torch with me,I could enter into a whole new world of activity, with MY insects, in our garden.

It has become a great learning curve for me and intend to start posting some of the more interesting pics here on this blog.

This little feller is the larva of the Harlequin Ladybird.
This little feller is the larva of the Harlequin Ladybird.

This is the first pic, hopefully I will be posting more later.

February 2013


Peahen and Chicks

Can’t believe where the new year is off too! February already, but the good news is that Spring is around the corner, really looking forward to getting out there again and seeing all the new young things coming to life.

I think the pic above symbolises that time of year. The photo is of a mother Peahen and her chicks. I actually took the photo a couple of years ago now whilst my wife and I were on a wildlife outing in the caravan to Gigrin Farm in Mid Wales. The mother spent most days hanging around the caravan and didn’t seem to mind Rosie, our mini dachshund. That is until one day Rosie started to get inquisitive and walked in her direction.  Mother hen soon put a stop to that and Rosie came hurtling back to the van and break neck speed, ears akimbo!

Oh well, gonna try and get some z’s now it is 1.30am and I am having trouble with the old insomnia again. It has never really left me and I put it down to my time as a musician during my early years. It’s funny if I stay up until I am ready to sleep, which is usually around 3.00am, I will start to feel guilty!  Why? I don’t have to be anywhere special in the morning, so why can’t I stay up late?

And so the internal argument continues! Oh well…..same old, same old, as they say.  🙂

 

Better late than never?


When I say late what I really mean is LAzY! Well kinda.  I’m not naturally lazy in fact I’m the opposite, I need to be doing something all the time, otherwise it tends to have a significant impact on my frame of wellbeing. So I am continually doing something, admittedly it is usually in front of a computer and if not then it’s behind the lens (hopefully).

I did mange to actually get out with the camera this past week just for an hour – I have been behind the lens in the studio every day. I decided to visit my local Castle and Country Park (Caldicot) which is really only 2 miles from where I live. It was really enjoyable, I was amazed at how many people were out during the week.  It was nice to see them taking advantage of the facility, after all it has been there since about the year 1011. Henry the VIII was rumoured to have stayed at the castle on his way somewhere. I have been fortunate enough to use the inside of the castle for a number of photo shoots. The last with Queenie Mae earlier this year for her Album Cover.

The Autumn colours were truly awesome and I was fortunate enough to capture a couple of colourful shots.

Caldicot Castle & Country Park
A Juvenile Gull comes into land on the pond

I am now preparing for my ‘dreaded’ birthday next weekend. Age never ever bothered me much not until I reached 65, then in common with many other men no doubt, I began to ‘think’ about age. I was suddenly classed as an OAP, and Old Age Pensioner. But yet I didn’t feel like one thank God! Well that was 6 years ago, so you can imagine how I feel now! And don’t you just hate it when people say “ah…Age is just a number” one will usually find that those persons’ number is under 30!

But having said that I am grateful for relatively good health and I am able to combine some photographic work with looking after and caring for my darling wife of 38 years, although we have been together since the week we met, on the Englebert Humperdinck Summer Show, so that’s 43 years. Her MS of 17 years continues to progress but she does a fantastic job of dealing with it, much better than I could ever do.

Ok…I promise I will post again before Christmas (it says here) but just in case, I hope you will all have everything you wish for, for yourselves and your loved ones.

Weekly Photo Challenge – ‘What makes me happy’


Ok so this is my first attempt at the photo challenge, hope I don’t mess it up!

Not one of my pics
Banded Damselfly
My Late Huxley – Almost

I was going to try the new photo layout but I couldn’t find it!

Hope you like a selection of things that make me happy.

 

 

Wild Flowers & Stuff


Some of you may recall that I recently revisited my local wildlife stomping ground only to find that the local Council workers had moved in and chopped everything down,  and dredged up all the silt at the bottom of the water, that contained all the larvae, eggs and what not of the local insect life. I was most disappointed but, I know it will come back in time. Whilst I was there I was met by a really nice guy and his wife, his name is Rob and he is a volunteer who tends the wild patch. He basically, from what I can tell, keeps the place generally tidy by litter picking, and the odd bit of pruning here and there. Whatever he does, he does it very well and I and the local Flora & Fauna thank him. Anyway, we got chatting and before long I realised that this chap had a great in-depth knowledge of wildflowers. He asked me if I had seen the wild Orchid in the meadow, I told him I hadn’t and he started to explain where it was and how I should find it. The he suddenly said…Oh come on I’ll show you, he asked his wife if she minded and we left. We had to walk only about 500 yards or so to the meadow (thats the polite word for the couple of acres of scrubland, that is full of wildflowers).  Finally amongst a whole bunch of grass and stuff, there was this beautiful flower. It wasn’t what I had expected because I didn’t know that Orchids grew in this shape.  Rob  went on to explain that he hadn’t managed to identify it yet, that he thought he knew all the Orchids but he couldn’t name this one.  I thanked him for his time and I took a couple of pics.  Before he left he said oh by the way, on the other side of the road as you come in there is a another smaller stretch of wild area with a pond that hasn’t been disturbed for ages, you may find your Dragonflies and Damselflies there.

So that was quite a few weeks ago now and I really have been bogged down and haven’t had the opportunity to go there until Sunday past.  Imagine my joy to see simply loads of insect life abound, including some beautiful Dragonflies. I am hoping to get down there and spend a little longer next week, I shall keep you posted.

Un-named Wild Orchid
Un-named Wild Orchid

And then just one pic of a Southern Hawker Dragonfly from the other wild area.

Southern Hawker

Hi to my friends


Hi everyone, as you will be well aware, once again I am guilty of NOT posting to my blog on a regular basis. There are so many of you out there that I follow who are able to post every day! I only wish that I had the same…..whatever!

This time I have plenty of good reasons, but that is no excuse for not dropping the odd line now and then, and I am sorry for that.

Most of the time I have been attempting to get a website up and running. Somewhere, where clients and prospective clients could go and take a look at what it is I do. I have finished part of it and published, but I feel I should have waited a little longer and added more content before publishing. But what is done is done.  I would appreciate it if you took a look and I would welcome your feedback.  You can find it here http://www.magphotopix.co.uk .

I finished the photo shoot for Queenie May the young girl singer I told you about, and a shoot that I did last year for another album was for a singer named Robert Garney. That album is due out next week. And then last week I spent an evening shooting a heavy metal band named DeadManSugar. Talk about tough lighting conditions. I think the lighting crew had two scenarios, On or Off!!

It was very difficult for me, and a long time since I have shot any kind of concert or performance.

I had an enquiry from an old client who is a serial entrepreneur. In the past I have shot antique wristwatches for him, then he started a Sola Panel company and now his latest venture required my photo skills. He rang me to say that this was urgent and he needed me to shoot between 8 and 10 models for his new website and business.  As it happens, I couldn’t fit it into my schedule and I had to politely refuse, but I passed him on to a fellow photographer – who as it turned out was also too busy. Imagine my surprise, when he sent me an email to tell me that the site was up and running and he gave me the address. It is an ESCORT AGENCY! The actual photos of both male and female straight and gay, are actually very good. The photographer he found in the end does nothing else except shoot glamour pics, and I must say that the photos are really very tastefully done.  But when one starts to read the text on the site it soon becomes very clear what it is he is selling. When he rang me to ask my opinion I called him a Pimp! I said it in a half hearted kind of jokey way, but I meant it just the same.  Needless-to-say, he was not amused and proclaimed his businesslike enterprise as being very much a service industry.

I am pleased that I didn’t do the shoot. Firstly, I have no experience in that genre and the pressure would have been to much. And secondly, it’s not a side of photography that I personally would enjoy, give me the outdoors and nature & wildlife every time. And I will leave the glamour stuff to those who are good at it and enjoy their work.

My Local Stomping Ground

As many of you will know I have been away a lot this year shooting wildlife and nature from the comfort of our new Caravan, hence I hadn’t visited my local wildlife area for a number of weeks. Imagine my surprise when I visited last week and found that people had been down there and ‘tidied’ up!  Not only have they removed 90% of the reeds growing naturally in the water way, they have also poisoned all the Budleia which the butterflies absolutely adore. They have also, dredged the waterbed and dumped all the silt on the banks. Unfortunately, I didn’t see one Damselfly or one Dragonfly. No butterflies at all, whereas last year I took one photo of 7 butterflies on one bush!  As a fully paid up member of my local Wildlife Trust I immediately got on the phone to enquire who had wreaked this havoc on the local wildlife. Yes it looks very pretty down there now, all the nettles cut and carted away great for people to walk their dogs and drag their kids, but nowhere for the insect life and the Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers to build their nests.

The charming young lady I spoke to at the Trust was as alarmed as I was and said that she would investigate and come back to me with an explanation. Watch this space I guess.

Taken in November 2011
Photo Taken in November 2011
One stretch after cutting and dredging
The only sign of wildlife

 

ANOTHER NOT MINE!!


This is another of the pics I have collected over time and whenever there is a credit on the pic I have left it on. Otherwise apologies to the photographer who took it.

I am still up in Golden Valley today everyone was celebrating, or at least starting the celebrations of our dear Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Anniversary. Unfortunately, the weather turned quite miserable with lots of the wet stuff coming down in ‘stair rods’.

I have spent most of the last three days attempting to put together a new web site. I guess I am about 25% through, on top of that I was asked to photograph the Holiday Homes nearby for an article on ‘Park Life’. Unfortunately the rain prevented many decent shots, and when it wasn’t raining the light was rubbish.

Anyhow, dear friends I will get down to some more serious blogging soon, meanwhile here is the pic I promised.