Close ups of nature

Those with a  stomach strong enough to have digested my blog for a year or more will recall the flirtation with focus stacking. Alas I have done little since last Spring, mainly because the birds won’t sit still whilst I fiddle around with my macro lens. Today I had my first attempt in 2013. One failure and one reasonable success. To preserve any sense of competence I might have acquired, meagre though it may be, I am only going to show you the goodish one.


Somehow the upload does not seem to replicate the warmth of the tones I see in Lightroom. No matter. Here are a couple of ‘abstracts”. The first is Lichen Script:


I think this may be one of the Graphidaceae lichens, possible a Phaeographis sp. I’m sure someone reading this will know.  🙂

The second is an epiphyte against a background of lichens.


The epiphyte may be Psychotria serpens.

And then 2 stages of the lepidoptera life cycle. The first is the imago of the Common Five-ring , Ypthima baldus.


And the final shot is the larva of the moth, Orvasca subnotata.


I am not sure which instar it is, maybe 6th.

So there we are. I worked hard for you this morning. Tomorrow I won’t. Its my monthly lunch with my ex-colleagues and whoever said there is no such thing as a free lunch was wrong. I get one every month. Then a day at home with Mrs. Ha and on Sunday, subject to contract, a flight to Dubai.

A little something to keep you going? Ok, here is Scutellaria indica, the Skullcap.


I was born a ramblin’ man……

So sang the Allman Brothers and I would rather like it as my funeral music.  That and Cwm Rhondda. CR is obligatory. We sent my father off to it and my brother. Family tradition. I think mother had it too.

Today I went for a ramble. Readers who pay attention may recall that Lulu was off to the vet today but her appointment was put back from 11am to 3pm so I decided to use my morning productively by walking up the hill towards Wong Chuk Yeung. There had been rain overnight and I wondered if some winter birds might have arrived. I had good sightings of Dusky warbler but having had one in the dining room recently that was not my highlight. An unidentified large accipiter flew over at one point and all the time I could hear Crested Serpent Eagle calling. I love that wail. I had already seen my first Olive-backed pipits of the season in the front garden area  but behind the house I later saw a Yellow-browed warbler and a flock of 40-50 Japanese white-eyes, looking for somewhere to roost. On the walk down the hill I found a flock of Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush. So I had a fairish bird day.

But what surprises me still is the number of butterflies still flying. Here are 3 browns I photographed today:



South China Bush Brown

Ypthima sp.

The Ypthima is probably Y. baldus but I’m not 100% sure.

I also took some lichen shots.

Lichen with bark as substrate

Lichen with rock as substrate

I was also interested to see this sign:

It was a reasonable sized area and I found a few birds and butterflies enjoying the clearing so I hope this is all to the good.

But this road leads to the derelict village that is earmarked for redevelopment and I am slightly suspicious of what is going on here. If they do redevelop then the road will need to be widened and this project will be in vain. I want to investigate further.

I am useless at botany. I see endless plants and wonder what they are. I am sure they are all common but I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.

But I can recognize a broken tree trunk when I see one, whether it is in colour or black and white. I was going to call this post “Twisted Bark” but then realized that a) I hadn’t taken the picture I intended and b) it sounded like a great name for a dog rock group. It would certainly top Cat Stevens or the Pet Shop Boys.

And that’s about it. All taken with my toy camera, the SX50 HS. One observation on my walk….. each person I met, whether local or not, gave me a cheery greeting. Away from rural areas this would be a cause for calling the men in white coats. There simply isn’t time to greet strangers. I am convinced a rural lifestyle is healthier than an urban or even suburban one. It is certainly more enjoyable in my experience, mosquitoes excepted. Fortunately Lulu is now deemed protected against heart worm, rabies, fleas, ticks and mozzie-borne diseases. She was as good as gold as Dr. Brad gave her the injection and checked her blood. I gave her a chew stick as a treat when we got home.

And as a final addendum to my political foray, it seems the markets were not willing to wait a week or so. The fiscal cliff jitters set in the same day. Me, I am a contrarian investor so I bought some blue chips in the Fall Sale yesterday. I only hope that “Fall” is not what they continue to do. I am watching Oracle, Medtronic and ADM. Hmmm. Just how brave am I…….? I think I need to go for a walk before I do my pension fund any more damage.

Macros – 4

Here are 2 very different images from my morning walk.

First a nice colourful bug, The Lantern Bug or Laternaria candelaria (was Fulgora candelaria), the Liberace of the bug world.

Laternaria candelaria

And then what I rather pompously call an Abstract Lichen. When I looked at this I thought it reminded me of the earth viewed from space so I dedicate this to John Glenn, who orbited the Earth in Friendship 7 when I was a small boy.

Lichens - Abstract

I am having enormous fun learning how to improve my macro shots. I feel my awareness is heightened when I venture out looking for the smallest subjects to inspire me.

Today I noticed also that there were more butterflies on the wing – not many but definitely more. The bug season is close! Sadly that also means more mozzies and they are a real nuisance here. So as the winter drawers off, the DEET rolls on.