24.6.10

Angels and Demons


One of my little hobbies is 'catching' insects. Not in the nasty way, but on my camera. It's the challenge of getting close enough to get a decent snap - I don't have a butterfly net, but I do have a fairly good macro lens. Last night on my evening walk I spotted this gorgeous White Plume moth nestling in the low grass. Amazingly it stayed put while I lay on my back on the dirt track, scriggled about and got my camera up and under it, about two inches away.



The other evening we saw these two Small Tortoiseshell butterflies courting, eventually settling down on for some more intimate action. The blurring is an indication of how fast they were moving. This time I took the shot from about a metre away, but my zoom did the trick.


I admit to being quietly proud of this one; a Common Blue damselfly (I think) perched on hawthorn blossom. Again I used my zoom but I was close enough not to lose quality. I was holding my camera rather precariously over the river though.


Finally, not quite as pretty, but handsome in his own way - a Staghorn beetle we found crawling across the lane. He did not like being poked onto a leaf at all and he will never know how close he came to being squashed; a minute later two huge tractors with broad, heavy, beetle flattening wheels came roaring along the lane and not even his thick armour would have saved him.


Angels and demons come in many shapes and guises - but I think it's a little unfair to be so unkind about Mr Beetle, as he's just a bit of a rough diamond.
(Edit - my apologies to Mr Beetle who is probably a Mrs, due to her smaller pinchers and many thanks to wonderful wildlife painter Mike Woodcock for pointing that out and correctly identifying the Blue Damselfly as being a Banded Demoiselle).

30 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wow, wow, wow!
The moth really does look like an angel. And the beetle, ... well, I wouldn't exactly call him a demon either... but those pincers are quite ferocious. His back reminds me of the dashboard of a car and he looks as if he's been put together from a kit with instructions.
You should frame these.

Lorna said...

I've not seen the moth before but he is some angel ... an amazing photograph!

Claire said...

Hey Gretel, great photos, love the moth it's very interesting, never seen one like that before and the Damselfly is such a lovely colour.
You must have alot of fun with the macro lens on your camera. Glad you didn't drop it in the water!!
Thanks for dropping by my blog, always nice to have you visit.

Jill said...

Great photos, I know how much patience is needed to get these results.

janet said...

Loved the moth...stunning! The blue damsel is fabulous as well...in fact all these photos had me smiling...well done Gretel. What a treat for us all..thank you!

Mike Woodcock said...

Lovely pics of some usually overlooked beasties. I'm not an expert on them but I think your damselfy may be a banded demoiselle, it looks like the wings have the large dark spots. And Mr beetle may be Mrs beetle, I think the ladies have smaller (but more powerful!) jaws, and anyway, she looks way too pretty to be a boy!

Soozcat said...

Ngh. Bit of a phobia regarding moths; I do not like them, Sam-I-Am. That said, it's a beautiful creature. As is the staghorn, in a big-macho-beetle-with-heart-of-gold sort of way.

Wanda said...

You really did capture an Angel and a Demon...beautifully too!

...Wanda

Frances said...

PG, your eye, your camera's lens and those fabulous insects really do add up to wonderful images.

You are letting me see what I would never otherwise witness, and how I do thank you.

Hoping that your being outdoors, and having your camera at the ready, mean that you've been able to sneak a bit more time away from deadlines that demand to me met.

Lucky beetle.

xo

Amber Dusick said...

Mr Beetle was actually my favorite of the bunch. Someone I could chat with over tea. Those other ones are too flighty.

BumbleVee said...

wow.... these are some amazing photos....

the casbah kitten said...

What wonderful photos! That moth is amazing...I've never seen one like that.

Menopausal musing said...

I think he is rather lovely............

Sarah said...

Beautiful pictures-- I remember the first time I really looked at a luna moth and realized that of course fairies exist!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

The banded demoiselle is beautiful . I've just seen a silk scarf that colour in the market and I think I'm going to have to rush back and buy it , now !

acornmoon said...

What an amazing moth, and amazing image too. I don't think that I have ever seen on of those before, I must investigate further.

Frances Tyrrell said...

These are amazing, especially the damselfly which looks like the one described in The Water Babies, a brilliantly coloured gentleman.

Róisín said...

These are the most amazing photos!!! Seriously, they truly are wonderful. You've such a great blog, I'm sorry I'm only finding it now. I look forward to following your adverntures!

Fibrespace said...

What beautiful photographs.

frayedattheedge said...

Fabulous photos!! I haven't yet gone as far as lying down to get a good shot - I would be worried that I wouldn't manage to stand back up!!

Caroline B said...

You are better at capturing these beauties than I am - it's usually a fleeing blur! I just love damselflies and there seem to be lots around at the moment. We have an affection for beetles too in our house, fascinating creatures.

myletterstoemily said...

spectacular photos!

i'm so glad you weren't catching
them the horrible way, with pins,
etc.!

Joan's Good Life said...

How lovely! My daughter the Entomologist would enjoy seeing these! Great photo's.

Jackie said...

I can only add my compliments to the ones already left. Just wonderful photographs.

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

Great pics...I've been snapping insects lately as well! Must be the season :) Nice to see you again, stranger. Hope alls well...ER

charlotte said...

Lovely, I adore moths, probably more than butterflies, and the angel is stunning. We currently have an infestation of Tussock caterpillars; they look like a Dr Who invasion.

Rowan said...

These are wonderful photos, my favourite is the Staghorn beetle, I'm so glad that you saved his/her life!
I'm in awe of your efforts with the camera, usually by the time I get things in focus whatever it is has flown away!

Yarrow said...

ps, I bought some hops!!! I blame you for my downfall, haha!

Yarrow said...

Such amazing photos Gretel, and you've every right to be proud of the Demoiselle shot. Truly stunning.
I think the white plume moth will always remind me of you, especially as we've both been visited by her :)

Ticking stripes said...

What a lovely blog - glad i popped over. Love the verb "to scriggle" -