Monday, 23 July 2018

Rainy days and Mondays

oops; no wait, that's a Carpenters song, and it's sure not raining on this Monday (in fact I've not seen rain for over 6 - may 7 or 8 - weeks now; damn this weather). 

What I meant was "Lazy days and Sundays" although, it wasn't really a lazy day :) 

Yesterday, after sorting out all I needed to be sorting (Sunday's were designed for washing, cleaning, more washing, ironing (those of you who know me will laugh at the ironing part) fish tank cleaning (a part change 3 Sundays on the run, half change the 4th with a full change twice a year). They are also for cleaning (did I mention that already? Well, there is a lot of it to be done on my one day off a week (if I'm lucky I get to have a Sunday off)). Then there was gardening (the rose thorns this year are really mean and I got nobbled several times - in fact, they are worse than mean - they are evil, with a capital E). There's also the budgie to sort (he gets a clean every day, but on Sundays I give the whole cage a proper scrub down and steralise the tray at the bottom - yesterday, I also treated him to a new bath (he's not happy I did that, refuses to even entertain it and spent an hour screeching at me for adding something to his cage he had not authorised!!)).

However, between finishing up my "jobs" and wacthing the German Grand Prix (what a race that was) I found myself with an hour to spare (once the race was over dinner had to be prepped and cooked, then the evening jobs needed sorting). In this hour I thought I would take part in the Big Butterfly Count.  I love things like it, and have taken part in the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch since they started it (even though I only have a small garden!!!) Whilst I was out there, I grabbed my camera 'just-in-case' any butterflies might be about, to see if I could snap off a shot (or 2).

This sounded like an easy thing in idea, however, let me tell you now, butterflies do not stay still for less than a millisecond. For the 15 minutes I was counting (that's all they want you to do) I had to put the camera down or I'd have never been able to cound (I had 4 different varieties in my garden during those 15 minutes - one of which (a "GateKeeper") I had never even seen before - I ended up with 3 of those at the same time). It would appear all the flowers we've bought to try and attract more butterflies, bees and wildlife in general, are paying off :) Our next mission is to give our garage a 'living roof' whereby we will plant sempervaria for the main, adding some wildflower seeds to fill in the gaps. Hopefully it will waterproof our exceptionally leaky roof, while attracting a myriad of wildlife, at a fraction of the costs involved to have a new roof fitted - I call that a win-win. Anyway, back to the butterflies. I managed to snapp off a couple, but it's nowhere near as easy as I hoped. In the end I had to just focus all my effort onto one plant, and hope that a butterfly would land there long enough. Doing this though lost me a cracking shot, for as a butterfly took off, so a bee flew in to replace it. Because I'd kept my main focal point so narrow, I ended up losing out on a crisp shot of the 2 winged creatures!

Never one to be dissuaded though - if a photo is worth capturing, then it's worth the effort in setting up to capture it - I stayed where I was, fingers crossed and that was when it happened. That was when a big, fat bumble bee flew into the space. I hit that shutter button on my camera (I have it on burst so I can snap off a hundred shots each minute, along with a high shutter speed - it's the only way to capture things which are moving). Of the 89 photo's I took while that bumble bee, bumbled about, only 1 was any good, but boy, was it good? At least I think it is :)

Not only did I get that little fat bee in focus (see the image below for the zoomed in version) I also got him with his wings open, and the pollen he's collected sitting on his legs. Bees really are natural phenomena. How on earth do they ever get themselves airborne? Everything about them says they should just be thudding around on the ground, yet there he was, darting back-and-forth, collecting all he could. They truly do amaze me. Unless I have time to sit and wait for hours on end, I honestly don't think I will ever again be as lucky to capture one, the way I caught the one yesterday. I am feeling truly blessed.

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