Readers’ wildlife photos

Today’s lovely macro photos come from reader Mark Jones, who says he took them within a few miles of his home in West Sussex. Mark’s IDs are indented.

A few macro photos I’ve made on lockdown walks. For the photographic nerds, the equipment used was mostly a vintage Tamron 90mm f2.8 lens on a Fuji X-H1, all naturally lit, processed in Lightroom, with a few tweaks in Photoshop.

A small copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas).

A woodland spider (Metellina segmentata). This one was about 5mm long.

A small skipper butterfly (Thymelicus sylvestris).

A small heath butterfly (Coenonympha pamphilus).

A harvestman (Phalangium opilio). We used to call these daddy long legs, and I seem to remember a lot more of them about when I was a kid, or maybe I just frequented dark damp places more often when I was youngo

A forest bug (Pentatoma rufipes) on a blackthorn bush (Prunus spinosa).

A white-legged damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes).

A marbled (black and) white butterfly (Melanargia galathea).

A banded demoiselle damselfly (Calopteryx splendens).

common blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus).

35 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Wow! Also, what Thyroid said.

    I bet that daddy long legs really are more rare now. I read recently about a study which found arthropod biomass down 75 percent in the region studied. I don’t remember the region. More details later.

    1. You’re probably right about the daddy longlegs (what’s the plural?). I remember at camp at Big Bear in Calif., when I was 9, there were at least 20 per outhouse.

      1. What camp did you go to? I went to Camp Akela (wonderful camp) near Big Bear but I don’t recall any outhouses. I also went to a Girl Scout camp up that way. Don’t remember the name and don’t recall if there were outhouses, but I’ll NEVER forget the experience of “charging the latrines” which meant churning up the contents of a huge septic tank every week or more frequently and becoming enveloped in the fumes from that shit. Needless to say that nobody wanted to be chosen for that job.

        1. A note on Camp Akela – not-very woke.

          From the post: I went to Camp Akela in Big Bear, a place run by Jews pretending to be Indians. The “chief” of the camp was named Iron Bow. The counselors had names like Feather and Arrow. They made us yell “Ho!” a lot.

          What shameless cultural appropriation! And just imagine if the camp was operating now and the campers went around yelling “Ho!” a lot. The current meaning sure ain’t ‘Indian.”

        2. Peak and Pine, I think?? We drew the short straw and had to have our swim in the 50 degree lake at 6 am. I went with my cousins who had been going for years while I lived overseas. You had real toilets, not outhouses?? We had cabins to keep our stuff in but our cots were outdoors (unless it rained) and I had a deer jump over me one night. The daddy longlegs were the most memorable part for me, plus another little girl name Merilee (spelled the same way) who was a horseback riding princess. When I first saw my name up on the horse show board I panicked! I knew how to get on and off a horse but that was about it.

          1. I don’t know that one. Lotsa sleepaway camps around Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead. Yours sounds like fun, except for the swim in the lake at 6 am. I’d love to be bedded down in the rough and have a deer vault over me but with my luck the animal would be a bear detrmined to get in my sleeping bag. So how and what did you do at the horse show if all you knew was how to get on and off a horse?

            A couple of hours ago, I posted a brief and I hope somewhat amusing description of Camp Akela (above) but it wasn’t posted in a timely manner and Jerry found it the “spam” file so he posted it, albeit a bit late but it finally made it through. Even if it wasn’t politically correct according to today’s lights, it was a great camp.

            1. The other Merilee was in the horse show. I just got to watch, thankfully. Btw, we made lanyards, too. Somehow my two cousins and I won the good housekeeping award for our cabin, but just because we learned how to hide everything under the beds before inspection. All in all it was fun.

              1. Ah, yes, lanyards. Your mention of lanyards serves as a figurative madeleine for me. I think lanyards were ubiquitous at summer camps in those days. Probably not now but at every camp I went to we made lanyards and kids who went to other camps made them, too.

              2. Re lanyards, Oh dear, Oh dear! Though I’d been called “Gimp” when I was in high school after an accident that had me limping for some time, I had no idea about other meanings for the word. I now know that the “gimp” you were referring to is also known as “scoubidou” (as in Scooby-Doo); but I was absolutely scandalized to learn that it’s a name for the submissive partner in S&M and also the name of an S&M body suit, a photo of which gives me willies. I’ll never let anybody call me Gimp again! Sometimes the Google tells me more than I want or need to know.

    2. Scientific American wrote:

      Are we facing insect Armageddon? A recent study found that German nature reserves have seen a 75% reduction in flying insects over the last 27 years. The researchers involved made stark warnings that this indicated a wider collapse of the general insect population that would bring about an ecological catastrophe if left unchecked.

      So that’s just German nature reserves; what about the UK or US? Reasonable extrapolations would depend on the likely causes, but those remain speculative. More from the article: “The researchers considered some aspects of vegetation and some climate variables, and neither seemed to be the main cause.” And: “Possible answers include the industrial scale use of pesticides (which might not be as safe as previously thought, or the increase in farms dedicated to a single crop and deforestation that is associated with this”. Those two answers would apply to the US and UK.

      1. I recently got entangled with some lame conservatives online about the issue. among them, there is a very common claim that all this is ‘fake news’, as one of them put it. As if the reported declines were somehow not on par with reports in declines of everything else on our terraformed planet. Plant diversity, fish, reptiles, birds…. its’ all been dwindling.

  2. Terrific photos; thanks so much. Glad to see that the wildlife in West Sussex is as thriving as it is in East Sussex/West Kent!

    Slightly OT, the sloes in the Forest Bug photo are clearly pretty ripe. This is also the case all round where I live. Normally sloes aren’t this ripe until October. I will be doing my foraging for my Christmas sloe gin rather earlier than usual!

  3. Mark, does the Duchess of Sussex ever ride over to inspect her kingdom, (on a horse, of course, but not the Famous Mr. Ed)? It was a weird coincidence that she went to my high school, Immaculate Heart High, in LA.

    1. It would be nice to see her, but not as far as I know Jenny! Earldom titles often seem to have no real connection with the area they are ‘duke of’. For example, the Duke of Norfolk’s seat is in West Sussex, just down the road at Arundel Castle. I guess it just depends what titles are vacant when a monarch wants to bestow some favour.

  4. Top notch insects there – I had no idea the UK had such an all star line up of impressive colorful insects. Honestly – I thought they were only in the tropics and (where I grew up in Australia where they’re also all wildly venomous, taking some of the fun out).
    You learn something new every day.
    D.A., NYC

    1. Autralia certainly does have some seriously venomous arthropods but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they are all wildly venomous! Australian’s can also have fun enjoying the diversity of amazing insects that occur there. Indeed there is a person (apologies – his name escapes me) who regularly posts some lovely pictures here of Australian insects and spiders, most of which I believe are of no threat to humans whatsoever.

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