More macro mania

Today’s guest picture shows a sophisticated big city London heron spotted by my sister Mary in Regent’s Park on her way home from tennis.

Mr Grumpy, London styleOur good weather continues but each day sees the wind getting a little stronger which probably means that the end is near.  As it is the autumn equinox today, it would not be too surprising to get some autumn weather soon.   It was chilly enough this morning for a heavy jacket and some gloves when I went out with Dropscone for a cycle to Gair and back,  Dropscone had had a busy weekend and was in gentle cycling mode which was more than fine with me and we enjoyed our outing.

We were just having our coffee and scones when the minister turned up at the perfect moment to get the last scone and the last cup of coffee.  That sort of timeliness takes a lifetime of practice to develop.

He was in his working clothes and he told us that he had been out earlier than us for his ride…..and he had gone a bit further too.   We were impressed but we didn’t show it in case he got big headed.

After they left, I put the macro lens on the camera and went out to look for small things to photograph.  I didn’t have to look hard.  The sun had come out and there were several red admiral butterflies sampling Mrs Tootlepedal’s flowers.

red admiral butterflies
Some new and some a bit second hand by the look of them.

Butterflies are more complicated than they look at first sight.

red admiral butterflyBut they look lovely when they spread their wings and enjoy the sun.

red admiral butterflyDuring the day, I kept my eye out for bees and hoverflies.  The sunflowers were always busy.

hoverfliesI think that this one was on a rudbeckia.

hoverflyOne thing that the macro lens has shown is just how furry bees are.

bee on sunflowerI didn’t spend my whole day bug hunting.  I did some dead heading and turned some compost.  Mrs Tootlepedal has now used all the compost from last year which was in bin D, so we have turned the late compost from last year from bin C into bin D and we are in the process of turning this year’s compost from bin A into the now empty bin C.  “What happened to bin B?” you ask.  It is not such a good bin as bin A and it started to get filled when it looked as though bin A would not be enough to hold all the material that has come from the garden this summer.  When bin A has been turned into bin C, bin B will be turned into bin A.  I know that readers will be very interested to be told about all this.

We do the turning a little bit at a time to avoid wrecking ourselves but each lot of compost will get turned twice before it is used.  In  an ideal world we would turn it every three or four weeks but we can’t manage that and it is surprising how much even two turns speeds up the process.

In between the flies and bees, I saw a blackbird.

blackbird
After a rush when young families appeared, blackbirds have been scarcer lately.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went across the road to help our neighbour Liz prune a cherry tree and while she was there, I spent a little time trying to catch a flying insect of the day….

flying beeflying hoverfly….and found out that I would need perfect light, a very high ISO and probably a faster shutter speed than I have available to freeze the wings.  But it was fun trying.

I am enjoying the unexpected flowers on a fuchsia bush that had previously appeared to be unable to flower.  The insects enjoy the pollen too….

fuchsia…but not while I was watching today.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back, we went for a cycle ride.

We had a steady turn up the Wauchope road to the bridge at Westwater.   I took Pocketcam with me but the light, though generally sunny,  was a bit strange and the pictures didn’t turn out well.

View from Wauchope School
The view back towards Langholm from above Wauchope School
View from the bridge
The view from the bridge. This hillside was clear felled not long ago and is recovering well.

We arrived home, with perfect timing, just in time for a nice cup of tea at four o’clock.

I shifted a little more compost after tea and then watched the birds for a while.  I was pleased to be able to catch a glimpse of a dunnock or hedge sparrow.  These are often in the garden but they scuttle around on the ground and are hard to photograph as the camera’s autofocus finds their dull brown colour tricky to pick out.

dunnockThe seeds in the feeder are going down very slowly at present but even so, this chaffinch found it necessary to be rude to a sparrow in spite of there being several vacant perches available.

chaffinch and sparrowI was expecting my flute pupil Luke to come but he was poorly so I had the evening to myself.  I wasted it watching telly.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in the absence of any more exciting visitors.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “More macro mania

  1. I was on pins and needles waiting to find out what happened to compost bin B, I’m glad that you explained your system to us. 😉

    I can see that you’re hooked on macro photography, it opens up a whole new world that can’t be seen with the naked eye. But, it’s good to see that you haven’t lost your touch on flying birds, the chaffinch today was exceptional.

  2. I read about your composting with interest. It’s serious stuff is composting. “Feed the soil first” that’s our mantra over at the allotments. We have made big roller bins which take five people to roll them.
    We roll them each week and we have lovely compost within eight weeks. When we fill the roller bins we layer grass clippings and green waste, manure from the horse paddock and rock dust for minerals. It makes mighty powerful stuff.

      1. We made the industrial sized rotating compost bins to deal with the huge amount of green clippings we generate. We have no trouble feeding them.
        On a lighter note, if you had one of these monsters at home – you’d have to round up half a dozen folk on the streets to help you roll it !!

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