Monday, April 16, 2012


Those Common Baskettails are pretty nosey beasts. All I've had to do is keep still and they will invariably come in to get a closer look. This isn't the case for most of the dragons I have to chase down to some roost or other and inch closer before they are off again.

So I thought Saturday I'd take a shot at some in-flight pictures. Now I wasn't really set up for this, I was in the park with 'busy' backgrounds, the distance was around 5 or 6 feet and I had the macro lens on. But I took the chance, set the camera to its rapid fire 'action' mode, took off the autofocus ( which wasnt isnt quick enough for a dragonfly) and waited to be buzzed. As soon as one hovered for a moment I manually focussed and hoped for the best shooting fast as I could in case I did manage to catch one. I repeated the process several times.

150 pictures later I went back and down loaded the results. From those was easy to throw out the 75 that had no dragonfly at all and the 60 were hopelessly out of focus blurs. That left 15 that had something that was recognisably a dragonfly.  But 10 of those you wouldnt have a clue what sort of dragonfly or neccessarily which end was which. That leaves 5, 3 were under or over exposed though reasonable. 

Left just 2 in the end and they were almost identical shoots taken less than a second apart. I am pretty happy with what I got though. It's clearly a baskettail and its clearly flying. As they say back in the UK...

 Also Saturday I mowed the grass, which I hate, because I surely wasn't going to do it on my birthday Sunday. The only upside of cutting grass is that it stirs up creatures you wouldn't neccessarily have seen if you weren't doing so. I bumped a shrub alongside the house with the mower and scared up this Conehead Katydid.

Neoconocephalus triops Broad-Tipped Conehead
Short one antenna though.

And my arch of honeysuckle is attracting more and more butterflies as the weather warms. This is a Cloudless Sulfur (or sulphur) Phoebis sennae . It is looking a little more tattered and torn than I'd normally shoot but I realised I hadn't posted one before. 

A big yellow early season butterfly just like the Brimstone back in the UK. But I dont think its quite as nice as the brimstone. It doesnt have the 'leaf' shaped wing and the female doesn't have the greenish cast. I does have one advantage though, which is that it will actually perch once in a while. Spring Brimstones never do.
 And they really arent related at all beyond the family level where both are members of the Pieridae (whites, yellows and sulphurs). The Brimstone is Gonepteryx rhamni.

Brimstone (copyright Jim Asher) from Butterfly Conservation UK

And as it was my birthday here is my birthday song.

David Bowie, Time.
From the Final Spiders from Mars gig at the Hammersmith Odeon filmed by D A Pennebecker in 1973. That outfit wasnt flattering then and sure as hell wouldnt be now seeing as DB was 65 in January. 

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