Yes, he’s back and looking more serious than ever. Not that he ever went away, yesterday I was just too busy to photograph him. For a brief period today he moved to another similar building, also white and positioned himself in exactly the same spot on the corner. In between drilling he invariably looks up, cocks his head as if listening for a response and surveys what’s above much like climbers do when assessing a route. However I suspect he is hoping to spot a prospective partner flying above, which so far, it would seem, he has not had much luck with.
As I am writing this a beautiful magpie just landed on the balcony railings and pinched something from a plant pot. It knew exactly what it was after, which makes me wonder, do they spot these things from a distance or can the smell a piece of rotting fruit.
Finally I get a halfway decent shot in focus of one of the crested tits that visits my balcony. Despite me and my camera being in clear view and noisy clicks as I pressed the shutter, it continued happily retrieving seeds from an empty ice cream carton and used the bars on the trellis to hack them open with its beak.
Some small brown butterflies were also dancing around today, a sure sign that Spring had arrived..
Some nature photos from Taiwan to round off the end of my trip and year.
A dragonfly alights upon a pond flower.
A Chinese pond heron (maybe) contemplates life by the waters edge.
A squirrel nibbles on a nut beside a tree in a park.
Turtles, young and old gather together on a rock or possibly the mother of all turtles.
We all know who the biggest capitalist is and his disliking for environmental issues.
Here is just one reason why eco warriors are right:
The wildlife charity Plantlife recommends reducing how often roadside grassland is cut.
Why? Because it saves money, reduces pollution and helps the environment by allowing wildflowers to grow, insects to flourish, particularly bees, which are needed for pollination and honey. Of course Mr. Big C would probably rather the scientists invented artificial honey, then he could concrete over everything, build skyscrapers everywhere and maybe a few golf courses for his green concience.
According to the Guardian this morning (see article) 97% of wildflower meadows have been destroyed in Britain in less than a century. Thankfully now roadside grassland has become a haven for wildlife and wildflowers.
I have long called for less trimming in towns, maybe now things are finally registering and governments and councils are beginning to listen and realize that being environmentally friendly makes financial sense as well as helping the environment.
My particular bugbear with this subject concerns Germany and Spain, the two countries I am most familiar with, where I see wonderful nature areas yearly cut down for no good reason other than to keep a few unemployed youngsters in work. – (Council workers simply lack the imagination to think of anything more creative) – Spain (Andalusia) is particular is guilty of this which is bizarre as being a hot country cutting the grass back to its roots just adds to a parched earth environment and more likelihood of fires.
It’s a mild autumn day and perfect for a stroll among the falling leaves. The squirrels are out in force today and the first one I encounter is just a few feet from my doorway. After that I see several more collecting nuts ready for their winter hibernation.
It is still so mild that even butterflies are out and I also see another hummingbird hawk moth but fail to photograph it. However while sorting through my images I came across two nice photos I had overlooked in my eagerness to post the previous humming hawk moth photos.
Meanwhile I reflect on today’s welcome news that eleven supreme court judges have unanimously ruled against Boris Johnson. I think it is the first time I have felt any relief since the start of the whole Brexit saga. It is a great day for the rule of law, if not democracy.
Just minding his own business … zen-like.
‘Nuts whole hazel nuts’ … a mouthful of nuts ready for winter
The hummingbird hawk moth close up from my last encounter.
Note the particularly long proboscis.
A red admiral butterfly seen for the first time this year.
A jay finds a convenient wooden handrail to perch on.
… and sheep are doing their best to keep the grass trimmed on the hillsides.
The arrival of the humming hawk moth must be a sign that the climate is hotting up. I have only seen this interesting insect once before and that was in southern Spain 2500 kms south of here and that was also relatively recently.
This insect gets its name from the humming bird, which it resembles as it darts about hovering in flight, but there the similarity ends. On closer inspection it looks more like a mix between a fish, crustacean and butterfly.
While sat on a park bench I was surprised and delighted to see one hovering around flowers and quickly grabbed my camera for this rare photo opportunity.
Damn! The autofocus once again refused to work, despite trying everything. In my frustration I banged the camera down on the wooden bench and gave up. When I picked the camera up again I noticed the lens focus ring was stiff and thought that might be the cause, maybe dirt had become trapped. Then the focus ring suddenly detached itself revealing the innards of the Tamron 18mm-270mm lens. At first I thought the problem was with the camera but it seems to have been the lens.
The Nikon D300 has a magnesium alloy body, so it is pretty robust and I did drop it once onto concrete to no ill effect. However the Tamron lens is not build to the same standards and I may well have damaged it by banging it down on the bench. Anyway, I was still fuming as I wrestled with the focus ring, trying to force it back in place, all the time thinking a new lens replacement would set me back over 300 euros.
With anger and brute force I knocked the ring back and resigned myself to replacing the lens as the ring was now stiffer than before. So was I surprised to find it working properly once mounted back on the camera … even the autofocus, so maybe I had dislodged some dirt in my frustration.
Having cooled down a bit, despite the hot sunshine, I resumed taking photos but a little more relaxed. Even with autofocus capturing this insect is a real challenge and this was the best I was able to come up with, but at least I got something. Maybe time to upgrade to a D500.