animals, insect, macro, photography, wildlife

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #252: What’s bugging you?

This week, Donna is challenging us with a topic, a bit harder to understand without having read the introducing full post.

Over time, I also took photographs of insects, although I’m not one of those guys crawling through the meadows and forests with their macros lenses and macro flashlights. Nonetheless, many bees and especially butterflies began an eternal life after being captured by my camera’s sensor. But, today, I try to avoid these and introduce you to some other creatures I captured in our garden.

For a couple of years, we have a mortar barrel in our garden. Initially, it was used to transport some gravel from the building materials store. After that, the barrel stood around empty but it collected some rain. When another store offered some water plants, my wife bought some water lilies among others. This body of water equipped with perfect landing grounds is a very welcomed water supply for many, many flying insects. They come during summer to collect water, just like the wasp below.

Even many birds, squirrels, and cats use this water against their thirst. 

Unfortunately, other animals like i.e. hedgehogs can’t benefit, because they can’t climb up there. So, we decided to create a small pond with about 250l of water but the water level is close below ground level with a shallow waterfront to offer not only safe water access but also an area where birds can have a bath.

Surprisingly, this pond got populated by some surprising animals the next spring: alpine newts.

These amphibians need bodies of water for their eggs and their larvae grow in the water. the adults leave the water in summer to make their living by hunting insects at night. The next spring, they come back into the pond to work on the next generation.

The pond is also attracting some dragonflies. Up to now, I only noticed large red damsels and azur maidens, and none of the big dragonflies. But, I hope some of them also choose the pond in the future.

A few years ago, I found these extraordinary caterpillars in our garden:

sycamore (Acronicta aceris) / Ahorneule

 

Orgyia antiqua, the rusty tussock moth or vapourer (Orgyia antiqua) / Schlehen-Bürstenspinner, Schlehenspinner oder Kleine Bürstenspinner

or this real bug:

geringelte Mordwanze (Rhynocoris annulatus) / I was unable to find their English name, if any

Here is another bug. I found him in the fall before last. They were attracted by the already-dried lavender blossoms.

Pyrrhocoridae on lavender / Feuerwanze

These guys used to hover above our forsythia a couple of years ago. It was a really tough job to capture at least one of them.

Bombylius major / Wollschweber

 

This was a very lucky find. Over centuries, cockchafers were so many, that it was common to cook them i.e. as a soup or serve them roasted. Nowadays, they are rare and this was the first living one ever I saw. Their larvae live 12 years in the soil until the beetle comes out of the ground to fly up to the next big tree to find a mate. This is a male with his antennas folded. Males have bigger antennas than females, but the females live a few weeks longer to spread their eggs.

 

And at last, I have a really creepy one for you: Pterophorus pentadactyla

Federgeistchen (Pterophorus pentadactyla)

 

When talking about creepy insects, I can’t avoid presenting at least one spider.

I was photographing the blossoms of our lilac by using a ladder when I noticed some strange fine lines in the image on the back of my camera. Because of the regularity of these fine lines, I supposed, my lens were broken. But, everything seemed fine on the first hand. So I went to my computer to check the images on the computer screen and recognized, I captured a tiny spider web by accident without having seen it with my bare eye. so, I went back and tried to find that blossom again where I not only found the web but also the tiny Araniella cucurbitina, sometimes called the “cucumber green spider”

cucumber spider on lilac (Araniella cucurbitina) / Kürbisspinne

When digging through your archive, it’s likely you find more images than expected.  These challenges are a very good opportunity to walk through your archive and see your images from a different perspective. Those of you following me for some time can easily see, this is not my usual style. It’s different

As usual, click on the images to enlarge them.

Thanks, Donna for this wonderful opportunity to show some images not that common.

Maybe, I inspired you to dig in your archive and find some images, you can publish your images on your blog and set a link to Amy’s inspiration post. Don’t forget to tag it with LENS-ARTIST, so we can find it.

Take care!

animals, bird, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, wildlife

Throwback Thursday: puffin

Since my first visit of Iceland, I’m following the Icelandic news online (the English version of course 😁). Earlier this week, I read a news initially published by ruv.is about the Atlantic puffin.

These cute birds only come to land for breeding and Iceland is the breeding home for about 40% of the worldwide population. Two years ago, I already published a similar post focussing on the enormous decrease of the puffin population. Now they state, the population decided by 70% since 1995!😳😩😡

According to the news, the vanishing of their food is the primary reason for the decline. I already wrote about it. Thus, I simply ask you to follow this link and read the second and third paragraphs.

Take care!

 

animals, bird, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, wildlife

Throwback Thursday: Eurasian hoopoe

Eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops) / Wiedehopf

Each year in spring I see images on Instagram with this small bird. It’s quite rare here although they are common in Europe (except Great Britain and Scandinavia)  and Asia. You can even find them in Africa. The European part of the population is migratory. They fly south over winter because they can’t find insects to feed themselves during winter.  In Germany, you can find them only in certain areas. 

For a long, I had them on my bucket list and I’m really happy to finally met one of them. 

We, humans, try to get rid of vermins by spraying poisons over the fields. But, poison has side effects: the fruits take in portions of the poison and beneficial insects are also harmed. With the death of insects, insect-eating animals like these beautiful birds are also affected. 

Make your garden attractive to insect-eating animals. They help to protect your harvest.

Take care!

 

animals, mammal, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, plants, wildlife

Monochrome Monday 9-32

 

 

Take care!

 

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animals, bird, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, wildlife

Wordless Wednesday: starling

common starling or European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) / Star aka Gemeiner Star

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Take care!

animals, mammal, photography, wildlife, world

Throwback Thursday: last year in Namibia

black-backed jackal (Lupulella mesomelas) / Schabrackenschakal

 

I met this handsome predator a few times. They prowl alone through the land, always looking for prey.

 

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Take care!

animals, bird, flowers, landscape, leisure, nature, people, photography, review, seasons, sport, summer, travel, wildlife, world

Throwback Thursday: I’m back …

… from Usedom at the Baltic Sea. OK, I came already back on Saturday from my 2-weeks family vacation. Although it wasn’t a typical family vacation because I was on Usedom with my wife, daughter, and grant-son. That little guy is 5. So this was his first vacation where he was able to notice everything and he liked it a lot. One of his statements was “I like our new home more than our old home”. He didn’t realize, that the vacation home was our home only for our vacation.

Back in 2019, when we were in the Netherlands with him, he was too young to notice such a change. Back in 2018, I was already in Ahlbeck with my wife and we decided to come back with our grant son for his first beach vacation. Unfortunately, this come-back lasted longer than expected because of the SARS2-CoV / Covid19 pandemic.

This time we rented a vacation home near the middle of the town. Ahlbeck is quite small, with only about 3,400 regular citizens but with more than four times the number of guest beds. The apartment, we rented in 2018, was also very lovely, but reaching the beach from there was quite complicated because a huge rehab clinic building barriers the direct way and we had to make a long way around. Reaching the pier also lasted about 20 minutes by foot. You can see the pier in the image above from 2018. We love to walk along the surf in the evening, so we had to pull out the rental bikes first to reach the beach. Very inconvenient. That’s why we decided to get this time an apartment closer to the town and with easier access to the beach. It’s only about 200 meters as the bird flies and about 300 meters walk to reach the waterfront.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t perfect beach weather this time. Some drizzling nearly every day for at least some time distributed over the whole day. But, I won’t complain. We had some beach weather, we had cycling weather, we watched the neighboring towns as well as the next town in Poland, which is only about 4 km away. We also rented bikes for our stay and surprisingly the little guy was able to cope with the (quite small) distances on his bike. The longest distance we cycled in one day was 12 km with a couple of pauses. We cycled mostly along the sea on the promenade connecting the 3 neighboring towns grouped under the name Kaiserbäder. They have a lot of bicycle tracks here.

I love the area at the baltic sea for the small villages, the avenues with their chestnut or oak trees, and the forests reaching up to the coast. The sea does not have a noticeable tide (only about 10 cm), the huge beaches with very fine sand, and the flat-bottomed sea which is quite warm and less salty than the other oceans. So, these beaches are very entitled to kids, especially smaller ones.

The term Kaiserbäder (Kaiser = Emporer; bäder = baths) was chosen because these towns were visited by the Emporer of the German Empire back in the 19th century a couple of times. The word Bad (= bath) in a town’s name refers to the idea of being a place for curing and rehab. In the late 19th century, people had already come here to the coast for spending some leisure time, cure, and recuperate. Especially the rich ones and the noble men and women. Even the Emporers were here a couple of times and that’s the reason, why the towns have chosen the name Kaiserbäder to operate under that name. Nowadays, everyone can benefit from the beauty of the coast and retreat from the burdens of daily chores.

For one day (without having a certain date in my mind) it was planned to visit a nature protection area nearby (ok, 1 1/4 hours drive by car) to see White-tailed eagles (very good chance), osprey (maybe – a hope), grey cranes (quite good chance because they are quite common here but very shy), and red kites.

In the end, I saw 2 white-tailed eagles sitting in the trees far-far away and one flying from one side to the other (👍), one osprey (sitting very far away, then flying even further away, but also flying a bit closer to capture him), 5 cranes flying by, 1 stork, 1 crane with a chick in the woods (no photo possible), many grey herons and 3 great white egrets, common terns, lots of different ducks and geese, many swallows, black-headed gulls, cormorants. I’m stopping here to not bore you.

In the meantime, the others were visiting an adventure park in a town nearby very suitable for kids under 12.

For 4 days starting with Ascension Day, the German Masters in Kite-Surfing took place here right next to the pier. I watched the sportswomen and sportsmen for a few hours distributed over several days with my camera. You know, I like to see them “flying” over the water. This was an unexpected event and therefore not planned. But, very welcomed. Even the wind was unexpected those days: some competitions had to be canceled because of too heavy winds.

In the end, this was a family vacation and not a photo trip. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy about the images I was able to capture. The nature protection area has to stay on my list. I have to come again with more time and arrive earlier. Without the overcast sky, I’d have come back with less usable images because the light conditions would have resulted in either overexposed skies or in hopeless underexposed subjects.

As usual, click on an image to enlarge it!

Take care!