Tuesday, 15 August 2017

a muster of peacocks

So next time some wiseacre asks how many eggs a Peacock typically lays (hoping you don't realise it's the peahen that lays eggs in the world of fancy birds) you can tell them with confidence 300~500 sticky green eggs and usually on the underside of a nettle leaf. 

Saturday we were back in Gullane doing the usual run. It was never going to match last week's extravaganza and butterfly head count but the weather was ok (bit windy, but bright) and I was foolishly optimistic; especially having found a large shrubbery next to Toad Corner favoured by the Peacocks, the Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma. The downside of this shrubbery is you have to wade deep into the undergrowth. I picked up a few hitchhikers last week, with stingers or teeth, and my torso and legs look like a dose of the measles or chicken pox. Weirdly the spots (I react adversely to insect bites) seem to be taking it in rotation to tickle and I will wake in the night raking my fingernails over a new constellation that missed the Anthisan cream before lights out. I should get a large table knife and butter the bedsheets with the the Bite and Sting Cream then jump in like a giant meat and sting-paste sandwich. Me being the meat. The lengths I go to for decent photos. Mary stands over in the short grass telling me we have been here long enough and she is getting stiff legs and cold.

nothing much going on at Marl Loch - where are those dragonflies?

Bee and extras.
So many of the photos have additional bugs and beasties I don't notice till I get home.

always plenty bees

nice agreeable Blue, sat still and didn't fly off

you looking at me?

shaded broad-bar moth

So after a bit of skirting around the shorter grasses I go and wade into the undergrowth. I can see peacocks but they are perched on thistles behind thistles and there's no way I can get a shot from here. Too many other distractions for the autofocus. I see the undergrowth is already beaten down in trenches approaching the shrubbery and wonder if there are other butterfly enthusiasts spending time here making little enclaves from which to shoot zoom shots of the lepidoptera that clearly enjoy the protection of the dense greenery. Mary thinks it might just be deer. Maybe; there are areas of flattened grasses like grazing animals lay down for a snooze. As I wait other peacocks come and go and so I move from one side to the other to get the best line on a perching butterfly, as it flits from one flower-head to another. Elsewhere, a peacock is snoozing with wings outspread on a leaf or flower, flopped and sunbathing. I move in getting better and better close ups until it flies off or I get as close as I need, the lens about 2" from the insect.

in amongst the biters and scratchers
photo Mary, from a safe distance

often the focus will pay attention to the wrong thing

this dude was flopped out here for a while, just sunbathing

Mary shouted out she was moving on and I could catch her up. I began to untangle myself from the swamp bushes but saw this specimen at a distance with a nice background and got a few shots before running at full tilt and eventually catching M just at the beach. It was worth it.

particularly like the moth(?) flying past in the background
the place was buzzing with little white moths that are almost impossible to snap as they drop indistinguishable into the grass and disappear.

this is the happy hunting ground

love this beautiful crab shell
is that the whole universe on it's back or an underwater scene?

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