22 March, 2011

Celebration time!

Celebration time!

Had a call from NASA yesterday asking me to take some shots of the moon last night, which was apparently going to be much brighter and larger than usual, cos' its closer or something like that.

With my busy schedule, I had to reject the offer this time, but at about midnight, I found myself with a few seconds to spare, so I whacked up the exposure metering thing, and went for it. To be honest, I was expecting something a little bit bigger, isn't the solar system such a let down?

Oh wow- just as I was about to post this, I realised that this is also my 150th post, and since I didn't celebrate the 100th post, lets do it now!

Woooo! Yeahhhh! Get in there!!! Woahhh! Oh yeah! Woo... yeah... cool... OK... boring.

I'll go fetch the champagne, although on second thoughts, perhaps a Tuesday night is a little bit of an inappropriate time to pop off the cork... I'll get the vodka instead.

Hows about a bit of Kool and The Gang to get everyone in the party mood!

Thanks to all the blog readers out there (I know the three of you), and feel free to stick around for the rest of this year's adventure.

17 March, 2011

Who's a Pretty Boy Then?

Who's a Pretty Boy Then?

I promise you a moth free post today. I've done three posts on them, and I think its time to have a break from them... is it too late to start lent? One thing is for sure, I'm certainly not going out in the garden after finishing this post, and I am most definitly not going to put out the moth trap. Oh no.

Where better to get out to than Bushy Park, where the woodland should be alive with early spring birdsong, and there was even the possibility of getting an early Wheatear out on the grassland. Win-win situation.

We started out at the Water Gardens, or was it the Canal Plantations? I always get mixed up with the two places. They could even be different names for the same place? I just don't know. Perhaps I should look a map. For the sake of the blog though, let's just say I went to the Canal Plantations.

The blossom appearing on some of the trees was an absolute explosion that was quite hard to miss...

Even harder to ignore were the birds that were perched in the trees, Ring-necked Parakeets. We all moan at them when we're at home, complaining at how they scare other birds away, and take their nest sites. Then we go out and come face to face with one, and are completely possessed by them. They are the ultimate non-conformists. We don't get colours like that in England (unless perhaps on a Camden Town street corner after a friday night).

Bloody foreign birds stealing our native birds jobs an- ohhh its soooo pretttyyyy...

I took a few more shots, and looking back through them noticed that the birds were taking small branches of flowers, eating a small part of one or two flowers, and then dropping the rest on the ground. Now, I'm no mathematician, but by using complex calculations on causation and effect relationships, I have concluded that the Parakeets, by dropping flowers, may actually have caused the carpet of pink to form beneath the trees.

That is possibly one of the stupidest things I've ever said on this blog, but when you think about it, thats a heck of a lot of flowers to drop for a bird.
Pick up...

And drop...

So, next time you and your friends walk past a blossoming tree, with lots of flowers on the ground, you can tell them who made that pretty scene possible, and you can look up and thank those foreigners.

On a more serious note, my thoughts and condolences are with my readers in Japan.

05 March, 2011

The Joys of Being a Moth-er

The Joys of Being a Moth-er

Just thought I'd highlight the '-' in 'moth-er'. Luckily, I won't have to experience what it is like to be a mother, but from personal experiences as being a son, I can guess that there are few joys associated with it.

Secondly, you can keep your Rufous Turtle Dove in Oxfordshire and your Slaty-backed Gull in Essex, cos' I've got me here an Agonopterix scopariella.

If you don't know, for some weird reason like you don't spend your day looking at photos of the sub-family Depressariinae, this species of micro moth is scarce in Surrey, and very hard to separate from many of its counter-parts, but thanks to a second opinion from the micro-lepidopterist, John Langmaid, I have now added another 'dot' to the Surrey micro moth distribution map, slap bang on our garden. These maps should be included in a book called 'Smaller Moths of Surrey' published later this year which funnily enough covers the smaller moths of Surrey; and thus with my trusty dot, I shall become famous.

... Agonopterix scopariella, caught in the act of taking in UV light from a fluorescent tube in the garden, on the 24th February- distinguished from heracliana by the paler, buffer overall ground colour, and from atomella and subpropinquella by the presence of two white discal spots on a faint but distinctive black background of scales... obviously. Would you just look at that squared forewing apex, Christmas has come early.

So there you go, catch a moth, send it to your county moth recorder and you could find yourself living the high life, like I will be... any day now, girl in each arm, people coming up to me in the streets asking for identifications, autographs, the lot. I can just imagine it...