Category Archives: Uncategorized

End of Summer blues or Autumnal fun?

Darter

Did he make you smile…maybe just a little bit…how can you resist this face…or is that just me ūüėČ

We can feel a chill to the air now, most places are suffering from rain and even snow in some parts of Scotland. So its no wonder were missing the gorgeous Summer months we enjoyed only up to a month ago,

Im sorry I have been quiet Ive had a few health problems. I suffer with ME and CFS and its knocked me completely off my feet; but Im gradually starting to feel a bit more human again so hope to catchup with everyone again soon.

Im really missing my insects already, I spent 3 solid months photographing butterflies, darters dragonflies, bees and moths and Im having severe withdrawal symptoms.

Brimstone

I literally took 100s of butterfly and darter images and Im excited to start sorting through and see what I have managed to capture for this year. This gorgeous Brimstone is one of my favorites of the year and I hope to have a few more.

So Im hoping to bring a bit of Summer back to you all as well as show you there is still alot of beauty in our grey Autumnal weather…no…really there is…honest.

With nature there is beauty everywhere, we have alot of fungi around at the moment; more than Ive seen in a few years, but I think they are the only ones enjoying this sudden dark, dull wet weather.

Im also really excited as Im getting a new toy in the next week; my other half surprised me with a Canon 7D for my birthday next week; something I have wanted since it came out. I apologise to the postman now as I will be lying in wait on Monday when its due. I feel like a big kid again, well it is my second childhood ūüėČ

I cant wait to get my hands on it and see what it can do. Let me know if you are a 7D user; do you love yours. Im looking forward to the 8fps and the extra pixels.

So its good to be back again and Im looking forward to bringing you a reminder of Summer along with the beauty of Autumn.

See you all soon.

XxX

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Crocodile on the beach………!

crocks-away1

So its bank holiday weekend I hope you guys are doing something relaxing but fun over the weekend?

We only live minutes from the beach and we decided ti nip down before the rush over the weekend with pup today and of all things to find…..a…crocodile! Im not a one for art except photographic art, but I was really pleased to see that kids instead of creating sandcastles have built a wonderful real size crocodile.

Im so pleased that there are still kids out there that have put their creative talents into building this wonderful guy.

I wish Id thought of that…gets notebook out….!

Crocks away!

So what do you think of him, its a nice change from sand castles?

Have a great weekend everyone.

XxX

Britains Butterflies by David Newland and Robert Still – Book Review

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Britains Butterflies

A field guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Ireland

By David Newland and Robert Still with David Tomlinson and Andy Swash

Those that know me know I have a passion for wildlife and especially the bug kind, with a love of Butterflies, Bees and Dragonflies. I have been taking butterfly photos for many years and its almost an addiction for me to capture as many photos as possible and this year has been the best yet with literally hundreds of butterflies visiting my garden, its been really special. But of course I have really needed a good ID guide to make sure I ID my butterflies correctly.

I was lucky enough to receive the second edition of Britains Butterflies one of the Wild Guides series for this review; from the lovely people of  Princeton University press

allbooks

I have collected a few ID books over the years and I have been using these to ID all my photography. I also have several butterfly ID books but nothing compares to Britain’s Butterflies which is a completely revised second edition covering the ID of all 59 species that currently breed, 4 former breeders, 9 rare immigrants and 1 species of unknown status.

dragonfly

 Britains Dragonflies (review coming soon)

I have one other book from the Wild guide series and that’s also brilliant, both guides offer stunning well detailed and well composed images taken by obviously brilliant photographers.

Front and back

British Butterflies has to be one of the BEST Butterfly ID books I have seen. This gorgeous book takes you through Butterfly biology and life-cycle with easy to read and understand diagrams and photos. Explanations of hibernation, migration, plus a thorough introduction to finding British butterfly habitats showing named areas in Britain to travel to see certain species. A real plus for me who enjoys nothing but looking and photographing these beautiful insects.

I have to stress this isn’t just an ID book its a fascinating insight to the complete life of a butterfly, showing how each species can be quite different in so many ways to the next, this really is a fascinating read for those of us who love these stunning insects.

 This book is so beautifully put together and you can clearly see the work and effort involved, the Author David Newland has spent since 2003 trying to photograph every species of butterfly in Britain and he has achieved this and more; including some unusual aberrations and rare species to form the most informative and user friendly field guide Ive seen yet.

description-pages

The ID section on each species of British butterfly is extremely comprehensive showing

  • Adult ID and special markings a detailed explanation of both male and female forms,
  • Behaviour – where relevant,
  • Breeding habitat – Summary of habitat preferences,
  • Population and Conservation – where to find that species and/or if they need conservation,
  • Egg, caterpillar and chrysalis – Brief description and measurements of each stage.

This is on the left side of the page, the opposite page has stunning images to show you male and female forms plus different colourations, wings open and closed. So many books don’t show you both, most butterflies look completely different depending on wings open or closed. The book clearly shows the differences. Its just beautiful to flick through for those that just want to ID your butterfly as well as those like me who want to know all about that species.

book-but-2

I couldnt resist adding my own image of this Small Tortoiseshell on my Budlea over the accompanying page of the book. It was a real chance shot.

Not photoshopped, that would have been easier ūüėČ

Something that has been missing from most of my butterfly books is caterpillar ID’s so when I found there were not just the caterpillars, but the eggs…and….the Chrysalis’s too this made my day.

crysalis

 Detailed Chrysalis pages.

foods

There is also another section just on which food plants both butterfly and caterpillar enjoy so you can not only go out and try and find them; but grow the plants in your garden to attract them for next year.

book-but-3

¬†I couldn’t resist trying to get the butterfly near the page, this little guy was quite obliging.

Opinion

There are so many butterfly books on the market but this has to be THE best book on British butterflies you can get in my opinion. You not only get to ID your butterfly with excellent clear images, but you get to learn about it with easy to understand well composed pages and chapters. There are some computer generated images to show the species in a better background but even these have been seamlessly done. From beginner to advanced if you love butterflies what are you waiting for, you need this book and Im sure anyone will really appreciate and enjoy the amount of information on each species.

I have used or looked at this book everyday since receiving this it; I love it as I really appreciate the work that goes into capturing these little guys on camera being a wildlife photographer myself, they are generally quite camera shy.

There are 558 stunning colour photos within this comprehensive guide but for me it was not only the gorgeous images of the butterflies but the detailed info on the eggs, caterpillars and chrysalis’s that makes this guide stand way above the rest.

book-but-1

This gorgeous guide will be a perfect gift for the budding wildlife photographer or butterfly lover because of the depth of information. With extra information on where to go to watch or photograph certain species throughout the UK this book is light enough to take anywhere. It has excellent quality glossy pages and I was really surprised to find it has a heavy duty plastic sleeve; perfect for being out and about. Wow what a fantastic book, this is what I’ve been after for years!!!

All you could want in one beautifully photographed affordable guide book.

About the Author

David Newland has been a butterfly enthusiast since boyhood. He is the author of WILD Guides “Discover Butterflies” in Britain. Robert Still is WILD Guides publishing director. A qualified ecologist, he spends his time designing books and leaflets to publicize the natural world. When time allows, he travels the world in search of butterflies, cetaceans, and birds.

Published 2010

ISBN 9781903657300

224 pages,

558 colour photos,

 Get your own copy of Britains Butterflies

By David Newland and Robert Still

Amazon

£12.21

Help save the butterflies, moths and the environment!

Buying this book supports The Butterfly Conservation

All my thanks goes to Princeton press for sending me this gorgeous book for this review.

All my opinions and views are my own.

XxX

 Natural History Book Reviews coming soon

Another from the same Authors

Published September 2013

 Britains day Flying Authors

Plus book reviews from my own library.

dragonfly

Friendly Bugs Live Wallpaper

I have been looking for an unusual live wallpaper for sometime, something thats natural and then I found this butterfly live wallpaper and was blown away with its beauty;  its one of the best ones Ive ever seen; I absolutely love this Friendly bugs app.

Bet your surprised I chose this one eh… ūüėČ

I’m not really obsessed with butterflies honest, but this is really beautiful and oh so life-like! I know those of you that own a mobile or tablet or PC but also love butterflies like I do, will really enjoy this live wallpaper.

You dont need to be techie to enjoy this wallpaper, most of us have mobiles and tablets nowadays and it doesn’t have to be days-off and holidays to enjoy the natural world; take it with you wherever you go.

The makers Kittehface Software have made a fab job of animating these gorgeous butterflies that look so true to life.

Every image on this page is a screen shot taken on my Nexus 10 with its dazzling 2560 x1600 (300 ppi) display which makes this app even more stunning. The 4 million pixel screen makes the colours vivid and bright and the butterflies and ladybirds are sharp and just pop out from the screen.

The only way to show you how beautiful and realistic this app is, is for you to take a peek at my video below.

You really NEED to see this, its gorgeous!

Video on the Friendly Bugs Live Wallpaper. (2.50 mins)

The butterflies are actual species I’ve seen Swallowtail’s, Monarch’s, Peacock’s and many more. As well as Butterflies you have ladybirds too. Choose from having a few butterflies on your chosen background or choose “Invasion” mode where they fill the screen.

Settings 

As usual with the latest Live wallpapers around at this time there are alot of settings to play with to make it yours.

Backgrounds

This app allows you to change its background from the beautiful green of this sunlit leaf (above) which is my favourite; to some of the ones shown below.

 Driftwood.

 Patio Stone.

 Red Leaf.

 Dark Wood.

Others available are stone lichen and frosted glass these are the duller, darker ones, I prefer the ones above the best.

You also have the choice to add shadows which are overhead ferns seen here over these ladybirds, it makes it slightly darker but more natural.

I prefer the shadows off, so my leaf is a brighter green and you get the butterflies in full vivid colours like they would be in the sun.

Add your own Image background

An added bonus is the option to add your own image as the background, the butterflies will land on that instead, a neat idea! I used a photo of my dog and let them land on him…really novel.

Daydream Mode

It also works beautifully in the new¬† “Daydream Mode” on 4.2 devices which allows me to set this Live wallpaper while its charging, or in its dock, till its tapped then it resorts back to main screen.

Ladybirds

Another of the worlds cutest insects are the ladybirds alongside your Butterflies, who have their own settings where you can choose their colourations from natural, mixed or just red. The mixed colours is a nice touch where you will see purple, green and blue ladybirds, but being a nature lover I prefer true to life colours. You can then choose how many you have on the screen at one time, I prefer to have them all.

These little Ladybirds will also do the jitterbug if you tap the screen, they will shake their booty and jiggle in unison, its really cute; you can see this on my video.  

The butterflies however will be scared off but only for a few seconds!

Portrait Mode

Here are some screen shots in portrait mode too for those that want to see what it looks like for phones and those that prefer using your device in portrait mode!

My only niggle is that the butterflies don’t stay long enough on the screen for me to enjoy them enough. I wish there were just a few butterflies which stayed on the screen for at least a few minutes, whereas they simply land for several seconds and their off again.

 So can you tell I love this live wallpaper its fun and affordable to bring nature indoors, its de-stressing after a hard day and its so relaxing.

Opinion

I feel they gave this app the wrong name as its a stunning app and it should have been called something like Butterfly Bonanza or Butterfly Summer as Friendly bugs could be a complete turnoff for those that dont like insects! I know for a fact more people would buy this app if they knew it was just butterflies and ladybirds; not beetles, spiders or other crawlies!

It whisks me back to long hot summer days, the feel of the gentle breeze and the sun on your face with soft bird song in the background and the rustle of trees! Are you feeling it yet….?¬†

I adore this app, if you have a larger 8-10 inch screen tablet this is where this App really comes into its own but its still beautiful enough to get similar effect on your phone.  Even though I feel its aimed at the ladies, its a stunning app for any keen Lapidopterist (Butterfly enthusiast) as the butterflies are actual species.

If you’ve had a stressful day, turn it on and sit back with a coffee and let them flutter across your screen, for fun tap the screen and watch the ladybirds jiggle in unison. Its a beautifully relaxing affordable app at only 69p its worth every penny!

Summary

Updated – February 20th 2013,

Current Version is 2.15,

Requires android 2.1 and up,

Size 4.1MB,

Pro’s

Natural,

Believable,

Colourful,

Vivid colours,

Updated regularly,

Con’s

I would like to see a few butterflies sit still just for a minute or two, to really see how gorgeous they look.

So if you love watching butterflies head over to Google Play and grab your App for only

69p

You can also try the Lite version too for free to see how you like it, you cant go wrong; give it a go let me know what you think and thanks for popping by.