June 2009

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) - Skomer, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Although not primarily a photographic trip I did still manage to get a few decent shots of the numerous Puffins nesting on the island when I took a trip to Skomer with a few friends.

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) - Skomer, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) - Skomer, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Tourist trips out to seabird breeding islands never allow you to get the best light since you don't arrive on the island until about 11am and leave about 4pm. During these times on sunny days the light is very harsh and the contrast between highlights and shadow is too much for the camera to cope with. At these times it is essential to ensure the sun is directly behind you so that you can minimise the strong shadows on your subject and even then you will still need a significant amount of post-production optimisation in Photoshop to generate a usable image. For these reasons I don't usually bother taking photographs at midday in sunny weather, but when it is the only time it is possible to be on the island you have to make the best of it you can.

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) - Skomer, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) - Skomer, Pembrokeshire, Wales

The scenery around the island and the rugged Pembrokeshire coast is stunning...

Skomer, Pembrokeshire, Wales

In June, Skomer is blanketed in Red Campion flowers...

Red Campion (Silene dioica) - Skomer, Pembrokeshire, Wales

This very friendly stallion was grazing on the headland at Martin's Haven.

Pembrokeshire, Wales

Beadlet Anemone (Actinia equina) - West Glamorgan, Wales

While in south Wales, we also spent a bit of time searching the rockpools. I was quite impressed that I managed to photograph these anemones, which were about 6 inches below the surface of the water, with no reflections without the benefit of a polarising filter!

Snakelocks Anemone (Anemonia viridis) - West Glamorgan, Wales

Green Shore Crab (Carcinus maenus) - West Glamorgan, Wales

Green Shore Crab is the most commonly encountered crab around the British coast.

Sea Slater (Ligia oceanica) - West Glamorgan, Wales

Lepidochitona cinerea
West Glamorgan, Wales

mating Buff-tailed Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)
Anglesey, Wales

This silverfish is one of a small captive colony that a friend maintains at Swansea University for her research.

Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) - West Glamorgan, Wales

Misumena vatia is a beautifully camouflaged spider that is capable of changing its colour from white to yellow depending on the colour of the flower it is sitting on. The colour change is controlled by visual cues and allows the spider to perfectly match its surroundings.

Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) - Anglesey, Wales

Male Thick-legged Flower Beetle (Oedemera nobilis) - Anglesey, Wales

Click Beetle (Athous sp.) - Anglesey, Wales

Finally, I have been spending a bit of time this month getting photographs of all the lifecycle stages of a few medically important mosquitoes. Both species shown below are from laboratory reared colonies photographed in a homemade aquarium consisting of two microscope slides glued onto a base with a small space in between which is just wide enough for the mosquito larvae and pupae.

Yellow Fever Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) larva

Along with Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus is one of 63 species of mosquitoes that have been found infected with West Nile Virus in the United States. It is also a reservoir for Dengue, eastern equine encephalomyelitis and other potentially lethal arboviruses. Originally from eastern Asia, it was introduced into Hawaii at the beginning of the 20th century and has now spread throughout most of the lower 48 states. Its rapid spread is mainly due to transportation of used tyres since its larvae have a preference for small dark pools, such as those often found in tyres. Worryingly, it is now also well established in Italy and is spreading across Europe. With it recently being recorded in the Netherlands it is only a matter of time before it reaches Britain.

Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) pupa just after transforming from the larval stage.

May 2009 2009 Diary Index July 2009