September 2009

mating Tsetse flies (Glossina morsitans morsitans) - The female has a full bloodmeal in her abdomen.

A large part of my time this month was spent in a hot, stuffy insectarium photographing the complete life-cylce of the Tsetse Fly, and I now have what is probably the most complete collection of high quality photographs of this important disease vector in the world, including a complete sequence of the rarely observed birth of a fully developed larva. A small selection of the photos are shown here.

female Tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans)giving birth to a fully developed larva

female Tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans) giving birth... a final push with her legs and it is out.

Tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans) larva

Tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans) pupae - the colour develops with age. It takes a couple of hours to attain its mature dark purple colour.

newly emerged male Tsetse Fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans) with fully extended ptilinum

Tsetse Fly (Glossina palpalis)

Early in the month I went on a 5-day hiking trip in a remote part of Wester Ross in the Scottish Highland...

Achneigie, Wester Ross, Scotland

Beinn a'Chlaidheimh, Wester Ross, Scotland

Wester Ross, Scotland

Wester Ross, Scotland

Abhainn Loch an Nid, Wester Ross, Scotland

The weather was pretty miserable most of the time we were camping up there and it wasn't until late on the 3rd day the clouds lifted enough for us to see the top of An Teallach...

Abhainn Loch an Nid with An Teallach in the background, Wester Ross, Scotland

...then, miracle of miracles, the sun came out! ...briefly!

Wester Ross, Scotland

The area we were in is so remote that this spectacular cascade with a total of a 20m vertical drop didn't even have a name.

unnamed waterfall at the head of Loch an Nid, Wester Ross, Scotland

unnamed waterfall at the head of Loch an Nid, Wester Ross, Scotland

It always amazes me how little soil heather needs to grow. This sprig was growing directly out of a bare rock face....

Common Heather (Calluna vulgaris)

Towards the end of the month, I found some spare time for a trip to Barns Ness on a beautiful sunny afternoon when I was up in Edinburgh to take care of some family matters. While preparing the photos for this page it occurred to me that these are the first bird photos I have taken since June!

1st winter Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarelli) - Lothian, Scotland

I thought my luck was in when this juvenile Gannet hauled out of the water and walked onto the beach directly in front of where I was sitting while waiting on the waders to approach close enough.

juvenile Gannet (Morus bassanus) - Lothian, Scotland

Unfortunately, it was only there a few seconds before a dog attacked it. I'm pleased to say the dog came off worse in that encounter! Why can't people keep their pets under control...?

juvenile Gannet (Morus bassanus) - Lothian, Scotland

Finally, taking a break to do something completely different from normal, I visited the local racing circuit. Below are a couple of photos of race cars whizzing past in excess of 100mph...

August 2009 2009 Diary Index October 2009