Winter Macro

One evening last week, all of a sudden, I had the crazy idea to go out into the garden with my macro set up and see what I could find in the dark. I cannot explain why I felt compelled to go out at that particular time of day, I am just very grateful I did. I surprised myself with what I managed to capture.

The weather was mild and dry for a January evening. Taking a torch, I scanned along the garden boundary. It didn’t take me long to find spiders, busy building webs in the dark. It was fascinating to watch as the spider handled the thread it had produced, scaling along one piece of thread to move forward, while placing another thread behind.

You can see why in Greek mythology the first spider was attributed to a weaver.

Arachne was an incredibly talented weaver who challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest. Athena crafted a tapestry depicting the Greek Gods as heroes, full of majesty, Arachne choosing to illustrate the many injustices the Greek Gods had carried out. Arachnes skill was undeniable but the subject matter enraged Athena who destroyed the tapestry woven by Arachne and transformed her into the spider.

Venturing further in the garden I came across two varieties of spider I have not knowingly come across before. My new spider field guide coming in extremely useful in identifying them.

The Walnut Orb spider, although quite a common spider, hide away during the day and emerge at night being the first of the new finds. Followed by Anyphaena Accentuata, also known as buzzing spiders (named due to the way the males vibrate their abdomen against the surface of leaves to attract a female). Managing to capture both of these filled me with such delight.

It is no secret how much I miss macro, so getting results in the colder season just fills me with such joy.

Another surprise discovery was finding a pair of moths in the gravel, procreating. I have not been unable to positively identify them as of yet. I am not sure if this behavior is out of season or expected. If I am able to find out I will provide the information in a later post. I find the more I learn about the natural world, the more interested I am in it and become more eager to learn all I can.

I look forward to more night time macro adventures during the year (regardless of lockdown) to see what else I can discover and learn.

How have you all been coping with the latest lockdown?

I have to admit my mental health has had a bit of a lull recently. New routines and being confined to the house has taken its toll. Although, doing something different, as simple as taking the camera out in the garden at a different time of day, made such a difference to break up the monotony.

Is there anything you have found helps you when you start to feel low?

I recently caught up on the series A Perfect Planet (BBC IPlayer) which I would highly recommend viewing. Some parts are not an easy watch, in particular where the effects of climate change and our part in it is discussed/demonstrated, which, in truth, should be uncomfortable to watch. Hopefully it will change peoples attitude and aide them in making better decisions in the future regarding the environment. Its not all doom and gloom though, the rain frog being a personal highlight.

Getting cosy, with a cup of tea and watching something like this really helps to calm me, especially if I cannot concentrate my mind on reading. Winterwatch (BBC) has returned to our screens this week and is another nature series where I know I can watch, learn and be calmed by. Its comfort watching. Are there any series’ or films you turn to when you need comforting?

I really hope you are all well, until next time, take care.