Two summery macro-shots

Today, when I looked out of my kitchen window I saw the flowering lilac being swarmed by butterflies. There were some European peacocks but most of them were painted ladies. Most of them flattered away, when I came with my camera but one of them was so kind to wait with open wings.

If you look closely at its wings you can see that they are frayed and that the colours are not the freshest. No wonder, because these butterflies are long-distance flyers coming from Southern Europe or even from North Africa. They sail with the wind and use to fly north each summer – this year even to the Swedish county Västerbotten. So this little fellow probably has flown 3–4000 km. Incredible!

Now my macro lens was attached and I was eager for more insects. Perhaps some dragonflies at the shore of the Nördfjärden? I packed a neoprene suit into my car and drove to the place. I really saw many dragonflies – for example common blue damselflies  or
four-spotted chasers – when I waded through the shallow water. However I didn’t get any photos I’m really content with. The dragonflies are so shy and so fast. I guess I’m too impatient for nature photography.

I made however a dragonfly-related photo I like. It’s a so-called exuvia, the leftover of the dragonfly after it has hatched. These exuviae have a great advantage: they don’t move.

Translations:

EnglishGermanSwedishLatin
European peacockTagpfauenaugePåfågelögaInachis io
Painted ladyDistelfalterTistelfjärilVanessa cardui
Common blue damselflyGemeine BecherjungferSjöflicksländaEnallagma cyathigerum
four-spotted chaserVierfleckFyrfläckad trollsländaLibellula quadrimaculata

3×2 weekend images

Still summer weather – blue sky, temperatures not too hot and the last rain seems to be away like ages. Flowers are blooming, the Baltic Sea is blue and the cows are left on the green pastures for the first time of the year.

Small tortoiseshell

Yesterday I saw the first butterfly of the season on the icebreaker Baus. It was a small tortoiseshell. Today I saw another one fluttering in my sunny front yard. It rested on one of the wooden panels and I wondered if and how it can survive after such a long winter with no flowers around.

I sneaked into the house, fetched the camera (it still had the telephoto lens on) and made a shot for this blog. I made it from the street with a distance of 5 metres because I didn’t want to disturb this little fellow. The photo is a 100% crop of the original image, otherwise you would see only a small orange spot.

Small tortoiseshell · nässelfjäril · Kleiner Fuchs · Aglais urticae

Vampires of the North

This article is part of the series “2017-07: Tromsø”.

It’s no secret, that blood-sucking vampires exist in Scandinavia. It’s another species then the half-human vampires known from countless fantasy novels and therefore there are some differences:

The bad part: They don’t dread the sunlight, they are countless and they can fly!

The good part: You won’t turn into a vampire yourself when they bite you, they are much smaller and they are easier to kill.

But sometimes you come too late to prevent the vampires attack …

This mosquito died in Miekojärvi between Överkalix and Övertorneå, where Annika and I stayed overnight on our tour to Tromsø.

 

 

From winter to summer in seven days.

I hardly can remember the intense snow fall a week ago, when I look at a day as today.

Today in a nutshell: sun, shorts, temperatures between 15° and 22° C, sandals, blue sky, t-shirt only, ice cream.

It looked like early spring with only some of the birches starting to come into leaf but it felt more like high summer with today’s temperatures.

Annika and I have been in the “Arboretum Norr” today, just five days later as last year. Last year we could see many different species of flowers, this year only some, mostly Tussilago and Alpine Penny-cress, the two flowers that use to bloom first in the season. No wonder, April and May has been colder than last year. But today warmth attracted many butterflies, such as this European peacock.

And Tussilago is a beautiful flower anyway.

20 km south, 40 years back

Today I took the car to the peninsula Vånören – ca 20 km linear distance, ca 35 with the car. I thought, I would experience a new place, but well, I just forgot, that I’ve been there already. Anyway, a nice place with quite different types of landscapes. Forests, shallow bogs, rocky coast, small lakes and big granite rocks.

When I came to a rock pool, I saw the first tadpoles of the year. I kneeled down and had a closer look. After a while I discovered other animals in the shallow and clear water – most of them insect larvas. Some of them I knew, others I had to look up when I was home again.

Here they come:

For an hour I was an eight year old boy again. A boy, that has been loving water and all the small animals in it. When I was a child I had tadpoles, water insects, newts or water snails in big plastic bathtubs in the garden each summer.

Back to present age: I kneeled on the rocks, looked at the tadpoles, the great diving beetle larvae (they look like small aliens) – and the shy caddisfly larvas in their self-made “burrows”.

The photos are not the best – the animals were under water, the camera over water. The refraction of the light made it hard to focus and many photos were blurred. But anyway, it was great fun (beside of the hurting knees kneeling on the rough rocky ground).

One question is still open. Have a look at the 5th photo. What is it?! It floated underwater, was round 15 mm long and almost transparent. I don’t think, it’s an insect, perhaps a fish larva, but I don’t have any clue. If you know, what it is, let me know.

Postscript

Number 5 is a mosquito larva, not one of the biting ones, but probably of the family Chaoboridae. German wikipedia describes the larvae as Glasstäbchenlarven which means “glass rod larvae”. A good description in my opinion.

For the longhorn beetle enthusiasts …

Both longhorn beetles found in Bygdeträsk. The Leptura quadrifasciata on Friday, the Lepturobosca virens today.

Translations:

EnglishGermanSwedish
Longhorn beetleBockkäferLånghorningar
Leptura quadrifasciataVierbindiger SchmalbockFyrbandad blombock
Lepturobosca virensDichtbehaarter HalsbockGrön blombock