Sunday, 22 November 2009

No Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos - Just Insects

After reading Denis Wilson's post on photographing Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos I was quite chuffed to see a flock of seven alighting on the dead trees in the gully near my house. I quickly ran inside to grab my camera and off I went up the hill to do a bit of bird stalking. Of course we all know wearing thongs in the bush is a bad idea but I had to get there before the birds took off. (For northern hemisphere readers, thongs = flip flops or rubber sandals - not those other things :-) I slipped twice while pushing through the scrub nearly dropping my camera but I pressed on until I located a good vantage point. I arrived a little scratched up, totally puffed out and with shaky hands. (Moving rapidly uphill no longer agrees with me) . It was all worth it, I thought to myself, as I had a clear view straight across the gully to the cockies. The closest one was a juvenile begging for food. Just as I lifted my camera the clouds blocked the sun and I could see I was not going to get a sharp image. Still it would be better than nothing eh? Then, just as I pressed the button, the camera battery died. Could things get any worse? Yes. A large ant then stung me right between two toes and it is still hurting as I type. Until today I did not know that cockatoos could laugh but I'm sure that's what they were doing.

So dear reader you will just have to imagine the impressive sight of those Cockatoos or go on over to Denis's blog and enjoy his photos. Either that or you can content yourself with these images of some insects which I have come across over the last week. Unfortunately I did not get a shot of the ant as after I was through with it, it was not worth photographing.

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
Dagger Fly (Empididae)

This tiny fly (around 4 or 5 mm) was attracted to the MV light. Empidid flies are predators. Note the proboscis which can be used for piercing it's prey.

Echthromorpha intricatoria - Cream-spotted Ichneumon (Ichneumonidae)

This is quite a striking wasp. The adults feed on nectar and pollen but they parasitise Lepidopteran larvae. The caterpillar below had better watch out.

Ichneumen Wasp (Ichneumonidae)

Here's another Ichneumon hanging around the trap. There are a variety of similar looking species to this which often come to light. These also parasitise Lepidopteran larvae.

Caterpillar (Noctuidae)

This one came to the MV light trap. This is not that unusual. In Scotland I often had Noctuid larvae come to the light trap. Perhaps, as a nocturnal, ground dwelling species, they simply stumble upon the box and crawl in or perhaps they are actually phototropic. Maybe someone has already answered that question. I'll have to look into it one day.

Soldier Fly - (Stratiomyidae)

This one was photographed on a sunny wall. Again. the adults Soldier flies feed on nectar and pollen. The larvae are found in aquatic or semi-aquatic habitats but some also feed in rotting vegetation. I used to have one of those anaerobic compost bins which was always full of soldier fly larvae.


  1. Some things are meant to be maybe you will have better luck next time. Great post.

  2. Ah Mosura,
    Lovely post. Got the mind going with images of thongs and ants and flat batteries...Yep, we've probably all been there and done something like that. Loved the Lepidoptera shots too.

  3. Even if I don't relate to your photos of moths and "bugs and bities" (it must be an acquired taste I reckon!) - I definitely relate to your misadventures in trying to photograph the cockies! Thanks for giving me a good laugh first thing this morning!

  4. Thanks Neil - That's what I keep telling myself but so far it hasn't worked out :-)

    Thanks Gouldiae - I wasn't having a good day. Just half an hour earlier I had somehow managed to get a big dollop of paint stripper on the back of my leg. Ouch!

    Thanks Mick - Photographic misadventures eh. Like leaning on a branch over the water to get a shot of a creek only to have the branch snap :-)

  5. Cockies cackling, assault and battery. Ouch, that smarts! I can hear the ants excitedly calling: 'Pincers ready, here comes a nong in thongs.'

  6. Hi Mosura
    Sorry if I inspired your misadventures.
    Well, you had me in stitches, reading of your endeavours.
    Thanks for the great insect photos, though.

  7. Thanks Tony - Wish those ants had called a little bit louder so I could have heard them.

    Thanks Denis - Yes I hold you responsible for making me believe it was possible to photograph them :-)