Monday, 27 July 2009

Macro Monday

There is a small patch of rain forest just an hour’s drive from my place, named Meethirigala reserve. This forest has been spared thanks to a forest buddhist hermitage situated in it. I did a half a day trip to this secondary rain forest yesterday with some bird and bug friends: Ayanthi (organiser), Cheryl, Rohantha and Sandaruwan. I was hoping to focus just on birds (determined not to take the camera gear out of the bag), but soon, had to abandon this idea as the majority favoured photography, and I found myself copying their behaviours. Insects were sluggish due to overcast and early morning conditions, which made their photography more profitable. I am sharing here some of them that cooperated.

First, I start with a critter that have no idea of; if you do, please let me know.

Spectacular bug, thanks Melli for the name This looks like a type of a builder wasp

builder wasp? I was crawling on the ground when I shot this fly and got a leech on my belly.

the fly
A solider beetle.
Soldier Beetle
And God knows what this is!

?A preying mantis species. Doug, please help

All of these were photographed at life size or above life size. Most of them were spotted by Cheryl who had a good eye for bugs. She also impressed me immensely with her ability to share fish sandwiches and chilled drinks at regular intervals.

Our top birding highlight of the trip included Common Hawk Cuckoo, which was picked by Ayanthi. This bird is not common here as the name suggests. A female Black-naped Monarch nest-building by the roadside was also nice. An endemic Green-billed Coucal was heard.

Our top butterfly highlight was the Southern Duffer, which was expertly spotted by Rohantha while being glued to a Elaeocarpus serratus tree (Veralu in Sinhala), drinking its sap that was oozing out of a wound in the bark. Later on, Ayanthi announced the second Southern Duffer and a third Southern Duffer joining in there while we were getting on with other things. It turned out to be an all-male drinking party. It was quite a good sighting of this rare butterfly found in forests with bamboo undergrowth. A Common Evening Brown was also seen there at the start. Ayanthi took good pictures of the Southern Duffer and Common Evening Brown together. A perched Banded Peacock spotted inside a bamboo thicket by me was too difficult to photograph but a good one for the trip.

The three males thought it was fit to copy the sap-seeking behaviours of the Southern Duffers, and we paused at the Hanwella Resthouse for some Arrack. The rice and curry that followed tasted good.

Macro Monday HQ is at Lisa's Chaos.


Carletta said...

Excellent macro photography! Someday I'll achieve these results - maybe. :)
The antennae on that first one reminds of antlers on deer.
I think I can safely say this is the most detail I've ever seen of a fly's head - looks like he has stitches.
Loved this post and your blog.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Meethirigala - I have heard about this place but never got a chance to visit. After reading this I got a real urge to see this place soon.

Great macros as always & I don't think I will ever have that patience to take similar shots :)

Sap seeking behaviour is common to all males I suppose ;)

rainfield61 said...

You have a bagful of lovely pictures on insect. The look on the fly is great. However, yours is the greatest. lol.

I have a similar one about the builder bee at

betty-NZ said...

Those are some awesome photos! Such clear and clean lines!
What kind of camera/lens do you use?

June said...

Wow...great macro shots! So many strange critters out in the world!

Melli said...

Oh! How utterly AMAZING! You are sO blessed to have such beauty just a short way from you! I, of course, have NO idea what that top bug is - but he is SPECTACULAR - so we shall simply call him spectacular bug! Thank you sO much for sharing these! And thanks to myself for stopping by to see them!!!

Gattina said...

Yikes, these beasts are so ugly ! not your pictures they are great !

Anonymous said...

I love the bug photos. Macro photography forces us to slow down and truly see our world.

I had a nice series of photos of a preying mantis. Unfortunately Kodak lost my film. I'm on the prowl for another opportunity.

kath said...

True macro! These are fantastic. Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Sullivan said...

Oh these are wicked cool! I love doing bug yours!! Sarah

Mel said...

Hola Amila,
Those bugs look awesome! Really good photographs.

Madibirder said...

Thanks for visiting Wings Among Us. The Blue eared Kingfisher is also rare in Malaysia and we are fortunate to to have at least 3 near our area.
I think you have an amazing Blog here. Fantastic photos.
Best regards

Tabib said...

Great macro work as usual.
Really hard to get this, see you crawling on the ground like sniper.

Regina said...


Unknown said...

These are fantastic! Love the frilliness of the first one!!

Amila Salgado said...

Hi Carletta,
Thanks! The first one was shot at 1.5 times the life size and was cropped a wee bit. I got it just the way I liked it.

Hi K,
You will enjoy Meethirigala surely. Serious macro work can slow you down. Not too good for you hikers!

Sap-seeking behaviour is essential to regain lost fluids in the humid rain forests. Dehydration is bad.

Hi rainfield,
I couldn’t complete my take of the wasp as a Common Hawk Cuckoo grabbed my attention. Glad you liked MY pic.

Hi bettyl,
Thanks! For these, I used a Canon 40D with Canon 65mm MP-E lens and Canon MT-24EX Macro flash.

Hi June,
Good to hear you this July. We have lots of critters that make great macro subjects.

Hi Melli,
Thanks a lot for that glowing tribute! That spectacular bug was my top highlight of that trip too.

Hi Gattina,
I know what you mean.
Have a great day!

Hi awarewriter,
That is right, macro work really slows you down. Sorry to hear about the loss of that film. How disappointing!

Hi kath,
Thanks! Glad you liked them.

Hi Sarah,
Thank you!
Macro is great fun.

Hola Mel,
Thanks! Long time no see.
As always good to hear from Peru.

Hi madibirder,
I have saved all your and Tabib’s Blue-eared Kingfisher shots to a special folder to study its plumage in detail. It would be a mega tick here.

Hi Tabib,
Luckily the traffic wasn’t too bad!

Hi Regina,

Hi Lisa,
I have a saved a few like that for future MMs.

NatureStop said...

Great macro captures!

Pat - Arkansas said...

I shrieked when I read about your getting a leech on your belly, just to get a photo! You are one dedicated photographer!

Gruesome looking creatures; great photographs!

Amila Salgado said...

Hi NatureStop,
Thank you!

Hi Pat,
I get leeched quite often. It is a minor occupational hazard that worries me little. Between you and me, I've have been bitten in all vital parts of my body except the eyes!

Harshi said...

Wow.. excellent macro photography! The bugs, even though most of them creep me out, do seem to have their own beauty, which we often overlook.. =D

Next time I'm gonna pause for a while and observe when I come across a one, before shooing it away! =D

Thanks for sharing all the info and pics.

Amila Salgado said...

Hi Harumi,
Thank you!
Some of our smaller bugs have amazing texures and hues. I will visit your blog to see your cam phone results, soon.

Harshi said...

They sure do. Wish they were big enough for us to admire their beauty even more. =D

And sure. Thanks.

Texas Travelers said...

Great macros.
I don't know how I missed it.


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