All the small things

I’ve decided on a long-term project, which is to one day write a book about my favourite dog walk, the Riverside Walk, which is a part of the wider Yeovil Country Park. It’s a retirement project really, which means I have nine years of dog walking in which to learn everything I can about the place, from its history, which I covered to a certain extent in an older blog (but which will now no doubt get hugely updated), to its largest tree and its smallest insect, neither of which I know very much about at all – but I am determined to find out!

As soon as I came up with this idea, it brought an almost immediate zen-like calm to my walks. If a cuckoo calls, but I don’t manage to find it to photograph it, it doesn’t matter – there’s always next year, or the year after that, and so on. If I accidentally delete a photo of, say, a Toothwort, a very unremarkable colourless but fascinatingly carnivorous plant that I snapped for later identification, it doesn’t matter, it will grow again next year. The urgency to record things there and then has therefore gone, that particular zombie no longer in my head.

At the same time, I’ve made two rather wonderful discoveries. Firstly, Google Lens, with which you can point your phone camera at something, a Toothwort for instance, and it tells you what it is. Amazing! Why didn’t I know about that before?! Probably because I’m 57 and not 17.

The second discovery was that the Tamron 18-400 zoom I bought a while back seems to have macro facility all the way through the zoom range, which means I can take photos of very small insects at really quite high resolution without getting so close as to scare them off – like these:

Hoverfly on Green Alkanet flower
Female “Beautiful Demoiselle” (Agrion Virgo)
Large Red Damselfly (that’s actually what it’s called)
Oedemera nobilis
Pyrochroa serraticornis, Red-Headed Cardinal Beetle
This is my favourite – a Pollen Beetle, only a few millimetres long.

There will no doubt be a lot more of these over the coming years. Such fun!

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