Archive for the Plimbari Category

Some insect macrophotography – May 2016

Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Comana, Plimbari, Specii rare on May 21, 2016 by maxpho

During a few expeditions at the beginning of May, I’ve managed to get a few pictures of some beautiful butterflies and other insects, some of which are threatened with extinction in a few locations due to the “great human intervention”. I will not get in depth with the reasons why this happens more and more often in our country. I will, perhaps one day, write a more comprehensive article about this, but I already believe it will not have any impact…

And now the shots:

Parnassius mnemosine distincta:

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Melitaea phoebe phoebe:

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Glaucopsyche alexis alexis:

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Carcharodus orientalis orientalis:

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Saturnia pavonia pavonia (only eggs and larva):

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Zerynthia polyxena polyxena (adult female and eggs):

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And other insects:

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Retezat Mountains – August 1/5, 2015

Posted in Concedii, Plimbari, Specii rare on March 30, 2016 by maxpho

The second trip of 2015 inside the Retezat National Park. The following shots span on a period of five days and present some of the butterfly species that may be found in different areas, as well as two individuals of the species Vipera berus. This trip was focused on different activities regarding insect species mostly, not so much on photography. This year (2016) it will be a little different I think…

First, some mountain views:

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And the two Vipera berus individuals:

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And the second one, perhaps the most beautiful individual of this species ever found by me (and I did find around 20 in the last few years):

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And now, for the butterflies…

Aglais urticae:

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Apatura iris:

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Apatura ilia:

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Thecla betulae:

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Nymphalis antiopa:

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Papilio machaon:

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Nymphalis polychloros:

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Minois dryas:

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Superb few days…with superb many species…

Spring is here !!!

Posted in Comana, Plimbari on March 5, 2016 by maxpho

The spring butterflies and flowers have emerged! A bit too soon perhaps, but I must confess that I like this early Spring 🙂

The following images were shot in the Comana Woods, near Bucharest, at the end of February and the beginning of March. The butterfly (of the species Nymphalis polychloros) was just one of the many species found. For this species (and not only) the flight period started a bit too soon.

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A few days in the Retezat Mountains – 2014

Posted in ASTRO, Concedii, Plimbari, Specii rare on March 6, 2015 by maxpho

Last year, in 2014, I was lucky enough to travel a few times in the Retezat National Park. The following shots depict different species of reptiles, insects and also a few targets from the night sky. The previous year saw a lot of rain, especially up to July, thus not to many days were fruitful in terms of nature or astro-photography. Nevertheless, for me at least, it was the “year of the vipers”, since in all of the three short trips there, I had the pleasure of observing a large number of individuals of the species Vipera berus, some in a now well-known nest location, while others in different places on the road back home, but still in the same general region of Romania.

I must apologize to those viewers that expect some Astronomy-related images, but sometimes (actually most of the time) I look downwards here on Earth, not in the jungles of the cities, malls and offices, but in the natural environments in which species of insects, plants, reptiles, birds are still far (for now) from the truly destructive species that is Homo sapiens sapiens.

WARNING! This is the longest post I’ve created until now; viewing all the images posted here might take a long time…it surely took me a very long time to process and comment them.

I shall start with the first trip…

June 21-25, 2014

First, some views of the landscape, and some of the sky-scape:

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stele si munti The Milky Way with the Lagoon and Trifid nebulae, with a 100mm lens (a few frames of course, no technical details required)

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IMG_8944 In those days a comet was visible after sunset. I couldn’t miss this opportunity, so 22 frames (again with the 100mm lens) had comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS as the main subject:

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And now some of the subjects for which I’ve really went to those places: the insects.

First, the “butterfly of the year” for me: Aporia crataegi. This was the first time I’ve seen this species in Nature, despite the fact that it should have been rather common.

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Another butterfly species, quite common in these places, Zygaena osterodensis, found in rather large numbers in the grass:

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Another not-so-rare species: Coenonympha arcania arcania:

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And now one of the most abundant species in that period: Aglais urticae urticae. This species was found in adult form (butterfly) but also as crisalis and even caterpillar. Many tens of individuals were observed each day, with around 40 caterpillars and crisalis found on Urtica.

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Another not-extremely rare species: Parnassius mnemosyne transsylvanica, toghether with one egg. This egg was found by my wife indirectly while photographing an adult butterfly; she observed that the individual (obviously a female) was laying her egg, and so we could both see for the first time how a Parnassius sp. egg really looks like. Look at the details, which makes this egg look a lot like a golf ball.

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Other more common butterfly species:

Pararge aegeria tircis:

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An individual of Pseudopanthera macularia:

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We’ve also observed different caterpillars (Arctiinae sp.)…

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…like this “fluffy” and lovely-colored individual from the species Arctia caja:

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Other insects and arachnids were of course around us, but not easily visible…

Saperda scalaris

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IMG_9181Coccinella septempunctata (larvae):

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…and also a lot of snails, slowly making they way towards different food sources…

Helix pomatia:

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And now for the reptiles that we’ve met…starting with the lizards:

Anguis fragilis, the leg-less lizard.

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Zootoca (Lacerta) vivipara:

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Podarcis (Lacerta) muralis muralis:

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An amphibian: Salamandra salamandra.

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And a snake species: Natrix tessellata.

A large individual…

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And a very small individual:

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Now for a long series of images showing different individuals of Vipera berus berus:

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And three videos showing some of the individuals found in this period:

Second trip: July 17-21, 2014

In this trip we’ve traveled a lot in the area, in the Gura Apelor area (in the south-west part of the Retezat area) and even as far as Cheile Nerei in Caransebes.

Some views from Gura Apei:

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Beside the beautiful scenery of that region there are also a lot of interesting species of animals, like this rather small individual of Vipera berus berus:

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In the Nera Gorges (Cheile Nerei) area we found this curious individual of the species Natrix tessellata…

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…and some individuals of the species Rosalia alpina, one of (if not “the”) the most beautiful beetles in Europe:

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Back in the Cabana Soarelui – Carnic area in Retezat, where we’ve found, once again, some individuals of Vipera berus berus, but this time of a rather superb and a bit strange color (kind of greenish-red):

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And now for the insects, mostly butterflies:

Erebia ligea nikostrate

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An aphid colony:

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Aglais urticae:

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Cordulegaster bidentata:

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Nymphalis antiopa antiopa:

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Brintesia circe pannonica

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Apatura ilia ilia:

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Apatura iris iris:
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Melanargia galathea satnia:

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Neptis rivularis rivularis:

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The last trip: 15-17 August, 2014:

This was the last time in 2014 when we’ve visited this superb area. Unfortunately it was not a truly fruitful trip, with not so much insect or reptile species observed. Still, it was interesting to find some caterpillars preparing for transformation.

The view, as always, was a memorable one:

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First, the butterflies, in different forms:

Polygonia c-album:

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Despite finding several vipers, the only reptile photographed this time was one large individual of the species Anguis fragilis, the leg-less lizard.

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On the road back, near the Jiu River, we’ve stopped for a short trip and found a few scorpions of the species Euscorpius carpathicus with the young on their back:

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It was nice to see in all these trips that the observed species are doing quite well in places where humans (for now) don’t interfere too much. Nice to see also that scorpions have a rather large area of distribution, despite being found in small numbers.

Can’t wait for this year’s trips in the Retezat Mountains!

Max

P.S: Some of the species identifications were done by my uncle, who’s help is highly appreciated!

Huhurezul mare – Strix uralensis – February 14th, 2015

Posted in Plimbari, Specii rare on February 19, 2015 by maxpho

While on a short trip to Cota 1000 (Sinaia) for imaging comet Lovejoy, I’ve also had the chance of observing and photographing a rather rare nocturnal bird of prey: Strix uralensis, or as it is known in Romania, “Huhurezul mare”.

It was my wife who first saw it on a branch, in a tree thirty meters away.

Since I had the small 65mm Refractor in my hands, preparing to place it onto the equatorial mount for some astrophotography, I’ve also grabbed the Canon camera, and climbed the small hill where the bird’s tree was.

So, the following are some shots taken with the handheld TS APO 65Q F/6.5 (420mm focal length) Refractor and Canon 550D at ISO 800.

At first, the bird was in “sleep mode”:

huhu 2But as soon as we approached the tree, she started paying attention to us:

huhu 1Eventually she got agitated, and flew a bit farther away. My wife caught the moment before departure and the flight itself, using a Canon 100mm lens:

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huhu flightThe bird eventually relocated in another tree, this time a bit higher:

huhu 0The encounter finished due to diminishing sunlight but the bird remained there for a while, and we could hear her calls in the night:

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Max

Prin Gradina Botanica din Bucuresti – 11 Mai 2014

Posted in Plimbari on May 14, 2014 by maxpho

Am ramas mult in urma cu postarile. Insa am avut si cateva motive intemeiate: multe plimbari si fotografii, cele mai multe avand ca subiect Natura din jurul nostru.

Revin acum cu fotografii dintr-o plimbare foarte recenta, intr-o duminica la pranz, prin Gradina Botanica din Bucuresti.

Motivul a fost o expozitie de fluturi tropicali vii, amenajata intr-una dintre marile sere cu plante tropicale. In memoriam pentru expozitia asemanatoare (doar ca titlu!) organizata anul trecut in curtea Muzeului Antipa, aveam sperante destul de mari in ceea ce priveste observarea si fotografierea fluturilor tropicali.

Ei bine, pot sa spun ca cei 5 lei pe care i-am platit pentru un bilet au fost COMPLET DEGEABA!

O sera mare intr-adevar, frumoasa pentru plante tropicale si 4-5 oameni care sa le observe. Nici pe departe insa incapatoare pentru puhoiul de oameni stransi la coada ce se orientau (imediat ce intrau) sa mearga in cercul delimitat de spatiul restrans al incintei. O adevarata tampenie de organizare. Undeva intr-o latura a incaperii erau expuse cateva zeci de crisalide din care ieseau fluturi (foarte putini, insa nu aici ar fi problema), intr-o alta latura cateva crisalide de Attacus atlas (cel mai masiv fluture de pe Terra!) si daca aveai noroc, pe diferite plante si la inaltimi destul de mari mai zareai cate un exemplar de Morpho, Bolima sau Caligo. In total am observat doar 8 fluturi, din care 2 exemplare muribunde de Morpho. Oribila “expozitie”.

Culmea, daca ar fi sa ma iau numai dupa afisul de publicitate, expozitia se adresa in special copiilor; numai ca nimeni nu statea sa le si explice in macar doua-trei cuvinte cate ceva despre superbele exemplare care ce-i drept…nu prea erau prezente.

Si cateva dintre fotografiile personale realizate, prin geam, ori de la distanta, in imbulzeala inevitabila, la cele cateva exemplare de fluturi…

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Si cateva dintre crisalidele de Attacus, agatate la 2 metri distanta de vizitatori, “ascunse la vedere” pe o sfoara, fara ca cineva sa explice ce sunt acele “saculete”. Nu stiu cati dintre cei ce au vizitat expozitia (cel putin in acea zi) au vazut sau si-au dat seama ce sunt acele obiecte suspendate…

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Imi pare chiar rau ca trebuie sa critic o initiativa de altfel foarte buna, insa modul de a prezenta o informatie ori un produs poate fi uneori mai important decat informatia ori obiectul in sine. Si tocmai “modul” trebuie criticat in cazul de fata.

Pacat, mare pacat…Fata de expozitia de anul trecut de la Muzeul Grigore Antipa, in ciuda spatiului ocupat efectiv de sera, expozitia din Gradina Botanica este un adevarat esec, in opinia mea, atat ca vizitator, cat si fotograf si entomolog, toate la nivel de amator (a se citi fara diplome).

Mi-am mai revenit insa cum am iesit din sera…o plimbare prin Gradina observand diferitii arbori cu diferite urme ale diferitelor insecte, lasate inca in pace de ingrijitori.

Printre altele, mica mlastina ne-a bucurat privirile cu zecile de exemplare de testoase si pesti:

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A fost pana la urma o zi frumoasa de final de saptamana, cu 25 de grade Celsius si Soare cat cuprinde.

Max

(14 Mai 2014)