Tuesday, 23 February 2016

More birds, bugs and stars

Good rains over December and January has resulted in long grass which brought out the bugs and those who prey on them. A recent sighting was this pair of Imperial Hairstreak butterflies (Jalmenus evagoras) in a small blackwood bush plus several pupae groups. Very hard to photograph up close on a windy day!

I'd recently spotted a few foxes out in the grasslands chasing things all over the place. I finally realised that they are catching and eating grasshoppers of which there are quite a few and of a decent size. This young one finally realized someone was watching him when my shutter went off from within 20 metres.
I've finally discovered where our resident goanna lives; here he is sunning himself on his balcony above a big hole 7 metres up a nearby Forest Red Gum. Marg was less than impressed a couple of weeks ago when he tried to get into the house via the cat-flap door!
Not a local but I recently got this nice shot of a Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomotostomus temporalis) foraging for food under a pine tree at the Tocumwal Golf course.
Finally, some astronomy. I had been trying to perfect time-lapse sequences that would run from sunset through the dark and into sunrise, with full details of both daylight scenery and full dark starry glory. Not easy as one jumps between auto camera mode then transitioning to a script driving BackYard EOS to vary the exposures beyond what camera auto mode will do then moving back to the intervalometer with full dark settings, only to reverse the sequence the next morning. Not to mention managing battery life!
Anyway, I got up at 4.30am to start the second BYE script and discovered the laptop had frozen. A quick view outside showed me a lovely sight of Venus and the new Moon so I quickly set things up for this shot and got a lovely shot of the Milky Way and a hint of the Zodiacal Light, together with my observatory dome in the foreground.
Canon EOS60D plus 18mm lens: 25 seconds at f/4.5 and ISO 3200.

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