Website overhaul for Wildscenes

Ive been running the Wildscenes website since the early 90s and it has gone through various iterations to become what it has today. I am no coder by any means and so updating and changing the web site style has always been a challenge. Over the recent weeks, Wildscenes became corrupt and was not displaying correctly so I have taken the opportunity to rewrite the site and apply a new design. I am currently in the throws of completing this transition and it has meant I’ve had to pretty much do a ground up rebuild. So, you may find a few broken links and sparsely populated galleries but I am working hard to fix it in between my commercial photography shoots. I’m still taking a few wildlife images and here’s one I’m pleased with taken just a few days ago on the Humber estuary.

drake teal in flight
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Eyed Hawk Moth hatching

A couple of months ago, I picked up an eye hawk moth from an apple tree and brought it home to photograph. As it was late when I found it, I kept it overnight to photograph first thing the next morning and, when I came to get it out of the container, I found it had laid eggs. Quickly photographing it, I took the gravid femaile back to where I found it and released her where she immediately began egg laying on the apple tree. The eggs in the collection box were stucl to the sides and impossible to dislodge without damaging them so I simply covered the box with PVC wrap and left it. The eggs soon hatched into tiny caterpillars and I began to feed them with willow and apple leaves which is their preferred food plant. In only a few weeks they had become massive caterpillars which, like the fool I am, I never photographed! Once the caterpillars had reached full maturity, they began to seem agitated and I realised they were looking to burrow into the ground to pupate so I quickly prepared some fine soil and placed it in the tank. Within minutes they had burrowed underground and that was the last we saw of them until a week or so later when the large pupa had surfaced and were now on top of the soil. According to the internet, they should have overwintered and hatched next spring. Imagine my suprise then, when by chance I noticed that all four of the pupa had hatched into superb adult eyed hawk moths! It was mid- afternoon and they seemed drowsy so I took one into the garden to photograph it and it performed superbly, almost even displaying the ‘eyes’. They were pretty active by the evening so I decided to release them back on the apple tree where the original female had been found. So, four beautiful adult eyed hawk moths went back into the wild last night!

eyed hawk moth (Smerinthus ocellata)
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Vapourer moth caterpillar

Sometimes, you just marvel at nature’s creation and the caterpillar of the vapourer moth never fails to impress me! A mass of hair and ‘shaving brushes’ and difficulty in determining which is the head and which is the tail, this is a very impressive beast. I have photographed these caterpillars a few times now, but I have never photographed the adult insect. Only the male vapourer moth flies, the females are a small, fat, wingless creature that the males seek out using pheromones.

vapourer moth caterpillar
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Poplar Hawk Moth in the garden

I’ve been running my newly aquired moth trap over the past couple of weeks and I’m catching a few different species, mostly common, small plain moths. This morning, however, I had a great suprise when I opend the trap to find this perfect poplar hawk moth sitting quetly in the corner of the trap. I’ve seen these in the garden before and photographed them too, but not for a long time. I bobbed him on a hosta that I’ve just bought for the garden and took his picture :¬)

poplar hawk moth
poplar hawk moth
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Emporer Moth on the North York Moors

Today’s shoot was all about the Emperor Moth, a really special inhabitant of the moorland habitat. Although they occur widely in Yorkshire, we decided to do our emperor moth on the North York Moors as we’d seen a likely spot while out looking for ring ouzels a couple of days ago. We easily found a couple of specimens that were almost pristine and here are the resulting images. No-one could be failed to be impressed by this colourful and spectacular moth!

emperor moth on the North York Moors
emperor moth on the North York Moors
emperor moth on the North York Moors
emperor moth on the North York Moors
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