About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Q is for Quiet Majesty

Not trying to score one-upmanship points against John of John's Toy Soldiers blog who had a really nice dark, blackish one visit his garage the other day, but rather that these have been flying for about 4 weeks now and along with various other beetles I've shot over May/June were due to star here.

Starting with the king of beetles the Stag or Lucanus Cervus, a now endangered species (like anything unconnected with Homo Sapiens but sharing a planet with him), although not that endangered if this years number are anything to gauge things by, I've seen dozens, but then I've been seeking them out!

The time to find them is twilight, that quiet period after sun-down when the light just slides away while you're busy doing something else, they sound like a clattering bunch of dry leaves in flight. This one is a typical male of mid years with reasonable sized 'antlers' (enlarged jaw mandibles).

This younger one (smaller antlers) was crashing around a hazelnut hedge like Arnie looking for Sarah Connor, but after a while he settled under a leaf. I have always found them here, year after year, and usually when I find one I can pop-up to the station car park and find a few more, but this year there weren't any, so I wandered back to shoot some more pictures of this one and found...

...this old boy with huge antlers flying round the same hedge (I assume there is a female somewhere near giving off a pheromone signal?), sadly the shots are not brilliant, these pocket digital 'instamatics' are fine for toy soldiers, family shots and even macro-work, but they struggle with decent landscapes, bright or very low light and anything buzzing around like Budgie the Half-cut Helicopter with a damaged rotor!

The previous three were all shot in Fleet, Hampshire, over the end of May/early June this one was on a path near Leatherhead, Surrey a week or so later (two weeks ago) and is a lovely polished mahogany colour with a fine pair of medium sized antlers, he could sense me and reared-up like an invertebrate cobra!

This was one of about six converging on an old oak tree, it was getting too dark to shoot them and most settled up in the crown, but this chap started climbing from the base. Again, I assume a female was silently calling them to the fight (they use the antlers to throw each other off the branch when they meet!), and I guess he'd lost a bout and couldn't be arsed to fly again!

The weird thing was, 20-odd hours later when we were finishing a knock-about cricket session (I survived about eight balls!) he was still in the same spot, he hadn't moved all day? But I didn't have the camera, so I couldn't get any natural-light shots.

Speaking of the females; I have shot them in the past at the station car park, but am not posting them as it was a year or so ago and i want to post the ones that I've seen in the last few weeks. They tend toward being much darker (darker even than the one in John's garage), some almost black, and have no antlers so they look like a different species, but are about the same length and the abdomen is pretty much the same as the male stags.

Back home last week and another one in [the] Nut Bush City Limits! Daedalus and aeronautical engineers have so much to learn from these before we kill the last of them (within about 50 years, globally?). They actually seem to use their wings to lower the air pressure under the wing casing and then use the cases as a hang-glider, steering and changing altitude with the wing-cases while the wings just flap away AFAP. The result - it has to be said - looks like a large bumble bee on a drug-trial!

In researching all the beetles I've seen over the last 4/6 weeks, I discovered that the Rhino (Oryctes nasicornis) beetle is also a native, I've never seen one but he has a single horn and looks like the miniaturised bastard-child of a rhinoceros and a mono-ceratops!


John Lambshead said...

Lovely pics.

Maverick Collecting said...

Thanks John, yours are good too, they are a bugger to get in focus, I think the camera 'reads' them as a piece of curved glass and can't get a grip on the distance...or something!