Saturday, 2 February 2013

Just a few highlights

All Images © Will Bermingham
All rights reserved.

To all who follow this blog. Im gradually moving to pastures new over on Flickr. All my new shots will gradually be uploaded there with much less waffle!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Some interesting beasties

Happy Summer Everyone! What a great week or so of weather we have had eh?!

From my reckoning, all this sun at last seems to be good for just about everything. The bugs were up and a-buzzing, including lots of bees around London. Good for all the birds too as I suspect their food is much easier to come by!

  So, with the forecast suggesting that our time in full sun is over for the time being, I have some photographic treats to share from a quick jaunt in the Wetlands Centre this morning.

Todays theme is : "Bugs but not bees." No offense to my bee friends, but my blog has almost turned into a hive with the number of bee snaps recently! So something a little different to follow....

Anyone who has been to the wetland centre will know that there is a great flower bed that greats you as you walk over from the carpark. This has been a favorite place of mine with my recent interest in bees as it is always replete with pollinators. Whilst snapping away, a bug caught my eye as it didnt quite match any of the bee patterns that I have been learning over the past few weeks. "Ho hum" thinks I, and I only just managed to snap a photo of it before it flew away. This bug was no bee. A real master of disguise with its Carder-bee-esque honey colours fur, tipped with a Buff-tailed rear, this fellow is in fact a hoverfly! Here is another pic i found on the web for an ID 

I felt quite pleased with myself after that spot :) But this morning was going to get even better. Whilst wandering towards the wader scrape hide, I caught a glimpse of colour flitting around in the grasses. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by 6 spot Burnets - A stunning day flying moth. Needless to say, I was happy to sit snapping away for quite some time! 

Here is some info about these little beasties....

And finally.... I have been rabbiting on recently about the BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT. This is a big project throughout the UK at the moment trying to encourage people to spend 15mins spotting butterflies. Is there any excuse to not be able to find such a tiny piece of time free to pop out and watch these great creatures?! If you haven't already, get involved!!!

Here are two snaps I took for ID purposes during the 3rd 15 minute count that I have done so far! Today's totals: 4 meadow brown and 3 Gatekeeper (2 little white eyes in the black wing spot)

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


ALL IMAGES © William Bermingham 2012

Buff tailed bumblebee


Finally I have emerged from the dark, vitamin D deficient cacoon of revision.... but sadly no snazzy wings to fly about in the sun. This post aims to cover a fair bit of ground as myself and Mary-Loo (my camera) have been out and about a few times over the past week in both the London Wetland Centre and in the Oxfordshire countryside. 

Not only are there going to be a whole bunch of photos, but there will also be an IMPORTANT MESSAGE about *UK Butterflies* about half way through!

Red tailed bumblebee

Lets start with some photos from the WWT London Wetland Centre. This was my first outing with my camera after exams and the weather even managed to work up some sunshine for me. I wanted to set out with a purpose in hand and so I set myself the task of trying to spot as many types of bumble bee as possible and try my best to ID them. For an extra bonus, there will also be a factoid for each bee type I managed to snap!

 Unlike some of my previous visits recently, where bee numbers had seemed a bit low to my amateur eyes, this time the flower beds were positively 'a-buzz'. The WWT centre has some great wildflower areas which are well worth a look :)

Buff tailed bumblebee

So here are some shots working my way through the wildflower beds. There were LOADS of buff tailed bumbles about. These a pretty big as bumble bees go. DID YOU KNOW? that buff tailed bumble bees are a major domesticated bee breed used for polination? Because of their widespread use, they are also banned from Oz incase they 'go native!' (

Honey bee? I'm not good with the little bees!

 Help! Anyone with a good, simple to use source for ID-ing little bees I would be very grateful :)

Carder bee

 Did you know? 'Carding' is a method of wool preparation and the bees get their name from the practise of scraping hairs from plant stems. (Certainly this applies to the wool carder bee - there is even a video online. I cant actually find somewhere which says that the common carder does it too) (

I think this is a white tailed bumblebee, but it might be another buff?

Did you know? Buuf and white tailed bumblebees are NECTAR NINJAS.....  if a flower is too long for them to get the yummy nectar from within, they will nibble a little hole further down to gain access to their tasty treat! (

Another red tailed bumble I think :)

So just to finish, here are 3 more bumbles I snapped.... scroll down for an IMPORTANT BUTTERFLY ANNOUNCEMENT

Carder bee?

Carder bee


Few bugs are able to get such a positive reaction of wonderment from humanity like a butterfly. Their colours, patterns and graceful fluttering through the air has a magical effect on us all. BUT like all of us, they are having to deal with climate change. To help keep tabs on all our lovely butterflies, the BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT is underway! 

IT IS SO EASY TO GET INVOLVED! All you need is 15mins set aside to be outside spotting butterflies. Not a very big ask in the sceme of things eh?!

You can find details here:

Here are some photos from my big butterfly count that I did in the countryside near Oxford. I saw a whole host of meadow browns as well as one large skipper and a marbled white. The big butterfly count website has a great spotters guide to help make the IDs!

Meadow Brown

 Marbled white

Just to wrap up, a few other 'misc' photos from the past few days. I hope you have enjoyed todays blog post. Do post if you have any comments/identifications! Also, if anyone wants to set me a photographic challenge for my next WWT centre visit, feel free! 

Untill next time...

 *Hover hover*

 A bug. Nice snap though!

Can anyone ID this bee?

ALL IMAGES © William Bermingham 2012

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A summery day for insect photography


Ergh. Exams. Whine whine whine, moan moan moan. 

This blog update comes from the deepest recesses of university exam season. With my first exam in just 2 days time, this morning's sunny weather brought some welcome relief (and vitamin D) to my pasty revision cave complexion!
Taking study breaks are important. and with my knees just about recovered from last summer's tandem escapade to Paris, the Wetland centre is suddenly just a few mins away on my trusty fixed-gear bike.

First off, a little extra plug for the London WWT Centre. 


Pictures will follow in a later blog post, but I really recommend a visit to see them.

The otters were not the aim of my visit today, however. I had set myself *REVISION RULES*

i) 1hr only.
ii) NO hides.

Summer at the centre offers a whole lot for everyone. Despite being a weekday, the centre was heaving with people ans school groups, all scampering about enjoing the sun and nature. With my limited time window, I wanted to quickly find a location to get results. My first piece of luck came in the waterlife gardens. Searching for bees, I instead spotted two dragonflies caught in a spiders web. The silken threads were so fine you could hardly believe the insects were stuck - they looked more frozen mid flight between the flowers.

Speaking of flowers, there certainly are plenty around at the moment. Lots of mootings about the various orchids that are out at the centre at the moment - I particularly wanted to find a bee orchid, but no luck today (only 1 hr remember!).

My second photo spot found me over towards the sandmartin bank. There is a nice wooden bench here with a wildflower bank surrounding it. With the warm sun beating down, I sat watching buff tailed bumblebees bzz about. It was, however, the beetles that got my camera shutter firing. I think this fellow is a common flower beetle, but his emerald green colours looked great in the grasses.

Sticking with beetles, I also managed to snap a couple of shots of an ever familiar ladybird :)

So finally (its late, im sleepy, revision has warped my brain). The last couple of pics (and indeed the first couple of the honey bees) were all taken just outside the wetland center in the lovely flower bed that greets you on arrival. Flowers, bees and bugs aplenty, I particularly like the snap below of a cardinal(?) beetle on a cornflower - with the chaotic cornflower stems making a fascinating background onto which the tiny detail of the beetle stands out.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this installment. Im always open to comments, tips, bug identifications and general chatter! And remember, BRITISH BEES NEED YOU. BEE-BEE FRIENDLY TODAY!!!


Monday, 11 June 2012


Bees are important. Fact. Its completely irrefutable. 

For one thing. Each and every bee is alive and buzzing, and quite frankly, they should have the right to keep doing so!

Lets be realistic though, the bottom line is this isnt how humanity as a whole tends to think. Lets instead arrive at the same conclusion, but wave **MONEY** around instead. Friends of the Earth quote the statistic that it would cost £1.8 BILLION to pollinate crops without bees. So they are important right?!

Anyone who reads this blog more regularly will now perhaps be thinking, "another bee post? has will gone bee crazy?!" Well yes, I rather think I have. But this post is not about my photography, or any of my other daily gripes. This post is to help YOU get in touch with your local bees because they need YOUR help. 

Bees are in trouble, but there are loads of ways that we can all get together and make things better. We just need to spread awareness and take some small steps in as many little places as possible. Plant a flower, sign a petition, all these little bee sized actions will add up and could make a big swarm sized difference. So below are some links to help you on your journey of bee-scovery

Click, read and take what action you see fit. But please, help our bees :D

All images © William Bermingham 2012

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Bees and Bugs

So. My last post was about beeeees, and people seemed to like that.


As I am in a revision cave and unable to go to the wetland centre, I thought i would dig out a few more pictures of our insecty friends for this blog update. Lets start with dragonflies. Beautiful and deadly, I think I speak for everyone in saying that these ancient creatures are almost universily fascinating. Their method of flight, their massive variation and vibrant colours ensure they will appeal on some level to most people.

The folwoing 3 shots showcase some dragonflies from 3 countries; Holland, the UK (LWC) and Singapore respectively. Identifications/trivia comments welcome!

This last photo is the one I am most proud of, and I wouldn't have snapped it without the sharp eyes of my girlfriend spying this chap sitting oh so perfectly atop a flowering stem. A copy of this one is hanging in my hallway and always reminds me of warmer climes!

Now, for those who have had a gander at this blog before, you will know that first and foremost I tend to snap our feathery friends. But I must say, its quite rare that I actually use my bird photos for anything other than to browse through occasionally. In terms of picking photos for more daily viewing like my laptop background, it's my more macro themes shots that tend to win out. Here are a couple of shots that have previously graced my computer

And now i really must return to revision. Lets finish with a couple more bees :D

All images © William Bermingham 2012