11 Jul 2016

11 July 16 - Lepidopterists Society Announce The Winner Of The 2016 Summer Photo Competition

It is less than three weeks since the shock announcement from the Lepidopterists Society that they were to hold a summer photo competition. Normally, these photo competitions only occur every ten years or so & this news took everybody by surprise & left photographers scrambling around for photos to submit. The judges stated they would eliminate one photo at a time until there were only two finalists left.
Fox(glove) Pug: Despite picking up a handful of votes from a few of the elderly judges, the majority of the judges quickly rule out Mr Fox(glove) as being totally unsuitable as he was far to dull, uninspiring & unpopular. Swanage (30 June 2010)
Following this initial rejection of Mr Fox(glove), another photographer decided to abandon the competition stating he hadn't read the rules & didn't realised the competition was only open to Moths & that his photo wasn't suitable. But he said he had been please to have got further in the competition than Mr Fox(glove).
'Red-faced' Crab: Mr Crabb decided it was better to retreat into his shell than be eliminated by the judges in the next round. Strawberry Hermit Crab, Tenararo, French Polynesia (13 Nov 2014)
This left just three in the competition & the judges got to vote one more out of the competition at the next stage. With the votes cast, it was clear which was the most unpopular photo: the Grey Dagger (or is it the Dark Dagger).
Grey Dagger or maybe Dark Dagger: They are very hard to tell apart & perhaps the best way is to check the genitalia. This does mean killing the Moth, which following recent events a number of the judges were in favour of doing, but in the end the judges agreed it would be too unpleasant to have to examine the genitalia. Swanage (26 May 2012)
The judges decided it was in very poor taste to have the dagger tattooed all over its back. This is believed to have been the very same dagger it has used only the previous week to eliminate the leading photographer & stop him from submitting his highly praised photo at the last minute. Many expected this photographer, Mr John Boriston, to have romped home with this photo.
Pop(u)lar  Hawk Moth: Laothoe populi subspecies johnsoni. This Moth is often to be found in a trap full of Maiden's Blush Moths. Most people had clearly expected the Hawk Moth to easily win the competition. Swanage (22 June 2010)
With just two photos left, the judges announced they would open up the voting to their full membership over the summer. Some members of the public had thought such an important competition should have been open to everybody & had recently joined the Lepidopterists Society in expectation they would get the chance to choose between the final two. They will now be bitterly disappointed & frustrated to have wasted their money.
Lead(som)-coloured Drab, but Moth experts have been quick to point out that this is in fact a Brussels Lace & not the far duller Lead(som)-coloured Drab. Supporters of the photographer were quick to rally around their favourite photographer & rebut suggestions that a more interesting sounding Moth that had been substituted to appeal to the elderly & mainly male voters. They stated this was yet another dirty tricks campaign by their opponents who have substituted this European sounding Moth to discredit their photographer. Swanage (4 July 2010)
In another unexpected announcement today, the Lepidopterists Society said that they have a clear competition winner, despite telling everybody that they weren't going to announce the winner till September. This follows the shock announcement this lunchtime, that one of the two finalists has just announced that she would be withdrawing her photo. The photographer complained that her recent statements over the weekend has been misquoted, especially the ones where she said her photo was the best one & she should win as it will appeal to "All Moth-ers". She was highly critical of The Lepidopterists Times misspelling this as "All Mothers". This left a clear & decisive winner for the 2016 Summer Photo Competition: May Highflyer.
July Highflyer: You will have to make do with this timely July Highflyer rather than the May Highflyer: we are not allowed to publish the winning photo prior to official approval by the Queen later this week. Swanage (17 July 2010)
Tonight the Lepidopterists are celebrating the unexpected quick results & news of their 2016 Summer Photo Competition winner. A happy spokesman said "This is how to do it. We want to show clear & decisive decision making". We have announced our winner today in less than three weeks, while the Red Rose Natural History Society are still deciding whether to hold a competition or not. One journalist missed the breaking news & turned up for the press conference of the Red Rose NHS to learn that they have had just one photo of an Eagle submitted for their Summer Photo Competition so far. There has also been a lot of argument within the Red Rose NHS as to whether the clear winner of the 2015 Summer Photo Competition can reuse his winning & clearly popular photo of a Limpet.
The Drinker: A leading spokesman from the UK Insect Party are expected to complain that it is wrong for the May Highflyer photo to win as the Moth isn't leaning far enough to the right for their liking. Swanage (21 July 2010)

10 Jul 2016

1 June 16 - June Started Early

June started early with an 03:00 departure to allow us to drive on the dirt track back roads near to our chalet, about twenty kilometres SE of Kuusamo. We were hoping to find a Hazelhen on these quiet back roads, but unfortunately, we were not that lucky.
We found this great view over the lake next to the accommodation as we crossed a nearby bridge
Looking South from the same bridge
Nearby we found three male Smew on a lake which apparently breed in small numbers in the area.
Smew: Male. They were surprisingly jumpy considering they were at the back of the lake. But they gave a brief & much closer flight view as they circled on the lake
Whooper Swan: Nearby were two Whooper Swans
We also saw a few Mountain Hares. Closer to Oulu, we had seen a number of Brown Hares, but all the Hares we saw in the Kuusamo were Mountain Hares: we were far enough North for Mountain Hares to be found at low level (Kuusamo is about 260m above sea level). The adults all seemed a bit too keen to get off the road as they saw us, even when we stopped at a reasonable distance. So perhaps the suffer from being hunted at some times of the year.
Mountain Hare: Great to see this superb Mammal. Sadly, I only seen a few in the UK & none have been really close. They are still a heavily persecuted Hare wherever there are Grouse shooting interests in the UK
Mountain Hare: The black ears with the white edges, white bellies & white legs were great to see
Mountain Hare: Eventually, I saw this youngster disappear off the road & then freeze not too far in. Like the pale eye ring
We spent some hours birding in one of the Gosney's hillside sites, but it was surprising at how quiet the forests were: apart from the ever present mozzies. Frustratingly, we flushed a Hazelhen as we were walking up the main path on the hillside, but it didn't fly until after I had walked past it & the first I knew was of a shout behind me: I never saw it.
Reindeer: Youngster. Getting desperate for another Mammal to add to this post. They weren't very common. On one occasion, we saw a couple in an office car park just feeding on vegetation. An early morning youngster
Reindeer: We saw a few each day in the Kuusamo area, including this roadside party
Reindeer: Male
In the afternoon, we tried a lake on the edge of Kuusamo. The highlight of the visit was a distant breeding plumage Red-necked Grebe.
Red-necked Grebe: Nice to see it in summer plumage rather than the winter plumage I normally see at Studland. Unfortunately, it was well beyond realistic photographic range & all I could end up with was a record shot from the SX60 on a ridiculous 130x magnification, with a delayed timing to try reducing vibration on this high magnification
The mid afternoon rain set in again & make it even harder to find Bird activity. So we decided to try a layby site to the North of the Ruka ski centre, where we had a chance of seeing Siberian Jay. We ended up putting food into the empty feeders & sat it the car, hoping that some Siberian Jays would appear. At least, we managed to stay dry & catch up on some food & drinks, but no sign of the hoped for World Tick. Finally, it stopped raining & there was a chance to walk one of the hillside paths. By now it was early evening & as the Bird activity seemed to drop off in the evening, we were not surprised we didn't see that much. Time to call it a day, head back to the chalet for an early night. We had a 01:45 alarm call to get some breakfast, before heading off to Kuusamo to meet our guide for the Kuusamo guided tour the following morning.
Whooper Swan: Party of a twenty strong flock on the way back to the chalet