Winter is almost upon us and if you're out looking for bugs and insects you might think there's not much left to photograph. Take a closer look though and you'd be surprised what you can find...
Despite the apparent dearth of wildlife in autumn, this time of year is actually a great time to be out with the macro lens on. The parks are quiet, the colours are vibrant, and the air is crisp without being too cold. If you look closely, in undergrowth, on trees trunks, underneath what is left of the leaves on the trees, you will be amazed what you can find. The fact that insects are fewer just adds to the experience of the search and makes it even more satisfying when you uncover something of interest.
When the sun comes out, looking on illuminated surfaces such as tree trunks will often help locate insects such as flies, which are attracted to warm spots.
You probably wont find dragonflies at this time of year but the Crane Fly, close up, can make an equally interesting subject.
They can be well camouflaged against the bark of trees such as silver birch. I walk slowly around woodland keeping an eye out for anything of interest.
Even harder to spot is the Harvestman. This one seems to be missing a leg.
With their long legs and comparitively tiny bodies, the Harvestman can be difficult to photograph but you can get some interesting shots with them.
Less difficult to spot was this bright green caterpillar, standing out clearly against the tree it was climbing. This is the caterpillar of the Speckled Wood butterfly
Speckled Wood Caterpillar
Speckled Wood Caterpillar
I spotted a number of other caterpillars, mostly hairy and probably moth caterpillars.
This one appears to be a Knott grass moth caterpillar and I found several of these on the same shrub.
Although it looks like a caterpillar this tiny creature is actually a Sawfly larvae, identifiable by it's colouring and six front legs.
Near the waters edge I tracked a number of Caddis Fly travelling quickly amongst the brambles and was pleased that I managed to get a few good shots.
Bagworm moth larvae are fascinating creatures. They cut up bits of vegetation and twigs to build themselves a home, which they carry around for protection.
Bagworm moth caterpillar
There are still Shield bugs out there - you can find them hiding in amongst the remaining leaves of the trees.
Ants are fewer in number but some are still busy preparing for winter hibernation. This Myrmica ant has a red colouring.
You can still find wasps out in late October and this large male was out foraging amongst the oak trees.
All in all, a successful day out! The images here are just a selection of those I managed to get. Other finds included many much smaller insects such as green fly, various larvae and beetles and of course plenty of spiders.
October in the UK sees the return of cooler, wetter weather and is the peak time for photographing mushrooms. Whether in the parks or just the garden, there is a huge variety of funghi and here a few that I found.