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5 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

Sounds like Mizbrown is saying that they are hiding Covid deaths, in Central America, in order to reopen the economy sooner.  I have not heard that U.S. hospitals are inflating the numbers for any reason.  I would be astonished to learn that the hospital where my daughter works is fudging the numbers.  There is a lot at stake to keep accurate data so we understand this novel coronavirus the best we can.  

 

Nicaragua simply can't shut down its economy.  Too many people work in the informal economy and earn money day by day.  What Nicaraguans are doing and were doing even before the Vice President Witch shut up is and was wearing masks and washing their hands, and socially isolating if they can afford to (my landlord is a doctor who told me when it hit Jinotega, he'd go up to his finca, which probably is self-supporting or close to it).   The street vendors who stop at my house are all wearing masks now and one even carries hand sanitizer. 

 

Hard call, but everyone is doing what they can.  The health department had a push after the first cases here to get as many people as possible vaccinated for the predicted seasonal flu and for pneumonia for those over 50.  

 

Only two places are highly dependent on tourism.  Neither are reporting a lot of cases.  The rest of Nicaragua has some tourism, but it's not all of the economy in my area and even less in places like Corinto and Chinandega.  Nicaragua raises about 80% of its food, and can probably go higher. 

 

Costa Rica is much more dependent on tourism, but they've just announced another shutdown of San Jose.   Honduras appears to be a basket case, and its president came down with the virus.  People in Honduras are fleeing over to Guatemala, which isn't that much better off. 

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4 hours ago, MizBrown said:

 

Nicaragua simply can't shut down its economy.  Too many people work in the informal economy and earn money day by day.  What Nicaraguans are doing and were doing even before the Vice President Witch shut up is and was wearing masks and washing their hands, and socially isolating if they can afford to (my landlord is a doctor who told me when it hit Jinotega, he'd go up to his finca, which probably is self-supporting or close to it).   The street vendors who stop at my house are all wearing masks now and one even carries hand sanitizer. 

 

Hard call, but everyone is doing what they can.  The health department had a push after the first cases here to get as many people as possible vaccinated for the predicted seasonal flu and for pneumonia for those over 50.  

 

Only two places are highly dependent on tourism.  Neither are reporting a lot of cases.  The rest of Nicaragua has some tourism, but it's not all of the economy in my area and even less in places like Corinto and Chinandega.  Nicaragua raises about 80% of its food, and can probably go higher. 

 

Costa Rica is much more dependent on tourism, but they've just announced another shutdown of San Jose.   Honduras appears to be a basket case, and its president came down with the virus.  People in Honduras are fleeing over to Guatemala, which isn't that much better off. 

I'm very concerned for you or anyone in the Americas south of the 49th. 

The other day OH had a college supervision Zoom meeting with a Floridian student who is back home and she, the Floridian, sounded, if not actually scared, at least very apprehensive because she feels she cannot rely on her leaders or even her healthcare system to protect her. Truly terrifying.

Please be as careful as you can.

Edited by spacecadet
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3 hours ago, spacecadet said:

I'm very concerned for you or anyone in the Americas south of the 49th. 

The other day OH had a college supervision Zoom meeting with a Floridian student who is back home and she, the Floridian, sounded, if not actually scared, at least very apprehensive because she feels she cannot rely on her leaders or even her healthcare system to protect her. Truly terrifying.

Please be as careful as you can.

 

If the local hospital is keeping someone alive on a vent who was expected to die, either he's a mean cuss who won't die for anyone on schedule, or the local hospital is doing a decent enough job of it.   I've seen videos posted of recovered patients being cheered by nurses and staff as they left various hospitals.   My British friend and I have been horrified by the hostility to masking that we've been reading about in the US.   Some of the younger people don't wear masks on the street, but don't fuss about putting on a  mask to go in a bank or store. 

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As this thread is in danger of getting political again, I'll post a couple of recent butterfly photos of mine. The first one is a purple emperor:

 

purple-emperor-butterfly-apatura-iris-puddling-on-a-wet-track-to-extract-minerals-in-late-june-uk-2C4CXKJ.jpg

 

This one is a dark green fritillary butterfly:

 

dark-green-fritillary-butterfly-speyeria-aglaja-uk-2C2RCJW.jpg

 

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On 11/07/2020 at 00:04, gvallee said:

a glass of wine in one hand, remote shutter release in the other hand.

Have you got your priorities right or what!

Edited by spacecadet
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55 minutes ago, VbFolly said:

As this thread is in danger of getting political again, I'll post a couple of recent butterfly photos of mine. The first one is a purple emperor:

 

purple-emperor-butterfly-apatura-iris-puddling-on-a-wet-track-to-extract-minerals-in-late-june-uk-2C4CXKJ.jpg

 

This one is a dark green fritillary butterfly:

 

dark-green-fritillary-butterfly-speyeria-aglaja-uk-2C2RCJW.jpg

 

These are beautiful. My flowers are now attracting butterflies. I’m hoping the monarchs find my butterfly weed to lay eggs on.

 

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3 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

These are beautiful. My flowers are now attracting butterflies. I’m hoping the monarchs find my butterfly weed to lay eggs on.

 

Thanks, Betty. I've never seen monarchs, but would love to. It's amazing how far they migrate. I hope you get lucky and have some laying eggs on your plants.

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4 hours ago, VbFolly said:

Thanks, Betty. I've never seen monarchs, but would love to. It's amazing how far they migrate. I hope you get lucky and have some laying eggs on your plants.

I’m surprised someone hasn’t given them a start in the UK. Must be the climate, since ours fly over land to Mexico when the weather  turns to autumn.  Maybe there’s not a “highway” to warm weather in your part of the world. There are definite migratory paths they use here. I do know y’all have a butterfly that looks like our “Painted Lady”. They have to be kin.

 

G5M29H.jpg
B4HA41.jpg

Edited by Betty LaRue
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Some more  butterflies:

 

H802M3.jpg

 

Zebra Longwing -- range from Florida through at least Central America, on zinnia in the back yard of my first rental in Jinotega. 

 

 

 

RT6M38.jpg

 

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) on a thistle blossom, Shenandoah National Park (Skyline Drive), Virginia, US

 

HGX6KJ.jpg

 

And a Monarch Butterly (Danaus plexippus) on  Milkweed flowers in Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, Virginia, US.  Wing is a bit dinged.  My experience with them in the East Coast was that they used updrafts from winds from the flatland hitting the Blue Ridge and used that the same way hang gliders did to get lift.  The other place I saw them was in coast California. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MizBrown
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Our painted lady butterflies migrate from North Africa all across Europe and into the UK, though I think this can take more than one generation. Your photos of painted ladies in the US do look very similar to ours, Betty. Monarchs are a very rare migrant to the UK, but have not become established here for some reason.

Lovely photos, Miz Brown. We don't have any species like your zebra longwing here. You're lucky to see those in your backyard!

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On 04/07/2020 at 12:24, Sally R said:

 

Well done for achieving this beautiful shot Alan, despite mosquitoes! It does indeed look like the kingfisher is perched on a fishing rod. I've read of some wildlife photographers spending hours partially submerged in lakes to get a low angle photo of a water bird.

 

There is a bird photographer here in Australia, Duade Paton, who has started posting his bird photography tips online. In case it is of interest, this is the page with his images:

https://www.photos.duadepaton.com/

 

...and this is a page with his photography tips:

https://www.duadepaton.com/

 

I've only watched one of his videos so far which is this one which I thought of looking at your kingfisher on a stick:

https://www.duadepaton.com/bird-photography-using-water-to-attract-birds-in-the-field-vlog-1/

Thanks for the links Sally! Duade's bird photography is so beautiful, watching the slide shows full screen on the computer is amazing. I love the pink robin, I had no idea there was such a bird.

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13 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

I’m surprised someone hasn’t given them a start in the UK. Must be the climate, since ours fly over land to Mexico when the weather  turns to autumn.  Maybe there’s not a “highway” to warm weather in your part of the world. There are definite migratory paths they use here. I do know y’all have a butterfly that looks like our “Painted Lady”. They have to be kin.

 

In early fall the Monarchs pause on the north shore of Lake Ontario, where I live, before flying south across the 80 KL wide lake towards their wintering ground in Mexico.

They are easy to shoot and I have so many of them, that I have made a note to self to stop shooting Monarchs.

 

In a case of Müllerian Mimicry the Viceroy (top) closely resembles the Monarch (bottom).

 

I find that making a point, with two images in a single image, has more sales potential.
 

 

 

the-viceroy-butterfly-top-image-resemble

Edited by Bill Brooks
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6 hours ago, VbFolly said:

Monarchs are a very rare migrant to the UK, but have not become established here for some reason.

There are no native milkweeds (Asclepias sp) in the UK, so no food plants for the caterpillars.  There are a few garden varieties but they're not that commonly grown so the few transatlantic migrants or butterfly farm escapees never get established.

Edited by John Richmond
typo
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1 hour ago, John Richmond said:

There are no native milkweeds (Asclepias sp) in the UK, so no food plants for the caterpillars.  There are a few garden varieties but they're not that commonly grown so the few transatlantic migrants or butterfly farm escapees never get established.

Thanks for the explanation, John. I had not looked up the larval foodplant.

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I got two frames of this chap as he moved a lot slower than the bees, and the other one was closer, but one should always choose the lesser of two weevils..........

It probably isn't one, but before I get my coat, could John please identify it? On a nettle-leaved bellflower.

DSC05235.jpg

Edited by spacecadet
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2 hours ago, spacecadet said:

I got two frames of this chap as he moved a lot slower than the bees, and the other one was closer, but one should always choose the lesser of two weevils..........

It probably isn't one, but before I get my coat, could John please identify it? On a nettle-leaved bellflower.

DSC05235.jpg

I'm not that good with beetles but that one I can help with as I took some shots of one in my own garden a month ago. It's a darkling beetle, Lagria hirta, the only hairy one.  Here's a view of it taken when it allowed me to photograph it on white paper in the garden before I put it back on the hydrangea it was roosting on.  It's nice to have a cooperative model 😀

 

Close up of the small, hairy, bronze UK darkling beetle, Lagria hirta, on a white background Stock Photo

 

 

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5 hours ago, John Richmond said:

There are no native milkweeds (Asclepias sp) in the UK, so no food plants for the caterpillars.  There are a few garden varieties but they're not that commonly grown so the few transatlantic migrants or butterfly farm escapees never get established.

Why didn’t I think of that? Lots of native milkweed in the U.S., and I planted 5 of them in my garden. Plus two Joe Pye weed plants for all butterflies to nectar on. The Joe Pye attracts swallowtails. They are not blooming, yet. 😒

People do take Monarchs’ survival seriously here.
Betty

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6 hours ago, Bill Brooks said:

 

In early fall the Monarchs pause on the north shore of Lake Ontario, where I live, before flying south across the 80 KL wide lake towards their wintering ground in Mexico.

They are easy to shoot and I have so many of them, that I have made a note to self to stop shooting Monarchs.

 

In a case of Müllerian Mimicry the Viceroy (top) closely resembles the Monarch (bottom).

 

I find that making a point, with two images in a single image, has more sales potential.
 

 

 

the-viceroy-butterfly-top-image-resemble

At first glance, they do look remarkably similar. I think Monarchs taste nasty to birds, so some butterflies try to skate by on their coattails.

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13 hours ago, Sally R said:

 

You're welcome Bella. Yes Duade does a really good job of getting a really nice shallow depth of field so that all the attention is on the bird without distractions. I am trying to practice getting down lower to attain this nice depth of field. Lying on the ground seems to produce the best effect for birds that are also on the ground or on water. I think I will be taking a blanket down to a local lake soon to try this out. I've taken quite a few shots sitting down but not lying down for birds.

 

I was lucky to see a pink robin in Tasmania 6 years ago. I was actually doing landscape shots at the Tyenna River near Russell Falls. As there was reduced light in the rainforest I had the shutter open for periods of about 20-30 seconds. During one such exposure a pink robin appeared and danced all about in the camera frame. However, with the long exposure the quick moving robin doesn't appear at all. Also, with the wide angle lens he would have been tiny in the frame anyway. So I just enjoyed watching him flitting about, seeming to be observing me as much as I was observing him (I knew he was a male because of his pink colouring). I was really happy to see one as it was one of the things I was really hoping to do.

 

How lucky to have caught one! All these bird and butterfly pics are inspiring and I feel like getting out there, I usually just shoot my local birds  from my back deck :)

 

 

On 11/07/2020 at 17:35, gvallee said:

Only during courtship does the Great Bowerbird (Chlamydera nuchalis) stands with its crest erect. When the crest lies flat, it is not even noticed, being the same grey colour as the rest of his feathers. In this case, I think he was just practising. He was part of a group of 7 bowerbirds around us, the others looking like juveniles and females. This particular individual would display on top of the termite mound, jump down, pick up a stick and do his silly mating dance with wings drooping.

 

2C6CMFY.jpg

 

 

 

I thought that was such a good idea to put the seed in the top of the mound! I will have to remember that. I'm obviously not a serious birder as I didn't know about the the bowerbird's colourful crest, it's so pretty. We have a few local ones here that come for our seed. I should pay more attention.

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As far as mosquitoes go while shooting birds... just put me out in the field for thirty minutes. Then fog me with insect killer. You’ll not get bitten for a few hours. Of course, I might not survive, either. You probably wouldn’t need to fog me. Just plant me nearby and they would be so busy feeding on me you’d be safe. That’s what my sister always said, anyway. I was her personal protector from bites.
 

Weird thing...when we played outside at dusk, when the bloodsuckers came out, my mother used to spray us 3 girls down with Real Kill. It killed flies, roaches, just about any insect. It wasn’t meant to be used on humans, but nobody knew it was harmful at the time. The jingle for it was “Mama get Real Kill”, a silly commercial.

I’ve often wondered if that, and the doses of melted Vicks VaporRub (Mentholated product) I was given, used like cough syrup, (says on the jar not to be taken internally) contributed to my breast cancer. I was always sick with terrible chest colds, bronchitis and pneumonia as a child, so I must have swallowed untold number of jars of melted Vick’s from a hot spoon held over the stove. She also put plasters of it on my chest, the cloth pinned to my nightgown. 

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14 hours ago, John Richmond said:

I'm not that good with beetles but that one I can help with as I took some shots of one in my own garden a month ago. It's a darkling beetle, Lagria hirta, the only hairy one.  Here's a view of it taken when it allowed me to photograph it on white paper in the garden before I put it back on the hydrangea it was roosting on.  It's nice to have a cooperative model 😀

 

Close up of the small, hairy, bronze UK darkling beetle, Lagria hirta, on a white background Stock Photo

 

 

I didn't think of moving it!

Thanks, John. I'm tempted by a Minolta 100mm. macro now, using the bellows is a bit slow and the focus on the process lens goes AWOL below about f11. There seem to be plenty in Japan, but £130 is £130 and it will never pay for itself.

BTW is that focus stacked or straight? Mine was static enough. Wonder if he's still there.

Edited by spacecadet
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19 hours ago, Sally R said:

 

I love your blue-faced honeyeater Gen. After our various descriptions above about being bitten by mosquitoes and other insects while trying to photograph birds, your glass of wine in one hand and remote in the other sounds idyllic and much more relaxing! I think I will try that one day 🙂

 

Thanks again Sally. I could have invented any story, but it's not my style. Here how I did it. Hope this link works. You might have to click on Proceed to Site.

 

https://tinyurl.com/ybfs85nm

 

 

Edited by gvallee
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4 hours ago, spacecadet said:

I didn't think of moving it!

Thanks, John. I'm tempted by a Minolta 100mm. macro now, using the bellows is a bit slow and the focus on the process lens goes AWOL below about f11. There seem to be plenty in Japan, but £130 is £130 and it will never pay for itself.

BTW is that focus stacked or straight? Mine was static enough. Wonder if he's still there.

A macro lens is the one lens I can always justify because of my plant and garden specialisation.  For me my 4 (Canon 50mm, Tamron 90mm, Sigma 180mm f3.5 for my Canon system and Olympus 60mm for the M43 gear - all bought used to keep the cost down) are essential for my plant portrait shots and general nature use.  They've earned their keep many times over.  Of course, if macro and close up work isn't a speciality it's a lot harder to justify the expense.

 

The beetle was just a straight shot, no focus stacking.  I don't like chilling or killing my subjects so the chances of getting 2 or more shots that align for stacking becomes extremely difficult.  It's usually the antennae that cause the problems.

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1 hour ago, John Richmond said:

A macro lens is the one lens I can always justify because of my plant and garden specialisation.  For me my 4 (Canon 50mm, Tamron 90mm, Sigma 180mm f3.5 for my Canon system and Olympus 60mm for the M43 gear - all bought used to keep the cost down) are essential for my plant portrait shots and general nature use.  They've earned their keep many times over.  Of course, if macro and close up work isn't a speciality it's a lot harder to justify the expense.

 

The beetle was just a straight shot, no focus stacking.  I don't like chilling or killing my subjects so the chances of getting 2 or more shots that align for stacking becomes extremely difficult.  It's usually the antennae that cause the problems.

Well the Tamron is out of my league and quite a bit used but I hear good things about the old Minolta 100. Meanwhile I've just hacksawed and chiselled (don't ask) myself a 150 from the same stable as the 100. Quite a good lens looking at the chart. Working distance is a bit far though.

Haven't seen the darkling beetle again yet. I wouldn't dream of doing anything unpleasant to an insect.

Ooh. Just seen a 90 for about £120. Perhaps it's time to show it to someone special as it is my birthday soon. From Japan though.

Edited by spacecadet
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