Buggin with Bridgey – May 2022

Buggin with Bridgey is a Monthly report of sightings from the Let’s Go Buggin Cairns Nature Tour in the Cairns Botanic Gardens.  As the months roll by, subtle changes in the seasons bring sightings of new creatures and this report aims to give people a wrap up of the current animals seen as well as provide an ongoing citizen science account of our wonderful critters that can be seen in the tropical north of Queensland.

Pink in Macro Photograpy

Mandy the Mantis on a pink flower with blue sky background

May has been having an exciting month in the Cairns Botanic Gardens and also in my backyard.  A new season is on the horizon and the first of this seasons dominant predators are on the scene.  My backyard has been a bug-hub of activity, especially on pink flowers… so I’ve been getting in-the-pink, and doing heaps of ‘backyard-buggin’ and immersing myself into pink macro photography.

This epic food chain starts with native bees.  I happily rescued probably 200 native bee individuals from the pool during the heatwave in March. Several times a day I would cool off in the pool and notice that there were native bees floating on the surface of the water. I gently walked around the pool dipping my finger into the water and gently scooping up an individual and allowing them to dry on my hands. The bees would flicker their wings removing the pool water and then eventually fly off. The whole process took perhaps a minute. It was an absolutely gorgeous way to cool down. Seeing sometimes 20 or 30 these coming back to life on my hands as I’m gently walking through the pool cooling off.  Seeing them fly off back to live their lives was really a beautiful cathartic experience. Truly getting back to nature.

But anyway let’s get back to the backyard buggin photography shall we?! So first of all, I have to start with Mandy the Mantis. Mandy is a Garden Mantis (Orthodera ministralis).  I first noticed Mandy and immediately grabbed my camera. She was a young adult perhaps only four centimetres in length.   Our first meeting was our main photoshoot.  When a Mantis is posing for you it’s… click…click… click… and soon you’ve got over Fifty shots.  So I just kept shooting til she settled back into her stalking pose.  Within one minute after our photoshoot, she caught a housefly.  After being such a great model she was very deserving of some good bug-karma.

First photoshoot with Mandy the Mantis (Garden Mantis – Orthodera ministralis)

Praying mantis really are fantastic models.  If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while now, you will know that this isn’t the first time that I have praised mantises.  Even my hero image on a lot of my promotional material is the shot called ‘Mantis in the Rain’.  They just seem to be able to give you certain poses which invoke conscious thoughts.  They look directly into the lens as if it’s another lifeform. For any of you who have been scuba diving and have had an encounter with a cuttlefish it’s quite similar.  You really get the sense that there is definitely some intelligence there. You can see their minds ticking over.  It’s a seriously cool interactions with another animal that isn’t even in the same Phylum!

Mandy gave me many opportunities in different scenes to photograph her over a number of days here is just a small collection of some of the images I got off her.

Second photoshoot with Mandy the Mantis (Garden Mantis – Orthodera ministralis)

The Cairns Botanic Gardens hosts a number of pink flowers at this time every year. I’m able to find pink Katydids hiding amongst the blooms and blossoms. A number of different species inhabit these flowers due to their ability to disappear amongst the pink structures.  Many of the juvenile Katydids have pinks and yellows on their bodies and thus are almost invisible in amongst the petals. Here is just a small collection of some of the individuals I’ve seen in the last month in the Cairns Botanic Gardens during Let’s Go Buggin tours.

Various Katydid species in the Cairns Botanic Gardens

There’s also been a myriad of different bugs butterflies and spiders hanging out on these pink flowers from assassin bugs to crab spiders and butterflies here is a small collection of some of the better images I’ve taken in the backyard over the last month.

One afternoon while feeling creative I got out my Disco Bug theme materials and decided to try out some flower photography using the same technique.  He’s one of the better ones.      What do you think?  For those who don’t know, I created a whole aesthetic with this theme in my Disco Bugs Series.  Read about it here.

Pink Macro Photography Flower Disco themed aesthetic

Next Blog end of June.

Bridgette uses Olympus OMD EM1 ii, 60mm M.Zuiko lens.