I started this blog in 2008 after using a free website facility on Eircom from 2003 to 2007. The main reason for the change was to stimulate discussion: under the old format I could receive feedback and reply, but only the recipient could see that reply. The blog format enables readers to see other's comments and to reply to those, so it makes it all much more interactive.

Another reason for the switch is that Google automatically uses blog contents in its indexes, so it makes Blogger text and images much more findable on Google's search facility. It also means that my main indexing system for my images is Google, rather than anything on the PC: if I want to find when I photographed a species I can search my blog posts with Google, and, of course this works from any computer on the planet, so I don't have to carry my disks around with me.

Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question or just join the debate.


laurie mcgee said...

You are doing a great service to wildkind and humankind alike! Thanks Stuart.

Lynne Gillespie said...

Fabulous blog, loved looking through it. Will now be a regular visitor, fabulous!

stuart dunlop said...

Welcome one and all! I thought you already knew about it Lynne....

Anonymous said...

Superb website. I came across the early pages whilst looking up the differences between buttercup, cinquefoil and tormentil and got sidetracked into looking at other stuff on your pages as it was interestingly presented. I was amused to read how the idea got started; I have just got a digital camera and am doing much the same thing in my local area (North Downs, Surrey - chalk grassland)
I carried on reading, and eventually found the links to these recent blogs. Wow - I am both impressed and somewhat 'scared' as to how a fairly low-level personal/interest/hobby project, and to see the levels of detail you've gone to as you've delved deeper. I can see myself doing much the same thing.
I've bookmarked this page and will undoubtedly return as you've a great catalogue here. I've posted this as an anonymous post as I don't use a Google account or similar, my name is Andy Belcher.

stuart dunlop said...

Andy, welcome to the blog! Things have certainly moved on since I started in 2003. I do a lot of background research, finding out about how things live, what they do, and how they interact with each other and with the environment. I'm currently reading about (amongst other things) survival strategies used by parasitoid larvae and pupae. It's a tough place, living inside a caterpillar because there are hyperparasites looking just for you and they have a big target: the larva you're living inside. So there are many different strategies used to fool the hyperparasites: some larvae allow the host to survive and wander off after they have made their exit. The ex-host then acts as a decoy. Or some larvae cause the host to arch its back and they pupate underneath it where the hyperparasites find them more difficult to reach. Some parasitoid eggs even clone into various different types of larvae, some of which have the sole purpose of fighting any other parasitoid larvae that might appear on the scene. All fascinating stuff.

And yes, it's addictive....;)

Anonymous said...

Hello Stuart,

I followed a link to your blog (a link from Damian McFerran, regarding your course (20th Sept,at Cultra). It's a course I would LOVE to attend but sadly, cannot get to.

Your blog is fascinating and very informative. Really interesting stuff! Thank you.

I am very impressed by your photographs. At the moment, I have only got a bridge camera (but I'm saving up for a proper DSLR - with a good lens).

Your course, would have been a great help to me as I still cannot decide which camera and lens I should buy, to enable me to take much better macro shots. It looks like you're very happy with the Canon 70d. I might look into that one.

I will bookmark your blog and continue to follow your exploits. Thank you SO much for posting all the information and wonderful pictures.

Good luck with the course. I hope you have a huge attendance.

Best wishes,

Monica Coll

stuart dunlop said...

Welcome to the blog, Monica. I used a bridge camera, a Fuji s7000, for about 3 years and I was quite happy with the results. It was certainly good preparation for the SLR with a macro lens. Yes, I'm very happy with the 70D and would recommend it unreservedly. If your barrier to going on the course is transport, I'm sure something could be arranged. Let me know on cipeen at hotmail.com if you'd like me to look into this. I know quite a few of the people who will be on the course, and it's going to be a cracker of a day.

Monica Coll said...

Hello again, Stuart,

Thank you so much, for your kind offer of helping me find a way to get to your course next Saturday. I found out I can get a bus - at 6.30 am - which should get me there on time. I have booked my place on the course and I'm really looking forward to meeting you.

Are there any websites you would recommend, where I could learn a bit about leaf-mining moths?

Your photo - of the Hawthorn Shieldbug Nymph - is just stunning. I know nothing of Photoshop, picture-cropping (or anything else,for that matter), so I need to go on a rapid - and very steep - learning curve.

See you on Saturday.

Best wishes,


stuart dunlop said...

Monica, it's great that you've booked on the course. See you there.
The best site for UK miners is http://www.leafmines.co.uk/index.htm
My own list is at www.donegalwildlife.altervista.org/leaf-miners.htm
As well as micromoths, we have sawflies, beetles, flies and hoverflies that make mines. I think they're fascinating, and I manage to add a few new species to my list each year.

Monica Coll said...

Hello Stuart,

Yet again - your photographs are fabulous - particularly the harvestman.

The leaf-miner website you referred me to, is really great - thank you.

Monica Coll