Grasshoppers and my fresh blood.

Sunrise: 06.20 am   Sunset: 07.57

On Friday I photographed grasshoppers on the marsh.

After 2 hours in Hoo Wood and 6 hours on the marsh, one of the highlights of my day was a blood covered face and hand: I accidentally squished a tick, or bloodsucking fly that had attached itself to my eyebrow. It’s amazing how many things a few fingers covered in fresh blood can come into contact with, like camera, lens, and various items of clothing. To the casual observer, I might have looked like an accident victim with my bloody face. A little blood spreads a long way, and attracts a whole raft of insects eager for a piece of the action; they are able to find, bite and suck on any exposed skin not treated with insect repellent. I felt some of the insects biting me, but there were others I was unaware of until I itched and swelled at home that evening. The scent of my blood had sent the insects into such frenzy that some had managed to find their way beneath my clothing, where they settled down to a good feed.

It wasn’t just the insects that caused me discomfort: nettle stings have made the tips of my finger hyper sensitive – even now, two days later, they are still humming. I assume nettles are the culprit, but I am not sure. I became aware that something was happening to my fingertips as they sifted through patches of grazed grass; there were plenty of spiders crawling about in there, too.

The reason I mention these minor forms of discomfort is not because of their severity, as they are not at all severe. No, it’s because these are unusual occurrences for me. I spend a lot of time wading through deep stands of stinging nettles that are 7 to 8 feet tall, and these cause very little discomfort as they whip and sting my face and neck. I feel the stinging of course, but the discomfort lasts no more that 10 to 15 seconds. I find the stinging sensation more an acknowledgement that I am stung, than a subject for concern.

The insects I do have a problem with because I react badly to some of their bites, but as long as I apply antihistamine cream I am able to control the swelling. Considering the amount of time I spend on the marsh and in the woods, I am rarely bothered by the clouds of biting insect that are found there.

I suppose there might be a slight feeling within me that the marsh flora and fauna had it in for me on Friday. If there is a moral to this story, it is this: “Do not underestimate nature, what it might or might not do, or how it will react.”

I will put the experience down to: “Just one of those days!”

Now I can imagine that some people will think: “What’s he going on about? It’s only a few insect bites and sucks!” It is just that, but the principle is capable of being scaled-up! Instead of a midge, a hornet! The rabbit hole might be home to a badger that is easily capable of biting the fingers from your hand. I’m sure you get my drift.

I get too close to many things that bite and sting. Too close to hornets, too close bee and wasp nests, hands down holes; that sort of thing. I should know better, but when I am behind a camera and a good photo opportunity presents itself, I am oblivious to risk. 😉

Anyway, here are a few grasshopper photographs.

IMG_573230TH AUGUST 2013

Follow My Leader.

IMG_571530TH AUGUST 2013 IMG_575930TH AUGUST 2013

10 Comments on “Grasshoppers and my fresh blood.

  1. I i9dentify with your pain, I came away from Hilly Fields in Colchester over a week ago with over a hundred insect bites. When those little vampires get going, they party.

    Great photos, and hopefully for you worth the suffering.

  2. Hence my ever present can of deet in my car. It is the only thing that works for me. We encountered 6 ticks in a couple of days last spring, and I swell up like a balloon from the silly mosquitoes. I always have scabs on my ankles during the warmer months. I guess it is why I love hiking/walking/shooting in the winter.

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