Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Colours of Autumn ......

Its that time of year again when the trees show their best colours... But with all the bad weather we have had its a case of picking your moments to take a few chance shots of colour before the wind takes its toll ....

Sunday, 18 October 2015


Just trying out my macro lens with a couple of Leaf cutting Ants.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Butterfly Year 2015 Part Two

The next trip was down into Gloucestershire to a wonderful sounding place called Strawberry Banks for the brightest of all our Fritillaries the Marsh Fritillary. They can live in large colonies usually occupying only a few acres, and are a very short lived species with males only living four days .
Northern Brown Argus a close relative of the Brown Argus only occurs in Scotland and the north of England. We visited Arnside Knott in Cumbria for this species , we found very few on our visit but still wonderful to catch up with.
Orange-tip can be found everywhere and can be one of the earlier species to emerge apart from the Peacock. It always proves a challenge to get a reasonable image but this time Iam pleased with this one. Painted Lady is one of our migrant species and some years can see good numbers especially around coastal areas. One or two do filter inland and we are usualy lucky to get a few sightings in our wood.
This Pearl bordered Fritillary was photographed at a site in North Wales they seem to frequent open sunny clearings along rides and tracks in woodland aswell as bracken covered scrubby hillside. A wonderfull coloured jewel and always a pleasure to photograph.
The one every one wants the majestic Purple Emperor a large elusive woodland butterfly which spends most of their lives high up in the tree canopies. Myself and Trace visited Fermyn Woods in Northamptonshire one of their favourite locations to photograph this stunning insect. The trick is to get both wings purple oh well just have to go back again.
Possibly our most well known butterfly the Red Admiral wonderfull blacks on orange with slashes of white. Simlpy a joy to watch and even more satisfying if you can get a reasonable image in the right light.
Ringlets not one of our most colourful butterflies but freshly emerged individuals have a very beautiful dark appearance fringed in white with gold rimmed , black eyes with white centres on the underside of their wings.
Scotch Argus a lovely orange-marked brown butterfly which only occurs in northern England and in Scotland. It can only be found at two sites in England so we visited Arnside Knott to find and photograph this rare species.
The Silver-washed Fritillary is a very fast flying butterfly and I have never been in the right place at the right time with this species . This individual was briefly resting at Fermyn Woods in Northamptonshire , always to distant and extremely fast defiantly next years challenge.
Silver-spotted Skipper what an amazing little butterfly fast and elusive as we visited Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire . This is a rare butterfly which is only located on a limited number of south-facing chalky grassland sites in southern England.
Our smallest british butterfly the Small Blue was captured at Prestbury Hill Gloucestershire where good numbers were found .
Small Copper a real favourite of mine such a delicate little thing. Not very many seen this year hope they are not declining . We seem to have lost our colony in our wood with only a few located this year in an adjacent farm field.
As above the Small Heath also seems to be declining in our area with very few seen this year.
Small Skippers were seen in good numbers at most locations visited and we also have our own small colony in the wood. A very fast flying butterfly but they always seem to be quite approachable when it comes to photographing them.
Small Tortoiseshell butterflies seem to be everywhere you go found in parks , gardens and woodland . Again always a challenge to photograph well .
If you want the best then here it is a British Swallowtail rare, large , majestic and colourful what more could you want . If you want quality then go down to the Norfolk Broads during June and enjoy what has to be our best British Insect.
The Wall a very localised butterfly but go to the right place and you will find plenty . This individual was photographed at a nature reserve in Norfolk , but one of the best places I have found to see them is on the Great Orme in North Wales.
And last for 2015 is the White Admiral another localised woodland species. This one was photographed in Northamptonshire while looking for Purple Emperors. Hope you have enjoyed mine and Tracey,s adventures with Butterflies during 2015 , plenty more to go at for next year which means traveling further afield but we are looking forward to the challenge. Bring it on !!!!!!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A Day Out In Stratford .....

Last week saw me another year older so we booked a few days off and Steve treated me to a day at Stratford ... We had read up on the butterfly farm there and how at any one time there was over fifty different species flying from countries such as Malaysia,Singapore and Thailand ... It took two and a half hours to get there and six pound fifty to get in but it is time and money well spent ... We arrived early to miss the traffic which gave us time to take Jess for a stroll along the river first.. So armed with my new lens Steve got me for my birthday the day began...
At ten o clock the butterfly farm opened but once inside the humidity is so that your cameras take about half an hour to demist... You can only imagine how frustrating it is to have all these amazing butterflies around you and can only look at them till the mist clears...
Not only were the butterflies amazing colours so were the birds...
A tropical house means tropical flowers..
For anyone who loves butterflies this place is a must and I don't think it will be too long before we visit again...

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Butterfly Year 2015 Part One.

We had a good year finding and photographing butterflies out of the 58 British species , 46 were seen and 37 were photographed. Next year will be a big effort as we are going to see how close we can get to the full house. Below is a small story of our year with these stunning insects , In alphabetical order we start with Brimstone where good numbers were seen at most locations visited .
We visited Grafton Wood in Worcestershire for Brown Hairstreak as they were showing well mid-week but unfortunately by the weekend the weather was against us and we only found one individual which was slightly damaged.
Chalkhill Blues proved much better at Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire although the wind was against us we saw plenty on the wing all in stunning condition . Myself and Trace just can not wait until next year for another go at these superb butterflies hopefully in calmer weather.
Good numbers of Comma were seen this year with plenty in our wood.
Very few Common Blue were seen this year with only this female photographed , the highlight being this was the first female recorded in our wood.
Dark Green Fritillary were not searched for this year as we have a small colony close by which we visited towards the end of their flight period. We did come across other individuals throught our travels.
Dingy Skipper was located at a site in North Wales and were not seen elsewhere , we went to a site where we had them last year in Derbyshire but did not find any.
Duke of Burgundy was one I really wanted to photograph so a trip to Prestbury Hill in Gloucestershire was on the cards and it did not disappoint with many individuals seen.
Essex Slipper can only be positively identified by the black tips to its antennae so we went to a reliable site at Twywell in Northamptonshire where good numbers were found flying along side its cousin the Large Skipper.
Gatekeeper's were in good numbers at all locations visited .
Grayling were noted at a couple of locations but the one below was photographed on the Great Orme.
Green Hairstreak has been lost from our wood so its always nice when we see them elsewhere , they were found at several locations we visited this year but always in small numbers.
Green Veined White must be one of our commonest butterflies especially in our wood with good numbers seen daily.
Grizzled Skipper was another one on my list to get a reasonable photo so we visited a site in North Wales where several were found all in tip top condition.
We visited Arnside Knott in Cumbria to find High Brown Fritillary which is becoming increasingly rare. Four individuals were found but they proved a challenge to photograph.
Large Heath can be found quite easily at Wixall Moss in Shropshire but getting a clean shot is not quite as easy.
The Large Skipper is the commonest of the Skipper family this nice shot was obtained at Wixall Moss while searching for Large Heath's.
Marbled Whites have always been a favourite of mine but never managed to get a reasonable image so we visited Twywell in Northamptonshire where they were in abundance so cutting the odds we really couldn't fail.