Sunday, 16 June 2013

There is a silver lining to every cloud!

  Whilst Saturday did not look the best of days to go butterflying, we decided to take a chance with the weather and venture out of county! Our first stop of the day was to Branscombe in Devon and for a walk along the cliffs to look for Wood White. It was raining when we arrived but we could see some breaks in the cloud so when the rain stopped we started our walk! Something tells you that when you have to put your raincoat on to go for a walk you are probably not likely to see any butterflies!

  It was a lovely walk along the coast path and we soon found ourselves in the woodland growing below the cliffs next to the beach. The sea was crashing in and there was a view of the coast towards Sidmouth.  

  Returning to the car, something white caught John's eye and he discovered a Wood White roosting in the grass right next to the coast path! This delicate little butterfly is quite unusual in its appearance, its antennae are bent over at the end and when at rest its body is completely hidden by its wings.

  John then found another Wood White on the other side of the path hiding underneath a leaf in the grass. The photograph below shows the second butterfly.

  Our next visit was to Cerne Abbas, with a stop at the Cerne Giant viewpoint! We had a walk along the hillside but it was quite windy and any butterflies we saw flew quickly by! We found several species, Marsh Fritillary, Grizzled and Dingy Skipper, Common Blue, Small Heath and Brown Argus.

  Our final destination of the day was Martin Down Nature Reserve. On went the raincoat again as we walked across the reserve! We met a group of people coming back from a walk and they told us that they had just been looking at the Burnt Tip Orchids. They kindly told us where to find them, and we counted 19 flower spikes of this lovely orchid.

  Our last butterfly of the day was this male Adonis Blue. He spent most of his time with his wings shut, but briefly showed his beautiful bright blue wings when the sun shone through a break in the clouds.

  And finally, I photography this growing thistle flower as I liked the symmetry of the flower head.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Heath Fritillary at Greenscoombe Wood, Luckett

  On Sunday John and I decided to take a trip to see the Heath Fritllaries at Greenscombe Wood, Luckett. 

  We saw about 35 to 40 Heath Fritillaries. Some were just emerging, their wings still curved and not fully expanded.

  Being a sunny and hot day the butterflies were very active making it difficult to take photographs of them, but to be surrounded by these lovely butterflies more than made up for the lack of photos. Sometimes I think it is just better to stand back and enjoy the spectacle of what you are seeing rather than trying to get a photograph.

  We found a mating pair sitting on some bracken. The female seemed to be attracting several males and while they were mating other male butterflies were landing near them and on them trying to muscle in on the female! At one point there was the mating pair plus another two males. Eventually the males gave in and left the happy couple in peace!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Marsh Fritillaries near Mullion Cove, Lizard.

  On Sunday John and I decided to visit the cliffs near Mullion Cove, on the Lizard to look for the Marsh Fritillaries that are known to be in the area.

  It was a beautiful day for a walk along the cliffs and there were lots of flowers to look at along the way. ( There will be another post showing the flowers that we saw.) 

  There were many Common Blue butterflies together with Wall Brown's and a Small Copper. We eventually found one Marsh Fritillary resting on a Thrift flower head. Clouds hid the sun for a while, so as the temperature had dropped slightly the butterfly was happy sitting still on the flower. Perfect for a photo!

  As we walked a little further along the cliff, the sun came out and the temperature started to rise and all of a sudden we were surrounding by many Marsh Fritillaries flying over the cliffs. There must have been over forty individuals. The next two photographs are of male butterflies.

  I then found a pair of mating fritillaries slightly hidden in the grass. We noticed that the female was an aberrant form. These are very rare in small colonies like this one.

  The male also had slightly different markings and was quite a dark in appearance. The next photograph shows a close up of his head - this is one of things that I like about macro photography is that you see things that you would not normally see, for example the dark markings on his eyes and the fur on his face. 

  The final photograph shows a close up on the underneath of the hindwing and with the macro lens it is possible to see the individual scales that make up the pattern on the butterfly's wing.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Cuckoos, Damselflies and Sundews

  A visit to Bodmin Moor this morning produced some of the best views of Cuckoos that I have ever had. We had at least four individuals which showed very well. There were at least two females and we were treated to their strange bubbling call.

  Most of the time they would sit up on either prominent rocks or the tops of the Hawthorn trees. We also watched them fly down to the ground to catch caterpillars.

  The two photographs I have shown below have been cropped as the Cuckoos were always some way away from us, and the flight shot was captured as it the Cuckoo flew from the rocks to catch a caterpillar.

  On the way home we paid a quick visit to Breney Common nature reserve but it was a little quiet on the butterfly front. We did see a lot of Large Red Damselflies and found this particular individual enjoying an afternoon snack!

In another part of the reserve we found some Sundews.