Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Emergance day ,Silver Studds at Prees Heath june 29th 2015


Today I'm going into Shropshire to Prees Heath to hopefully shoot the Silver Studded Blues emerging with the ants, like i do every year. Its truly fascinating to watch this amazing co dependance between the butterflies and the ants :)
Arriving a bit late at about 8 am , but i know the best emergence time is usually between 10 and 12 o'clock,  it is later in the month than i normally visit but it has been a bit cool so hopefully I'm not to late!

I am walking down the main path through the trees to the best area to find them emerging, in the very short bell heather , i soon find a motionless female which is quite strange as usually there are loads of males looking for the females and they are the ones to be seen first.   it is quite cloudy but warm and so far i have not seen any flying.





Suddenly as i am lying on the ground shooting the female above, a Small Heath flys past and lands quite close ,  i shuffle a few feet and manage this shot before it takes of :D





I have now found yet another female perched on the heather flowers :)     beautiful strong silvery blue studd markings on this one :)




This is the area they should be emerging in, the very low heather in the middle left area in this image,  this is where the ants nest and the butterfly's will crawl out of the nest along with the ants which will then "clean" the butterfly as its wings unfold.   this can take between 4-8 minutes for the wings to fully unfold  but the ants may stay around quite some time afterwards.



Here is a male coming out , there are ants everywhere , must be a big nest under here and I'm going to get covered in the dam things  lol



                   Up he crawls , i have ants on my arms and all over my camera now!    Arghhhh





Time to put the canon mpe-65 macro lens and flash set up on now for some high magnification shots , i really want to get both the ants and butterfly eyes in focus in an image, which is going to be very difficult with the ants moving so fast!


                      Almost did it in this one :)         there are loads of ants climbing all over this male.



                                                 Haha    peek - a - boo  Ant :D




               Just got the image i wanted   Yay          After shooting almost 380 frames so far today!



                                                                       " Face to Face"









          Another male coming out of the same nest , i am getting covered in ants and have got to move from this nest as they are getting quite agitated and biting now :(







                                                     Managed to get this with the mpe  :)


                                                                 "A bit Crowded here"



Moving away and brushing all the ants of me, i go back to the first male which has now fully expanded his wings and most of the ants have now left him alone .



The beautiful heather flowers , these taller plant have loads of Silver studds perched up resting until the sun comes and and they start flying.



                                                                         A mating pair :)     
                clearly showing the colour difference between them ,the brown female and blue male.




                                        A male with his wings open in the long heather.





I have found another couple of males emerging, it is almost mid day now but is getting warmer with the sun coming out occasionally  :)





                             A lovely female in the sun  , love the look of these two images :)








                        Finally another mating pair, this time with good perch and background.





Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Ted Ellis Wheatfen reserve Norfolk in search of Dragons june 2015


This morning a walk around the Ted Eliss Wheatfen nature reserve , its warmish and still a bit breezy so might have a chance to spot a Swallowtail but hopefully a few Norfolk Hawkers which i have never seen.





                                                  First view of the reserve, beautiful :)



 Almost straight away i have spotted a few dragons , Scarce chasers    there are loads of them as i walk along the rush lined channels.  another new species i have never seen before :)


                                                              Female Scarce chaser.


                                                                 Male Scarce chaser



 I have come to a crossroads, i want to go right along a smaller drain but a family of swans have nested right on the edge of the path and they are Not letting me pass!!!!!!!!!!      lol


 I continue on the path along the River Yare boundary but cant find any that are settling.  walking all way around and come to a smaller cut through track along a small drain , and there are loads of dragons flying everywhere :)   Scarce Chasers and Norfolk Hawkers patrolling along the edges in repetitive flying patterns .


                                                           Mating Scarce Chasers :)



                              Overgrown drain where the Norfolk Hawkers are flying.



 Yay   got a perched Norfolk Hawker , had to shoot with 100-400mm lens and crop to get these images.








                                            Stunning dragons with bright green eyes .



It has been a really nice walk around this reserve, no sign of any Swallowtails but plenty of Dragons :)

After a successful morning its time to go back to Sea Palling to give the dogs a good run on the beach , its quite warm again and the sun is out.   they are soon tired  lol








                                       Awwww  Poor Chester , he looks Knackered :(



Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Swallowtails and Sunsets Norfolk june 11 th 2015


This morning a quick walk down to the beach with the dogs , its very warm and sunny and at last the wind has dropped a bit.    We stayed out longer than expected just sitting in the sun throwing the ball for the beasts :D



 A really beautiful morning on an almost deserted Norfolk beach , sitting in the sun throwing the ball for the Terrible Twosome :)



                                                          HAHA!      sandy face Mollster




 After lunch , a last trip to hopefully see a Swallowtail butterfly at Strumpshaw , the wind is the lowest it has been all week and being warm and sunny this has to be my best chance to see one.



 We are not going into the fen site, but walking down the track to the Doctors garden which is a very good spot for them ,the main Swallowtail breeding area is just the other side of the railwayline.



 Not a sight of Any species of butterfly on the flowers ,its clouded over a bit unfortunately ,but we continue down the path to a small hidden clearing a couple of fields away But Again Nothing to see!

Walking back past the small meadow next to the doctors cottage and a Yellow flash signified my first ever sighting of a Swallowtail YAY!    

                                Quickly putting on my 100-400mm lens i manage a few images.





 Then on with 100mm macro and after ages following manage a couple of closer shots ,unfortunately  its wings are a bit damaged :(






                            Into the next meadow and in the sheltered corner.........................


                                                                Thats a better one :)





After a successful afternoon the weather is looking very promising for a decent sunset tonight , i think another long walk to Brograve is called for.  Even Jan agrees surprisingly  lol
The Horsey Mill looks awful without its sails!   they are being renovated after damage over the winter i believe.




 The path follows the Waxham new cut channel from Horsey Mere ,   nice light over the mere as we walk past.




                                                 A Marsh Harrier is circling overhead :)




                          and flying past ...............    whatever type of geese they might be   lol




At the Mill in good time for the sunset , after a load of long exposure images that didn't work , i wait until the sun has almost set before shooting this 3 frame hdr image. the sun is lighting up the small drain beyond the mill where the owls were hunting earlier in the week.





 My favourite image with the colour at its strongest , the sky has lit up nicely tonight with the wispy cloud :)





The end of a superb day in Norfolk , the last two days over the weekend are looking rubbish weather wise so this may be my last sunset image of the week.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

How Hill Sunset 10th june 2015


Time to go down to How Hill to shoot the Windpumps at sunset , the weather is looking ok so far but not really enough cloud for a good one.
After parking up i go down to the river and walk to the right first as its still ages until sunset time.



                                                        A phone pano of the boat house



 While walking towards Boardmans skeleton mill, i stop and watch two Marsh Harriers hunting over the fields opposite :)     wonderful to see and then as i turn back a Barn Owl flies straight past me with a vole or mouse in its claws!   Amazing!





                                 Turf Fen mill in evening sunlight . shot with 100-400 mm lens.



      As the sun sets the wind has dropped to give mirror reflections , pity there is not much cloud :(






Moving to the end of the staith to shoot this 3 frame hdr merged image.  just after shooting this,  i hear a loud crashing in the reads in front of me,  must be an otter hunting  :)




                       Back to the main subject , this is about as strong a colour that i got unfortunately.




                                                            A Panorama image to finish





                         Walking back to the Skeleton mill for a quick shot before leaving.......