It was now time to head off in search of my favourite butterfly , the Brown Hairstreak. it is later than i saw them last year and virtually no sightings had been reported at Grafton Wood in Worcestershire, but since it was going to be a nice day it had to be worth a trip as there are plenty of other things to shoot :)
arriving about 9.30am in the village of Grafton Flyford and parking by the church, i made my way through the farmyard and down to the wood. the fields around the wood are mainly blackthorn, this is where the female Brown Hairstreaks will be seen.
Searching all the way along the only butterflies i have seen so far are meadow browns and this Gatekeeper. not a sign of a hairstreak, but it is a little early for them, 11 - 2 pm best time so there was still a chance yet :)
continuing into the "orchard" area i first found a Large Horsefly perched on a fence post, i really love their eyes, so beautiful but deadly lol this portrait is shot with canon mpe-65 macro lens ,5 frames focus stacked to increase depth of field.i placed a green leaf behind to prevent a black background .
one of the many Meadow Browns feeding on a Teasel head , looking a bit tatty now !
after a good search though the orchard i have spotted a few migrant hawker dragonflies , and managed to get this image. they have been a species that eluded me , often seeing them flying but never perching for a photo :)
I have decided to now walk through to the small pond just inside the wood ,near to the corner of the orchard , but suddenly spot a beautiful yellow crab spider waiting for a meal , so on with the mpe again to shoot her :) i cant hold a leaf behind to give background colour, so i shoot at higher iso , 800 in this case, to balance natural light with the flash preventing a complete black background.
after shooting her i walk down to the small pond , loads of migrant hawkers, common darters and a few ruddy darters are flying around but not perching! also 3 hornets are hunting bees and i watch these for about half an hour, awesome to watch but they just don't settle for a pic unfortunately. i do however find loads of Dark Bush Crickets , here is one image .
Time to look through the wood now, there is a central path right through the middle which i take , about half way along i turn left to go search for Brown Hairstreaks on the outer edge blackthorn. i have always wondered why these two trees are out in the middle of this field? strange
unfortunately no Hairstreaks are spotted , so back to the main path in the wood where i find in one very small area 6 newly emerged Brimstones . i have never seen so many together before!
walking down the path there are loads of hoverflies and Bees feeding , a fox darts in front of me into the undergrowth! that's a pity, would have like a shot of one lol then while watching hovers i notice a bright blue flash! it is one of the most beautiful flies there are , if you can call a fly beautiful haha it is Phasia Hemiptera i very rarely see these , almost 2 years since i shot my last one so just have to get a shot this time. luckily after a few moments i spot it feeding and get this single image .
nearby there are more Dark Bush Crickets , and luckily i find this one perched on a single grass stem, superb perch for composition :) this is my best image of the day!
down near the end of the main path is a large clump of flowers that in previous years male Brown Hairstreaks have been known to feed on , so i make my way to have a look. unfortunately again no sign of any, but i did shoot this common darter dragonfly with long lens .
its been a long day of walking and searching , no sightings of my intended species but a good day none the less. on the way back i shoot one of our most beautiful butterflies, the Peacock
and a Small Copper
the end of another trip, i will be back in a week or 2 to hopefully see and photograph the Hairstreaks but it has been a good day.
all images shot with canon 5d2,100mmLmacro and Mpe-65 macro lens