Friday, 7 November 2014

Prees Heath Butterfly hunt June 23 rd 2014

The time is right to go to Prees Heath in Shropshire to photograph the silver studded blues, which i do every year,  its always great to see them emerging covered in ants helping to clean off the emerging butterfly.     
It has been quite warm for the last week and i have found out they have started emerging , unfortunately it is quite breezy today but should be able to shoot a few .

I make my way from the car park down the main path through the trees towards the clearings where the bell heather grows, this is the area to find the emerging butterflies.  i have found a newly emerged male straight away , but is very difficult getting sharp images in the increasing breeze , this is the best i have managed so far :)

 Searching the short Heather for butterflies emerging is proving difficult , there are loads of males flying but not a single female so far.  usually males congregate around an emerging female making them easier to spot.     after half hour i have just found this male  , wings almost fully unfolded but only one or two ants cleaning him,    i have hardly seen any ants which is very unusual for here.... i use my MPE-65 macro lens to get this image with a single ant on the butterfly.

                   The heather is looking superb with plenty of males feeding...........

                                                 Another male silver studded blue

 While searching, something big has just flown past noisily , i follow quickly and find this huge Robber fly with a poor butterfly in its clutches!!!!!!
I takes off again but i have managed to keep track of it and when it landed i manage a few shots with the 100mm lens before putting on the MPE again to get this close up shot:)
 although i could have got same image with the 100mm lens ,the flash gives a better light on the image at closer range, so the much shorter focal distance (3" in this case) of MPE is preferable.

                            a phone shot showing the surroundings as well as the subject

                                                                        A Feeding Blue :)

                   At last i have found a pair ,  and they are in a good position to shoot :)

It is now too windy to continue, i will now drive over to Whixall Moss to have a quick look around before going home , but i shoot a thistle flower on the way back to the car :)

     At Whixall i make my way to the open area  where the Large Heath butterflies can be found.

                  There are loads of them , but as i get close they fly up and get blown away  lol  
Eventually i have got close to one  , but cant prevent the shadow over the wing from a rush stem :(

                          Cotton grass which is the favoured habitat of the Large Heath.

 Cant believe my luck!    one perched on a bracken frond on the main path while on my way back to the car :D

      Its been a  Good half day shooting , a bit of a challenge which makes it all the more interesting .

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