Monday, 26 September 2011

Oversley Woods 3rd July 2011 pt 3

In the early afternoon i met Gill up in the centre of the woods at the purple emperor "congregation" area , where the males rest in the top of the pine trees on the look out for females and give  "arial fighting"  displays!
I really never thought i would ever sit and watch butterflys in "combat flight"  flying 100ft in the tree tops, but having been told all about it , i just had to see what it was all about!

 3 hours later, we where still watching them!   arial fighting between the tree tops over a 50 m long area in the pine trees above the central clearing!   i really cant describe how exciting it actually was, but i still remember it in every detail now, 2 months on!  and cant wait to see it again next year.
i think this day was the influence for all the years butterfly shots

here is Gill shooting the emperors in the pine tops!

this shot was taken by Gill  ,  taken with canon 300mm L & 500d .  [better than any i got ]

after all the excitment ended in the tree tops,  a number of freshly emerged red admirals  "Vannesa atalanta" arrived in the clearing and started resting on the bracken fronds, one even nearly landed on Gills head!   that would have made a great picture! lol
they looked amazing in prestine condition, one of uks most beautifull butterflys but so often overlooked in the search for less common more interesting species!  which is a real shame as a few of our common butterflys are stunning!

shot with canon 5d2, 100mm L MACRO handheld

here is Gill shooting Vannesa  which you can see on the fern frond in this 2 frame focus stacked image

and here is Her  picture as shot above

many thank to Gillian for allowing me to use her images

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Oversley Purple Emperors 3rd July 2011

The next part of the day at oversley wood near alcester continued with the rest of the party returning back the way we had already come as no emperors had been seen!
I decided to continue around the wood following the main path heading towards the pond to hopefully see a few dragonflies.  
After just 50 metres around the next bend, there on the path in front of me was a Purple Emperor !   i could not believe it,  i managed just 2 shots before it took flight!

A few minutes later another one appeared and started feeding right in front of me!    by this time 4 members of the party must have seen me photographing something and came to look, they all managed to shoot this amazing elusive butterfly for over 5 mins before he flew off!

love the yellow proboscis !
Seeing the emperor , my 7 th new species on the day!   amazing!  

I then continued around the woods and eventually came across Gill and a few others from the group, they had also seen  emperors grounded on the other side of the wood!  i think most of the party actually saw them which is exceptional considering the nature of this species, people spend years looking to get a single sighting of one!   the weather changed 2 days later and i dont think any more where seen after that day!  a very short season for them this year as they are easilly damaged by strong winds while resting high up in the tree tops!

This has to be one of the highlights of my year, i never really expected to see one as they are very elusive, spending most of the time high up in the tree tops, only coming down "grounding" to feed / take in salts ,

 Later in the afternoon Gill  promised to show me the "congregation area"  where the emperors fly and fight high up in the tree tops above the pines in the centre of the wood! 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Beggining of An Obsession With Butterflys July 3rd 2011

This is the day my obsession with butterflys really began !

Gillian invited me to come down to the "Oversley wood"  purple emperor event  hosted by the warwickshire butterfly conservation    as it is a 2 hour drive i arrived an hour early to have a look around part of the wood, before the guided walk starts to hopefully see the p emperors .
after a 15 minute walk i found a small meadow area surrounded by trees and in the middle i spotted my first ever  Marbled White, a species i have always wanted to see!   i took about 40 shots of a prestine specimen before finding a second one!

  the second marbled  then flew off and landed on a thistle flower and started feeding. by the time i got close enough to shoot ,another butterfly landed which turned out to be my second new species of the day!    a small skipper!
to say i was happy is an understatement, 2 new species in less than half an hour!  with the rest of the days events still to look forward to.

i then walked back to the carpark to meet up with the rest of the party for the guided walk. in total 41 people turned up all wanting to see the purple emperors,  which i believe is a record for a branch event!
as the walk started, after a few minutes i spotted my 3rd new species of the day, a white admiral but couldnt manage any decent shots,  this was probably the best shot  i got -

as the walk continued through the wood ,someone spotted a newly emerged purple hairstreak, my 4th new species of the day!     in not very good lighting i managed to take a good series of shots of this beautifull specimen!
 it was at this point Gill arrived, late as usuall!!!!!!    just as the light disappeared so she could not get any decent images!      she was not happy!

The hunt for the purple emperors which we all hoped to see "grounded" feeding on salts on the paths was not going too well, not a single one spotted !   but we did find good numbers of Silver Washed Fritillarys all along the paths feeding on bramble flowers,   which was new species #5 for me !

The event leader suggested that we go back to the meadow where i shot the marbled white, as white letter hairstreaks had been seen in the trees near the path,  on arrival about  6 wl hairstreaks were seen in the elm tree but too high up to photograph unfortunatly,  but yet another new species for me  #6 for the day!

and the best was yet to come!