Thursday, 17 May 2012

Whixall moss Butterflies hunt 8th may

With finally a sunny day i decided to go on a butterfly hunt at Whixall moss in Shropshire , one of my favourite sites to go shooting.
I parked at Morris bridge car park and proceeded down the track onto the mosses, it was quite warm already  , but was 10 o'clock already!   in the first meadow before the mosses i soon spotted a few orange tips, it was very breezy so had to shoot at iso 640 to give a fast shutter speed to freeze any wind movement!   one male dropped down near me and i quickly shot 5 frames at 1/640th  f8 before it took off!   luckily i managed to get this wonderful back lit shot showing the orange on the wings that only the males have.

walking down one of the tracks i always stop to look at this derelict old car, must have been there for 40 odd years!

and near to this in a small ditch, a Raft spider Dolomedes sp , the largest uk species of spider, this was only a medium sized one, 2 inch leg span

Taking the path onto the mosses i found the first large red damselflies sheltering from the strengthening wind! a real pain when shooting macro.
i didn't manage to get a perched shot but did get one on my finger :) 5 frames focus stacked shot using canon mpe-65 macro lens.

I did chase a few more orange tips and speckled woods which were numerous but failed to get a single usable image!    but did find a pair of flies :))

Onto the mosses now hoping to see the first Green Hairstreaks of the year, but no sign of them in the two normal areas for them.  here is a shot of the mosses with cotton grass.

I now decided to make my way over to the canal, where usually loads of subjects can be seen all along the towpath.  just before the canal i spotted a Holly blue, very rarely do i see them!

Along the tow path , the dandelion flowers attract loads of insects:)

I soon came to a newly constructed wooden platform , presumably for bird watchers. i noticed something Green flash past me, YAY  1st green hairstreak of the year.  there turned out to be loads in a small area on the left of this platform.  a couple of people came over to watch me shoot and where amazed at what i was doing lol

and after shooting a few of them a shield bug shot.

Continuing down the towpath i heard one of the people calling me, they had found a Holly blue, i rushed back to see it  and shot a portrait at high magnification with mpe-65 lens.

Continuing down the canal towards the far end where there are usually plenty of Brimstone's and orange tips feeding on the dandelion heads:)

Male Orange tip  and a closer view of a perched female, note no orange!

Finally managed a Brimstone shot , not great but the first of the year:)

Back to the wooden platform!

a lizard resting!  lol

and a fly,  possible marchfly species , not 100% on that though!

And nearby a Green Veined White feeding!

Walking back to the car , a view down the canal

and finally a spider moulting its skin !

The end of a superb day, in all i had spotted over 24 green Hairstreaks , and numerous other butterflies with a total of over 90 for the day!!  Amazing!!!!!

The bug season has now started :))))

images taken with canon 5d2, 100mmL &MPE-65 macro lens


  1. Looks like you had a great day Phil-I've not seen a Brimstone yet and only one Green Hairstreak but then, unfortunately, I'm stuck with local stuff for now. Some superb shots here.

  2. Superb photos Phil. You are such an artist with a camera. Makes me realise what an amateur I am!
    Now I particularly love the first shot of the green hairstreak and the mosses with cotton grass.

  3. Great to see the butts out Phil! The first orange tip is a stunner.

  4. Looks like a fantastic location for all sorts of things - wow, macro heaven!
    Superb shots as usual.