Monday, 30 July 2012

Silver Studded Blues at Prees Heath pt1 july 1st

With the British summer still not taking place!   again ! , the beautiful silver studds at Prees Heath were quite late emerging , think these are my favourite blue butterfly.   news that a few had been seen in the last few days,so i decided to go and have a look.  it was cold, dull, breezy and rain forecast so not really a promising day for photography.  But there is always a chance of getting that "special" shot , and as it turned out this was one of those days :)

Arriving at the car park early , i shot this lovely poppy flower first , the petals looking a bit crumpled!

i walk through on to the airfield site ,  the bell heather is in flower and looking very nice, will shoot it later.  coming to the first main roosting area, i notice no silvers, not a good sign :(  walking down through the silver birch trees into the central area next to the old runway ,i soon find a few low down in the long grass stems, the low light levels and combined with a strong breeze making it very hard to get sharp images!  this one is not too sharp !

this is the area they emerge in , black ants are everywhere and help the butterflies out of the ground. see last years blog

Another perched male silver stud , beautiful species :)

i have had a good look around and not seen any emerging which is a shame, i really wanted to photograph the ants cleaning the emergent butterfly. but will come again next week.  i find this grasshopper sitting on a single grass stem , which looks rather nice!

then i find yet another male sitting on the bell heather , makes a great image.  You can see the "Studds" standing out very well in this specimen, bright blue spots in the bottom edge of wing.

and an open wing shot in the heather

Now its time to get the mpe-65 lens out and shoot a couple of  high magnification images, these two are both focus stacked from 8 frames to increase depth of field.

one of the thistle flowers that are quite common here!

Then, i found this male silver studd which looked like it was playing with a red ant!   i have never noticed red ants here so was quite surprised to see one, and i watched its interaction with the butterfly for at least 15 minutes.  it kept walking around and climbing on the butterflies face! 

 This image is probably one of my favourites of the year so far , both ant & butterfly eyes are in focus , and the ant looks like it is facing off the butterfly :D
Something really special about this one!

and a crop showing more detail , notice all the blotches on the butterflies eye , most probably from overnight dew or rain.

That was superb image to finish of the morning :)   might be my fav image of the year!

all images shot with canon 5d2,100mmL & mpe-65 macro lens

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Arnside Knott Butterflies & others june 25th

Its nearing the end of June, and its still cold and wet most days , but with a dry sunny day forecast i just had to drive up to Arnside knott in cumbria to see if the butterflies had emerged , it is a very good site for some of the rarest endangered species in the country!  namely the High Brown fritillary and the Scotch Argus .  its still too early for them to be emerging this year with it being so cold , but the Small pearl bordered fritillarys and Dark Green fritillaries should be flying , and the Northern Brown Argus also, so it will be worth making the trip :)
Arriving at Arnside at about 9 am , everything was soaking wet , must have had a lot of rain overnight!   and my boots need re proofing! Arghhhhh

  i decided to take a look at the lower terraces first which is normally a very good area , on climbing down to the lowest terrace i heard a squealing and then a Young deer foal ran towards the wire fence being chased by a large dog!   the sound was horrific as the dog tryed to catch it!  the foal squeezed through the fence and walked towards me, head down but obviously looked frightened to death!!!!!  meanwhile 2 adult deer where running around frantically looking for the foal and the dog then chased them off!!!!!!! i could see no sign of the dogs owner!  totally irresponsible but it is national trust open access land  , when i told the warden he said nothing can be done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   i was quite shocked after witnessing this event.

This area is mainly bracken  and the Fritillaries love to rest on the fronds :)  But NOT today!
  My first Dark Green Frit of the year , a stunning newly emerged specimen :)

           This is the area of bracken that they are perching on , its not very sunny so the fritts are not showing very well. as with most fritillaries they only fly when warn and sunny.

There were a few of these DGs flying and i noticed a Small pearl bordered frit shortly afterwards , which i started chasing through the bracken until it settled and i managed this shot :)   By this time, both my feet were totally soaked!  Arghhh

After about half hour i decided to go and have a look at another area, i made my way through the wood to Heathwaite meadow , a beautiful area with loads of wild flowers , including orchids :)

This is a very good area to see the Northern Brown Argus butterfly , a different species to the "Brown Argus" which is found in the midlands and down south.  it was quite breezy and was very difficult to shoot these tiny butterflies perched on thin grass stems :D  this is the best i could manage.

a few more flower pics , what a beautiful place:)))

and another marsh orchid species

My first Meadow Brown image of the year, quite late emerging this year !

and a 6 spot Burnett moth

Time to carry on walking now, time to climb up the Knott itself:)    great views from here now, looking over to the cumbrian fells :D
Climbing up to the top , there is a stone viewpoint with etched metal plaques with all the mountains named.

walking through a small wood to an area which has the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries, on this slope and a little higher up amongst the heather and thistle flowers

i came across a Small Pearl Bordered fritillary perched up on a grass stem , really difficult to shoot in the breeze but did manage these images , i really like the light in this one.

and another closer view

After shooting this  a quick walk around the area looking for other subjects to shoot , here are a few of the local inhabitants :)

Beautiful orange Cranefly



And a Wood Ant, there are numerous colony's of these all over the knott!  shot with mpe-65 macro lens.

Great views from up here, the knott is surrounded on 3 sides by water!

I soon came across this mating pair of small pearl bordereds

and perched beautifully :)  what a stunning butterfly!

Then perched on a non native invasive plant "orange hawkweed" which is being removed from the knott. it will take over if left unchecked!  shame as it is beautiful!

And to finish , a high magnification portrait shot with mpe-65 :)

i will be back very shortly as the High Brown fritillaries will be emerging anytime now!

All mimages canon 5d2, 100mm L macro & mpe-65 macro lens

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Mountains and Butterflies Irton Fell,Whin rigg and Illgill head june 18 th

The weather was looking good, and i had heard the Mountain ringlets had started emerging on Irton fell in Wasdale.  one of , or THE most beautiful valley in the lake district.  tucked away from the main tourist areas and having to drive through the Hardknott and Wrynose passes.  a very long drive for me, in fact allot longer than i expected because the road to the Hardknott was closed due to re surfacing so i ended up having to drive through Langdale,past Blea tarn and then onto the passes road!  Arghhh  


                                                                              THE sign!

After negotiating the passes without hitting anything!  it was only a few minutes drive to the car park below Irton fell in Eskdale.  a quick walk up through the woods and taking the right hand path that leads on to the fell ,instead of up Irton pike, to where the butterflies should be :)

Looking back the way i have just walked with Irton pike on the right hand side of the image!

And my first view of Wasdale!   WOW!

This is Irton fell , the grassy area should have the ringlets hiding  lol.  this is the lowest altitude that these butterflies are to be found , which means they emerge here first before the other colonies on the higher fells of Grey knott,Kidsty pike ect.  After looking around the lower slopes i had only spotted two tatty specimens, so presumed that the higher slopes up towards Whin Rigg might be a better area to search!

After climbing a little higher i soon found a few ringlets fluttering in the ever increasing breeze!  this was going to make photographing them very difficult, but with views like this, Who cares!   lol

  Finally a Mountain Ringlet shot , not great but nothing i could do with them low down in the grass!!!

turning around , the Isle of Man is clearly visible in the distance:)

Upwards to Whin Rigg now, a nice steady climb while watching flutters :))

                                   This is the area i have found them in !  lower slopes of Whin Rigg

Then as luck would have it! a newly emerged specimen Yay!   it was quite windy now, and bright sun also but managed this image that i am quite happy with :)

after shooting this image i made my way up to the summit of Whin Rigg , there where ringlets everywhere!  amazing to see them all fluttering high up on a mountain! in fact i sat here watching them for about 15 mins :D     this image is looking back from where i have just walked , the path leading onto Irton fell on the right hand side corner.

                         up here near the summit i found this one , quite a good area here for them :)

Wastwater was now in view! with Illgill head straight in front of me which is where i am heading now!

                           After saying Hello to the locals, which is becoming a habit now lol

                                               i shot this closer image looking down Wastwater.

I made my way towards the summit of Illgill head , and this is the view looking towards Yewbarrow, Kirk fell, Great Gable and Lingmel  Amazing views from up here!

Looking from the summit cairn of Illgill Head  , surprisingly there are quite a few ringlets up here between the two summit cairns/shelters :)

What a super day its been up here, think i spent more time watching the butterflies than shooting them!  so enjoyable in these surroundings :))

a long walk back now! over Whin Rigg ,  BUT more good views to shoot :)

one last butterfly pic taken on way back.

As i get back onto Irton fell i turn around and notice how the cloud has been building, WOW! looks amazing!

can just see the summit of Great Gable in the cloud over to the right!

The end of a superb days climbing and Butterflying :))))   a bit different from normal

images shot with canon 5d2, 100mm macroL and 17-40L