Archive for Jul, 2020


Climbing the Wall

On yesterday’s bespoke Butterfly Tour we saw 21 species; among them about five Wall Browns put in an appearance. Here’s one of them.



There’s always something magical when nature decides to share itself with you. I’m no dragon whisperer but this Keeled Skimmer came to rest on my hand the other day. To be fair I think it was more about the warmth from my finger than something deep and eitheral between us … either way I enjoyed it. :o)



We’ve done quite a number of Butterfly Tours in the last couple of weeks. Despite the weather being a bit topsy-turvy I think I’m right in saying we’ve managed to get twenty or more species on each day. On some days it could have been more and and some days I’m surprised we didn’t get less.

There is one particular species I’m always pleased to see. It’s not a dramatic hit you between the eyes Swallowtail or Silver Washed Fritillary. It’s not even cute like the two species of Hairstreak’s that have graced the tours to varying degrees. It is a species which is very low key in all respects. This is a butterfly that loves the open heath and stony ground where it can wallpaper itself into its environment in a very cryptic way. Subtle beautiful scaling and a low inobtrusive flight are the signature of the Grayling.



A Gem

Doesn’t nature provide us with some extraordinary insects. Ruby tailed Wasp.


Shake it up

As I arrived to set up the camera in an attempt to photograph Comet Neowise last week the sun had just set and the comet was glowing like a bright jewel low in the North West. By the time I’d set up the camera it had promptly disappeared behind cloud. We had to wait another 4 hours for it to reappear.

The cloud gradually contracted, dispersed and the sky cleared to reveal something I’ve wanted to see since I was a schoolboy. A comet with a streaming tail. Everytime a comet has shown for me in the past it’s been a fuzzy ball only visible in optics. Here we had a bright naked eye object painted across the sky.

Down at the beach we tried to find a corner sheltered from the incessant wind. It was difficult. It was almost impossible to get a long expose photograph. Stars and the comet were leaving spider web tracings on the back of the camera. However with determination, a bit of Heath Robinson ingenuity and a large dose of luck I managed to get one or two half decent shots with a shooting star thrown in for good measure. However, I am resolved to get something more arty if the comet and conditions allowed next week.


A Contorted Reptile

Last month we sought out a Lizard Orchid or two. Wonderfully twisted plants these that look as though they agonised when growing into such contorted shapes.


Purple photo-bomb

When Tania found this purple Emperor she was photo-bombed by her smaller brother.



A few excellent Purple Hairstreaks over the past few weeks. thanks to the MG for the site information … spot on.


Odd one

Scarce white form of Early Marsh Orchid.


Tatty Royal

We have not had still air since the end of May. The wind has always played a part in every day during June and last week we had some pretty squally nights. This is detrimental to one particular butterfly. Male Purple Emperors roost at the very top of trees; high in the canopy. Females are, of course, a little more sensible and settle down for the evening on lower foliage, where they wont get bashed about as much.

I’m thinking of claiming back my licence fee. The BBC clearly stated the weather the other side of Peterborough was going to be quite sunny on Monday. We decided to see if we could find Tania a Purple Emperor. When we arrived on site the wind was howling, the sky was gun metal grey and there was even the occasional shower. Lordy, this is what Trumpton would call ‘fake weather!’ A seemingly impossible task but we tried. We walked and walked and searched and searched. After just over 4 miles we’d seen little other than two or three Silver Washed Fritillaries , a motionless Purple Hairstreak and a plethora of Ringlet and Meadow Browns.

It wasn’t until early afternoon when the sun pierced the clouds with a shaft or two that we saw a couple of White Admirals. This was the cue for the appearance of his royal highness.

Some of us have seen our best days. I for sure am one. My youth has long gone; but I like to think I try to look at least half well turned out. However, this royal chap fell down onto the path like a drunk Prince at an Epstein ‘lock-in’. Dishevelled or what? he had certainly had a night seven sheets to the wind.

A token for the day came on the walk back; my first ‘valanciana’ Silver Washed Frit of the year.

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Jul 2020


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