Archive for the 'photography' Category


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.


Southward bound

A big movement of Swift South the other day. Marvellous birds.


Not for Human Eyes

High in the canopy, on sunny days in early July, there is a dance taking place. A dance of love. A swirling ballet of courtship.

Like all dancers, even these tiny 15mm ones, they must sustain themselves. So down the dark little waifs fall with their straws to sip at the bramble bar. Replenishing spent energy for the next performance. As they do so their livery becomes apparent. Not meant for human eyes, daintily embroidered colours transfix us, stripy stockings, sulphur dipped antennas and small tails edged in frosty copper; finished with stitched chalked lines.

Even when nectaring these dancers still pirouette like music box ballerinas. Evolution can be mind bogglingly beautiful.



White-legged Damselflies have one rather annoying habit. If you do inadvertently disturb one when lying prone on the ground trying to take it’s photograph, it immediately flies up into the nearest tree. Still, I managed to get a couple of shots.


Woodman’s Follower

A trip a little further South as we spread our wings after lockdown was an opportunity to see a few different things, We started with some wonderful Heath Fritillaries. Nice small dark butterflies these with a stained glass window for an underwing and, for once with these scarcer butterflies, a low level flight. No craning of the neck with these jobbies. They were easy to find as they searched out their host plant; Cow Wheat. It’s love for coppiced areas gave it the name ‘Woodman’s follower’. This little speciality is on the agenda for next years tours.



Fen Mason Wasps

A good year for Fen Mason Wasps. I photographed these a few weeks ago before they had started to build their distinctive ‘nests’. Perhaps I’ll go back a little later and photograph the burrows.


A good find

I have to say she may not always know what she’s looking at in the Northern Hemisphere, but that wonderful antipodean wife of mine has eyes like a burglar’s horse. She misses nothing. We were walking through some beautiful open woodland when I was asked “what species of dragonfly is this?”.

I took a look. I took another look. It was miles early, but I tentatively suggested, Migrant Hawker. … but it didn’t look quite right. My next suggestion was she photographed it and asks the lads (and ladies) on the WhatsApp group we’re in. The reply came back it was definitely a ‘Southern Migrant Hawker’ (thanks Andrew & Rob). I should have known this and bebated myself for not realising it myself.

Anyways, if you look in any of the ‘usual’ British Dragonfly books it will state the species has one previous UK record in 1952. The current reality is far from this. Four individuals were observed in southern England during 2006. During 2010 many individuals were then seen in south Essex and North Kent, with oviposition being noted at two sites. The species is obviously starting to colonise the UK.

Still … it’s a good find.

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July 2020


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