Saturday, 11 June 2011

Shropshire - Butterfly bonanza

Another 'insect day' beckoned after basking in the aftermath of the RFF
and 'Robin'! I was going to be a passenger for once too with Rob Stokes
after RV kindly offered to drive!

We were after two of the rarest Shropshire butterflies: Wood White and
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and given the prospect of a showery day,
we were going to need a lot of luck to find them!

The customary check of VP revealed 'nowt' in the way of birds (this is
why it was to be an insect day!) We set off for the South of the County
(the Northern limit of Wood White) and headed for Bury Ditches. There had to be a chance as Rob had seen a couple of Wood Whites recently and it wasn't long before we found one on the wing approx 600m from the car park! A male which, as they do, simply flew and flew until with a bit of cloud cover, it landed 15 feet up a near vertical slope! I got my record shot with the 300mm lens, spun around a few times, emerging as 'limpetman'. Here I am, clinging on with Rich and Rob laughing their heads off!

With one hand holding onto a small stump, I managed to photograph the
Wood White using the macro lens and return to level terra firma completely intact.... one representative shot and here it is.....

With thunder now rumbling around, it was job done and head back to the

Next stop was the Stiperstones and the Fritillary. This was to prove a
bit of a route march looking for likely habitat and after about 2 miles
of trekking, with some sheltering from showers, we struck lucky (well
Rob did) again!

At least 20 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary were resting in the
aftermath of the showers, drying their wings - a perfect opportunity to
record the underwing and clinch the identity....

The females have a much paler appearance to the underside...

Two for the price of one on this particular thistle!

Eventually, the cloud cover broke and a bit of warm sunshine encouraged
them to open their wings

I went in ultra close with this 'head on' shot - like something out of
B-horror movie!

Favourite image of the day? A close call but I'll settle for this?

Sunday was spent doing some more catch with these and other images,
blogging and getting ready for a talk near Norwich next week. I have an
idea (if the weather holds) that Swallowtail will come my way?
Hopefully some birds too, as I return via North Norfolk later in the week?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jim, I have been catching up with all your recent images and enjoying them all. Butterflies, damsels and dragons as well as the birds. I was amused at the one up the bank, nice to see that someone else gets into some predicaments! Last weekend I went looking for White Admirals at Dudmaston but no sign as yet. I have also had a couple of sightings of a bird of prey just outside Morville in the last couple of weeks. I think it may be a Red Kite but both times I have been driving and the first sighting was evening sun and the colour was a bit odd but the wing shape is right ~ Regards, Chrissy