Friday, June 14, 2013

I have a little list....

...of butterflies I've never managed to get good photos of despite them being local.  For example, there's a few fritillaries that I've seen but never captured up on Dartmoor; green hairstreak - I can't seem to find the local populations; wall brown - I haven't seen a good specimen with camera in hand since my film days; and the small copper, which keeps eluding me despite being locally common.  Part of it lies in not being in the right place at the right time but sometimes it comes down to pure luck.  Sometimes it's bad luck.

The Holly Blue butterfly, Celastrina argiolus, is common enough locally.  I see it most years, fluttering around the hedgerows in search of its holly and ivy host plants.  Small, pretty - and always, it seems, tantalisingly out of reach.

Until the 5th of June this year.

I walked outside, camera in hand, and disturbed a Holly Blue feeding on my perennial wallflower.  It flew off before I could get a shot.  Another disappointment.  And then, 30 minutes later, it came back to feed on the wallflower.

Now was my chance.  I had the Tamron 90mm macro and 25mm extension tube on the 600D camera, flash on, AV set and everything ready.  I maneuvered into place.  The butterfly was feeding on the far side of one of the wallflower heads.  I quickly took a couple of shots as insurance, even though its head was out of sight.

Holly Blue butterfly, head hidden behind a flower of Erysium 'Wlaburton's Fragrant Star'
I'm glad I did.  Rather than - as I expected - move to a position where the whole butterfly would be in view it simply flew off.  And never came back.  Still, I suppose it's better than no photograph at all. 

I've been more fortunate with another couple of butterflies that were also on the list.  One recent day out, albeit in two different locations, yielded decent shots of a male Orange Tip and a Small Heath.

Orange tip butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines, male
Orange tip butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines, male
Small heath, Coenonympha pamphilus
 But I still want that Holly Blue.

As always, click the pictures to embiggen.

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