A Long Overdue Catch-up
I can't believe it's been nearly a year since my last bog post. Where has the time gone?! Whilst the blog has been quiet, my photography has been ticking over. and this post is a whistle-stop catch-up covering the main highlights of the last six months or so. During the autumn and winter months I set up a new woodland feeding station closer to home and whilst it took some time to really get going it provided plenty of memorable moments. The highlight was the visit of a small flock of Bramblings. Sadly they chose an extremely dull and dismal day so the photos weren't great. Another treat was a few months later when a pair of Bullfinches became regular visitors. The male was an absolute cracker but it was the female which more readily posed for the camera. Plenty of the usual suspects were regular visitors and below are a few of my favourites.
During the last few months my attention inevitably moved away from birds and towards this season's first dragonflies and butterflies and whilst I've not been out and about anywhere near as much as I'd have liked due to a house move, I have had some brilliant moments.
First up was a fine morning in nearby Wiltshire where I was up and out before sunrise looking for Orange-tips. The hot spots of last year failed to deliver and a very a couple of hours of searching I was beginning to give up hope. I then found a pristine male roosting on a bluebell flowerhead - a perfect combination. The sun was however really heating things up and I was worried I'd been too late but thankfully the butterfly remained in position long enough for me to get plenty of shots, my favourite of which was a nice back-lit image.
Next up was a hunt for the elusive Duke of Burgundy on Rodborough Common - one of my favourite places for butterflies in Gloucestershire. I timed my visited badly though. Whilst I got very lucky and found one roosting up almost immediately, the heavens soon opened and the Duke wisely flew off to seek shelter. I hurriedly packed my gear away but ended up a drowned rat. Still, no pain no gain.
I was determined to go back for more and a few days later with a favourable forecast paid another visit to the usual colony. That, however, didn't go to plan and despite a really good search, I failed to find any Duke of Burgundy's. Very disappointing. I then decided to go for a walk along the more Western slopes towards the Fort and by complete fluke found a Green Hairstreak resting on a dried flowerhead. What's more the sun was now just high enough to illuminate the grasses behind. I was again worried the butterfly would take flight given the rapid increase in temperature but it posed beautifully for me and I got my best images to date of this fabulous little species. It even posed for me after it has warmed up when it moved to a nearby blackthorn bush. Sometimes the stars just align!
May soon arrived and it was that time of year that always gets me excited - Pearl-bordered Fritillary time! An early recon visit to Cirencester Park turned up a blank but it was a very optimistic punt but I had high hopes for the following weekend. Indeed, come Saturday morning I was up and out and began my hunt. As is often the way, it felt like an eternity of searching but the wait was worth it with a few individuals found and photographed. I returned the following weekend for more and numbers were again low - much lower than last year. I was however on site when it was very cool and cloudy so I'm hoping the fritillaries were there, just hiding! Below are a handful of images from the two successful visits I had:
I haven't yet made it to Daneway Banks for the Large Blue, which is now on the wing but I am now living at the foot of Cleeve Hill so that's my new patch. I am absolutely determined to get some images of the resident Dark Green Fritillaries this year - something that I haven't managed to achieve yet so fingers crossed that changes over the coming weeks. I'm hoping the blog will become more regular once again, if only to esnure I have the reminder of what I've seen and when. So, until next time (which will hopefully be very soon indeed), thank you for reading and here's hoping to a summer full of wildlife (and England bringing the World Cup home!).
Keywords: birds, butterflies, butterfly, butterfly photography, cirencester park, gloucestershire, green hairstreak, macro, macro photography, nature, pearl-bordered fritillary, photography, rodborough common, spring, wildlife
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