Pearls for Dukes (part 2)

Today (Sunday) I took a first ever trip down to Bentley Wood near Salisbury, on the Hampshire-Wiltshire border, to see if I could find any Pearl-bordered Fritillaries.  This is a lovely little species, and I’ve only ever seen one once before, on holiday in Sweden 5 years ago.  Bentley Wood is one of the best places in England to find them, and thanks to the wonders of the internet, I knew that some had been seen flying this year already, and I knew where to go looking for them.  I was slightly concerned about the weather forecast since it looked like the south coast might be the only region of England that might suffer overcast or even rainy conditions today.  However, I set off at breakfast time and was there by 10am, and it was pleasantly warm with some blue sky visible.  I quickly found the site, and only had to wait about 10 minutes for a sighting; the next hour or so was spent trying to get any worthwhile shots!  Quite skittish, and the terrain wasn’t exactly conducive to successful stalking: lots of low-growing brambles to tear at your legs and to trip you up.  Anyway, the trip was a success: though I only saw the one individual, the shots came out OK.  I may have the chance to go back again another time, so I can hope that more may be flying, and that I might get a nice side-on shot.  We’ll have to see!

On my return I took a slight detour to visit Seven Barrows BBOWT reserve on Lambourn Downs to see if anything was flying (hoping maybe for  Small Blues or indeed anything else), but the sun had gone in so I was unlucky.  There were 4 handsome bullocks in the field (used by the trust to keep back the grass to help the butterfles), so I also had to be rather cautious…!

A couple of shots of the Frits below.

 PBFritBW31200NF

Nikon D3S/200f4micro/cpl/SB600+softbox

ISO 2500 1/320 f/18

Handheld

PBFritBW21200NF

Nikon D3S/200f4micro/cpl/SB600+softbox

ISO 1600 1/250 f/16

Handheld

From these shots you can see what a good job the D3S does with high-ISO shooting; even with balanced flash (i.e. ambient exposure for flash and about -1EV for background) there is no real problem with noise even at 2500.

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