Early June Butterflies Part 2
So, following on from Sunday, I investigated the tip-off…
As UK butterfly enthusiasts will know, Marsh Fritillaries are rather thin on the ground. It’s a UK Priority Species, with a European status listed as vulnerable. It’s severely declined in the UK, and its main strongholds are now in the South West of England, South Wales, and the West of Scotland. There is, or perhaps rather was, one small population in the Upper Thames region, but having visited this site three or four times in the last couple of years to no avail, I fear the worst for it.
Very fortunately, the provision of a nice OS map printout by another BC member on the Lardon Chase walk and a wish of ‘good luck’ spurred me on to seek out another colony a little further afield – once again in Bentley Wood. A spare morning today and a benevolent weather forecast (overcast but warm and humid), and I was heading down the A34 once again. I arrived at 10:30 and with the help of the directions I received along with my GPS, I arrived at the location within about 10 minutes; after 5 further minutes, I found my first ever Marsh Fritillary! There was also a little bonus in the form of a Grizzled Skipper quietly perched up about a foot away. I took some shots of both, and then continued to walk around the area, finding a further 3 Marsh Fritillaries. The final one was resting on the ground; it walked onto my finger and was easily and happily coaxed onto a grass stem for a mini photoshoot.
The sting in the tail!
The ominous rip coming from my trousers told me that my Craghoppers Kiwi trousers had suffered a major ‘malfunction’! Suffice to say that some safety pins from my car’s first-aid kit had to be put to emergency use to keep my dignity intact on the way back home.
Time to invest in some new outdoor walking trousers, with a robust enough stitch to endure the stresses and strains of macro photography! Craghoppers Kiwis have been my trouser of choice for a number of years because they have an excellent array of zipped pockets, but obviously they suffer, for macro-shooters, from a serious design flaw… I also have to say that the latest pair I bought (not, incidentally, the pair I was wearing today) was made from a slightly thinner material, and the pockets have been reduced in size slightly – presumably a cost-cutting measure in manufacture.
Where to go next? Having had excellent use out of my current Paramo gear (Katmai Light shirts, Mauii II Cargo shorts, Halcon jacket – the shirts in particular are amazing) I may invest in some Maui trousers. The material is certainly highly durable; my only query is the relative lack of zipped pockets; also, the buttons on the cargo pocket of my pair of shorts have already fallen off because of relatively poor stitching. If any readers have any suggestions, I’m all ears!
Some shots from the day below. Enjoy…
ISO 100 1/6 f/16
ISO 100 1/100 f/7.1
ISO 100 1/6 f/16
ISO 100 1/15 f/13