Padfield

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Cotswold Cockney
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Re: Padfield

Postby Cotswold Cockney » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:24 am

Guy, quick question. How close was your camera to the subjects in your 7:43 posting today? TIA.
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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:52 am

Hi CC. For scenic pictures, like the Berger's clouded yellow, the camera needs to be within 10cm of the subject. This sets it against as wide a backdrop as possible, by the mathematics of parallax. The downside of this is that when the sun is low it is difficult to avoid the camera's shadow. In that particular picture, the darkened leaves just to the left of the butterfly are in the shadow of the camera. The Adonis blue is also taken from close - I can't remember exactly how close, but less than 30cm. The others were from a little over 1m away (further, rather than nearer, as 1.3m is the near limit of the maximum zoom). With my camera, which is a relatively cheap compact/bridge camera, there is slight chromatic aberration on maximum zoom, which is why I prefer to get closer when possible, even when I'm not taking scenic pictures.

I have a very strict three-strikes-and-out rule on photographing butterflies. If I disturb an insect three times, it's free and I won't chase it any more. I wish it well and watch it fly away. For this reason, I've developed ways of getting very close without the butterfly knowing I'm there!

Guy
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Cotswold Cockney
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Re: Padfield

Postby Cotswold Cockney » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:03 pm

Thanks for those details Guy. I developed the ability to approach butterflies without disturbing them at a very early age. I practiced the technique on my Father's Dahlias when lots of Red Admirals came visiting. That was during the last days of WWII in my family's London East End garden. As a three year old, the"War" was a lot of fun for me. My spoilsport father would not allow me to play on those Bombsites ... so much interesting wildlife there. Unexploded Bombs... yeah ... right ... German quality and engineering cannot be relied on apparently... :D

Soon after hostilities ended, my father resumed working on his allotment alongside the North Circular Road near Chingford. It was about 1947 and I remember seeing a number of superb yellow Butterflies passing fast over the allotment ... all in the same diagonal direction. Must have been a dozen of them on that day. No idea what they were except they left a lasting and permanent impression in my mind's eye. No butterfly books in the still relatively impoverished years soon after hostilities ended. I now know what they were of course. Clouded Yellows. Apparently 1947 was an exceptional year for migrants... I have since seen similar migration on the South Coast of Devon where Clouded yellows came in from over the sea... they did not even bother to stop but kept going ... they are very strong flying insects when in migrant mode....
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Andrew555
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Re: Padfield

Postby Andrew555 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:20 am

Nice shots Padfield, looks like a beautiful setting.

Cheers

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:46 pm

Thank you CC and Andrew. It is beautiful - but not many butterflies about just at the moment. This was morning walkies today:

Image

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David M
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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:37 pm

Absolutely amazing, Guy. Your part of Europe throws up extremes seemingly all the time.

I doubt any of us south of the Pennines will see snow like that all winter, which is a shame as there are thousands of pet Jack Russells that would love it as much as Minnie!

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Re: Padfield

Postby Cotswold Cockney » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:13 am

Alpine habitats and their weather can be a real eye opener. Last Butterfly expedition to Swtzerland for me was in 1981. Mid August camping at high elevation with both Apollos and Small Apollos flying all around. Tucked up on my airbed which from memory was the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in, very effective tent created false impression. Waking early to find about a foot of snow had fallen ... in August. Soon mostly cleared with both Apollos flying over the remaining snow not yet melted by the superb sunshine.

Also saw a large oven-cooker being delivered by Helicopter to a cabin high up on a remote steep mountain side. Then saw a Wall Creeper. Well named. What a remarkable bird! Remarkable what appears "normal" in other parts of the planet even if only a few hundred miles away from the UK..

Talking of birds, three species of Tits worked over the shrubs in my garden earlier today. Following hard overnight frost probably made them move into the gardens from the nearby hills. Bought some Fat Balls and Bird table food to put out. The three species of Tits included Long-tailed, Coal ( long time since I saw one of those in the garden ) and some of the more frequent visitors, the Blues. About twenty birds in that hyper active raiding party I would estimate.

A family of Great Tits raised a small brood in the nest box on my garage wall back in the Spring. My wife and I were in the garden when the fledglings took their first flight. One grabbed the wall after its first short flight and stayed their before flying off. Another took a longer circular flight and nearly crashed into my wife's back it was so out of control on that first flight. All seemed to benefit from their first flight and after a short rest, flew off much more confidently.

One of today's birds entered the Nest Box which I had cleaned out a few weeks ago.

Now retired, I have more time to observe the wildlife comings and goings in my garden. Over the years some remarkable birds identified. My wife mentioned seeing a Sparrow Hawk on the garage roof earlier this morning. Often seen these smaller hawks in and around the garden, sometimes carrying a male Blackbird.

Sparrow Hawk and Prey. Rover 620ti R45 OJW 002.JPG


You cannot see it in the picture but when it flew off, it had a Blackbird in its claws. They check out the local gardens regularly.

Sparrow Hawk on Roof of No. 91 ~ 2.JPG
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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:20 pm

Indeed - the alpine weather and landscape provide an infinite variety of wonders for the walker and naturalist to admire. Two of my best nights ever were spent bivvying at 2000m with Minnie, watching the progression of the heavens from the summer constellations when we went to bed to autumn and winter constellations before dawn, all over the jagged silhouettes of the mountains.

Today was a case in point. At Bretaye, a thousand metres above where I live, it was brilliantly sunny on fresh snow. At my altitude, all was bathed in cloud. East of Martigny, in the Rhône Valley, it was bitterly cold all day, peaking at 3°C, but was sunny from 11h00 until I left at 14h30.

This picture was taken near Martigny during the 'heat' of the day:

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This one, of La Batiaz at Martigny, was taken as I walked back to the train station at Martigny:

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That is just not a view you can find in Suffolk, for all the beauty of my home county ...

The only butterflies I saw were a wall, two Queen of Spain fritillaries and two clouded yellows. Nnothing was hanging around for photos - they were all looking for super-hotspots, and not finding any, moving on:

Image

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The only other leps I found were a very few red admiral eggs:

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Here are two alpine accentors, guarding a rocky wall:

Image

Image

It's definitely winter. I never took off my fleece today and my hands were cold whenever they weren't in my pockets. I'm not even sure I'll be seeing the Queens into December ...

Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Cotswold Cockney » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:46 pm

Despite several overnight clear skies with three very hard frosts during the past week or so, including a hard frost overnight yesterday, I saw a strong flying Red Admiral in the garden in yesterday's sunshine as I worked on one of my cars. Unlike today, with continuous rain in Gloucester area with heavy cloud so low, it looks like fog in some places. Heavy continuous low cloud and rain most of the time. Now dark, it is still raining and doubt it will not clear until we have some wind. No movement of the trees today due to the near total lack of air movement. A really miserable day.

I thoroughly dislike this time of the year. Always have. Roll on February and lots of yellow flowers with the promise of better things to come. I'm off to hibernate... ;)
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David M
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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:20 am

Amazing you can find anything flying in those conditions, Guy. That image of La Batiaz looks almost ghostly, quite incompatible with butterfly activity!

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Re: Padfield

Postby essexbuzzard » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:44 pm

Wow, great pictures of the alpine accentors. Dream bird for the rest of us!

Unlike CC, I rather like this time of year-when the sun shines. The autumn leaf colours against the blue sky. There have been several such days so far this month, and any sunshine in November makes the winter that bit shorter! Even the duller Novembers and winters make one look foreword to spring even more. And it's only a month until the shortest day!

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Re: Padfield

Postby Andrew555 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:47 pm

Some beautiful shots Guy, I especially like that QoS Fritillary. :)

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:48 pm

Thank you for the comments, CC, Buzzard, David and Andrew.

Up here in the mountains we have now definitely entered the winter, no butterfly, season. That doesn't necessarily mean I won't see any more this year - but I walked Minnie this afternoon in lovely sunshine and nothing flew. In the valley, in my secret spots, butterflies are usually on the wing well into December, though only Queen of Spain fritillaries, a wall or two and sometimes a clouded yellow.

Here's a white admiral hibernaculum from this afternoon:

Image

When one end is open like that it's always worth pointing the camera down the hole and using flash to see who's inside. You can just make him out in this picture:

Image

To the naked eye, or the camera without flash, nothing is visible.

On Sunday we trotted off to the Papiliorama (why not? CHF 50 for a year's pass...). I almost invariably add one species to the growing list on my butterfly house pages and this time it was Euploea camaralzeman, the Malay crow:

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Much more common were common crows, Euploea core, which I think this is:

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Core is a very variable species across its geographical range and when you are in a butterfly house, of course, you have no idea where a particular butterfly comes from.

Several female Hypolimnas bolina were around (as well as lots of males, of course) - the species that mimics Euploea. This one had interesting blue reflections (as do some Euploea species):

Image

Another mimicry ring is based on the chrysippus pattern. On Sunday there were lots of chrysippus around, but mostly roosting or nectaring with wings folded:

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This is a male Cethosia cyane, which shares the upperside pattern:

Image

The female has a similar pattern but on a white ground colour and doesn't look at all like chrysippus. I got poor photos of a female on Sunday:

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Just as the female of Hypolimnas bolina mimics Euploea species, so the female of Hypolimnas misippus mimics chrysippus. There weren't any misippus in the Papiliorama on Sunday, so here is a photo from 2012 that I took in the streets of Mumbai:

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This is Greta oto, one of my favourite butterfly house butterflies, mainly on account of the fact no one else even sees them!

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That individual is feeding on a real bird dropping. This, however, is not a bird dropping but a fully grown caterpillar of Papilio thoas:

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That's another thing most visitors don't notice ...

Apart from these, I photographed all the usual species I post on these pages so will leave it here for now. I did see a species of Graphium I've never seen before but it didn't stop for a portrait.

Guy
Guy's Butterflies: http://www.guypadfield.com

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David M
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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:59 pm

Padfield wrote:Up here in the mountains we have now definitely entered the winter, no butterfly, season. That doesn't necessarily mean I won't see any more this year - but I walked Minnie this afternoon in lovely sunshine and nothing flew.


I presume you have standing snow with low temperatures forecast, Guy?

Just as a matter of interest, when you get harsh winters chez toi, what effect does it have on the spring brood of butterflies the following year?

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:57 pm

Very low temperatures, David, at the moment. As a rule, this is good for spring butterflies, though very cold winters often wipe out the clouded yellows.

I've been playing around with animated GIFs. The picture below (taken today) will take a few moments to load but when it is fully charged the icy water should run forever ...

Image

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Re: Padfield

Postby bugboy » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:01 pm

Very good Guy, the 'join' is very subtlety done :D
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Padfield
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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:41 pm

I can't claim any credit for that, Buggy! :D The truth is, after 3 years my old iPhone 6 plus could no longer keep up with the demands of iOS 11 (battery suddenly jumping to zero, apps taking ages to load &c.), so I upgraded to the 8 plus. All iPhones from 6S onwards have a 'live photo' option. The phone begins recording from just before you click the 'shutter' (i.e., while the camera is open it is always recording and erasing) and ends just after. This allows you to select the exact frame you want, if you want a still, or to create an animated gif or blurred motion shot. The camera itself is extremely good on the 8 plus. The HDR is considerably better than on my 'real' camera:

Image

Guy
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Andrew555
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Re: Padfield

Postby Andrew555 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:09 am

Lovely stuff from the butterfly house Guy, and that animated gif looks great! :D
Spectacular scenery. :D

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Padfield
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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:49 pm

Thanks Andrew.

It's going to be scenic views for a while I think - no butterflies, at least.

This was taken on my walk home from school, crossing the Chesières bridge:

Image

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Re: Padfield

Postby MikeOxon » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:59 pm

seeing your Papiliorama shots reminded me that it won't be too long before I can enjoy my own regular mid-Winter boost at the RHS Butterflies in the Glasshouse event, starting on January 13th :)

That 'running stream' is a very effective use of GIF animation and also a way of making use of all those iPhone 'pre-images'

Mike


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