MikeOxon

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:32 pm

Hi Goldie. Because they are almost on my doorstep, it needed a call from my son to get me out looking for them :lol: I may be coming up to Cumbria myself, soon, to look for the Dark Red Helleborine, which is one of the British orchids that I've not yet managed to photograph. I shall keep a look out for Northern butterfly species, too.

kevling
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby kevling » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:01 pm

Mike,

Nice photos from Bernwood. I like the angle on that White Admiral. Glad you got a good shot of the Black Hairstreak. Not the easiest to capture. I saw my first ever ones last weekend and they were very obliging too. It's been a bumper summer for them this year at most locations.

Regards Kev

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:36 pm

Thank you for commenting on the White Ad, Kev. It was a little too high for comfortable photography and I was struggling to get into a position where I felt there would be sufficient depth of field to keep a reasonable amount of the butterfly in focus. It was another of those occasions where I took lots of shots and only this one was adequate - thank goodness for digital :)

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MikeOxon
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Bucknell Wood, Northants - 25th July 2017

Postby MikeOxon » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:19 pm

It's been a difficult few weeks for me, with a combination of poor weather, baby-minding duties, and a miserable cold all conspiring to prevent butterfly-watching activities. A free afternoon, today, with a good weather forecast was, therefore, too good an opportunity to miss!

After reading a recent post by Art Frames, I realised that Bucknell Wood is only about 45 minutes drive from my home but it's a place that I've never visited! Since it is many years since I last had the opportunity to photograph the Valesina form of the Silver-washed Fritillary (I notice that the photo on my website is dated 1991), I thought it was well worth making a trip, even if only to put down a marker for future years.

In the event, Valesinas were a bit like buses - you don't see one for ages and then a group all arrive together. And so, after an initial sighting of one very battered example, I soon found another, in much better condition.

Bucknell_Valesina1.jpg
Bucknell Wood, Northants - 25th July 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/800s@f/9 ISO1000

Not long after that, I had the totally unexpected opportunity to photograph two together!

Bucknell2Valesina.jpg
Bucknell Wood, Northants - 25th July 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/1000s@f/8 ISO1000

Someone I was talking to in the wood said that about 30% of the females there are the Valesina form and I found it quite extraordinary to see four different individuals in a short space of time.

Bucknell_Valesine-ups.jpg
Bucknell Wood, Northants - 25th July 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/400s@f/7.1 ISO1000

Some of the undersides were particularly striking, with iridescent blue/green areas close to the body.

Bucknell_Valesina-uns.jpg
Bucknell Wood, Northants - 25th July 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/1250s@f/11 ISO1000

Apart from these 'special' forms, there were plenty of 'regular' SWF on the wing, both male and female, and I also watched two of the Valesinas being chased actively by males on separate occasions.

Overall, the list of butterflies seen in this wood was impressive, including Large and Small Skippers, Brimstone, Small and Green-veined Whites, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Purple Hairstreak, White and Red Admirals, Comma, Peacock, Painted Lady, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, and Speckled Wood - so 20 species in one short visit!

A Painted Lady to finish my post from a very satisfying day.

Bucknell_PaintedLady.jpg
Bucknell Wood, Northants - 25th July 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/1250s@f/11 ISO1000


Mike

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David M
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby David M » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:57 pm

So pleased you got your valezinas, Mike. It's a beautiful form of a beautiful insect and highly coveted by everyone.

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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Pauline » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:41 am

Fabulous sightings Mike :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Lovely images too - you've captured the colours and sheen very well indeed. I've only ever seen that form once but 2 at a time...........!!!

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:39 am

Thank you for commenting, David and Pauline. I had not gone with great expectations, especially since it's over two weeks since Art Frames posted his wonderful photos. The Valesina sightings came quite late in our walk and I had already been impressed by the 'quality' of the wood and the wealth of species we had seen.

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Goldie M
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Goldie M » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:54 am

Lovely shots Mike, :mrgreen: :mrgreen: It's a wonderful looking Butterfly the Valesinas and I love the colours you've caught. Goldie :D

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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Art Frames » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:07 pm

Mike

I'm glad you got there and that you saw so much and took some lovely shots :D . I will be going for a walk this Friday if the weather clears up.

Last time I visited I saw a slow worm in addition to a huge butterfly haul. It has become a favourite with me.

I was desperate to find a male pairing with a Valensina. Nearest I got was the over and under flying but another male pushed in and the female took flight. With the numbers there it must be a possible shot...for someone

best wishes

Peter
Peter - Art Frames
A few photos on Flickr

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:03 pm

Thank you Goldie and Peter. I've been sorting through the 200 or so photos that I took yesterday and find that I have quite an interesting collection!

I wish you luck on Friday, Peter. There's still plenty to see, although most of the butterflies are showing signs of wear, apart from some very fresh Brown Argus and Common Blues. I did take a few (rather blurred) shots of Valesina females being harassed by ardent males, so there's still the chance of photographing a pairing, I think.

Is she sticking her 'tongue' out at him?

SWFrit-pair.jpg
Bucknell Wood, Northants - 25th July 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/500s@f/8 ISO1000

Art Frames
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Art Frames » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:44 am

MikeOxon wrote:Is she sticking her 'tongue' out at him?


Well he's not much of a catch (been around the block a bit!) ...so I'd say yes!! :lol:
Peter - Art Frames
A few photos on Flickr

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Wurzel
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Wurzel » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:50 pm

Ah but what he lacks in looks he might make up for in stamina Peter :wink: Seriously though Mike I think it's a good year when I see one Valesina, let alone see two in one sitting and get a photo :shock: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:50 pm

He certainly had stamina, Wurzel. He chased her along the ride for about 150m, far faster than I could follow and I lost them at the first bend :lol:

kevling
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby kevling » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:25 am

Nice photos of the Valesina Mike. I feel a bit envious of all these sightings this year. I have yet to see one in my life, but when I do, you'll all know about it for sure :lol:

Regards Kev

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:47 pm

Thank you, Kev. Looks as though this wood might be a good place to try :)

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Goldie M
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Goldie M » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:05 pm

That's a great shot Mike. Goldie :D

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bugboy
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby bugboy » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:26 pm

That's a VERY impressive haul of Valesina's and two in the one picture :shock: :mrgreen:
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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David M
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby David M » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:02 pm

MikeOxon wrote:I did take a few (rather blurred) shots of Valesina females being harassed by ardent males, so there's still the chance of photographing a pairing, I think.


That surely would be the money shot, Mike. I spent a fair while getting a valezina in the same shot as a normal SWF in France recently, but a mating pair would trump that hands down!!

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:32 pm

I'm sure this would be a good place to try for a mating pair photo. I don't intend to join a race for it, though :)

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MikeOxon
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Otmoor, Oxon - 25th August 2017

Postby MikeOxon » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:36 pm

With warm, bright sunshine around, at last, I decided to take a walk along the Roman Road, leading onto Otmoor. This is a favourite location for finding Brown Hairstreaks but, on this occasion, I failed to find any, although there were plenty of the usual ‘decoys’.

Speckled Woods were especially abundant, sallying forth from their respective perches to investigate every passing insect.

There was an autumnal feel to the vegetation and the Speckled Woods were enjoying the fruits:

Otmoor_SpWood.jpg
Otmoor, Oxon - 25th Aug. 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/200s@f/6.3 ISO 1250


At one stage, I spotted another possible BH candidate, with a ruddy brown look to its forewings, but it turned out to be a Meadow Brown, basking high amongst the leaves:

Otmoor_MeadowB.jpg
Otmoor, Oxon - 25th Aug. 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/800s@f/10 ISO 1250


Another butterfly, which I don’t usually associate with basking high in a tree was this Brimstone:

Otmoor_Brimst.jpg
Otmoor, Oxon - 25th Aug. 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/640s@f/8 ISO 1250


And a strongly marked Green-veined White:

Otmoor_GvW.jpg
Otmoor, Oxon - 25th Aug. 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/500s@f/8 ISO 1250


Vanessids were surprisingly few in number – I saw one bright Comma and one Red Admiral:

Otmoor_RedA.jpg
Otmoor, Oxon - 25th Aug. 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/640s@f/8 ISO 1250


A pale moth caught my attention, while it was looking for moisture amongst the grasses on the ride. The wings had a bluish lustre, which reminded me of ‘mother of pearl’, so I was delighted to find, when I got home that this is, indeed, its common name! Apparently, Pleuroptya ruralis is one of the largest of our ‘micro-moths’ and my photo shows the extremely long proboscis, with which it probed the ground for moisture. I also noticed the curious way in which it waved its antennae alternately up and down.

Otmoor_MoP.jpg
Otmoor, Oxon - 25th Aug. 2017
Olympus E-M1 with 100-400mm lens - 1/640s@f/8 ISO 1250



Mike


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