Jack Harrison

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Jack Harrison
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Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:21 pm

My photo website which includes butterflies and moths, is at: http://www.snapperjack.co.uk

I live in the extreme south of Cambridgeshire - in fact the highest village at 142 metres above sea level. The local patch is disused orchards and meadowland with 24 butterfly species recorded, one of the highest site totals in the county and it's on my doorstep.

Jack (username used to be jackharr)

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:04 pm

15th April, cold 11degC and windy. Just two Commas briefly before sun went in again. Very worn.

Jack (username was jackharr)
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comma.jpg

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:35 pm

I have just got a new camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ38. I had been considering a change as my Canon A650 must be getting tired after such heavy use and cannot be expected to last forever. I don't want it to fail in the middle of the butterfly season. When I was sent some butterfly sample photos from Neil Hulme (aka Sussex Kipper on ukb) that was it. I decided to buy. It's a remarkable piece of kit for the money and not at all heavy. I got mine from Amazon for reliability of service. I paid £245 but is available slightly cheaper from other sources.

http://www.panasonic.co.uk/html/en_GB/P ... index.html

I am very impressed with the results. This picture was taken from about 100 cms range, a distance that I am far more comfortable with than getting in really close. First is a simple resize but showing the whole frame. Then a crop that has not been resized. The details of those scales are impressive. Still some learning to do – the different modes, etc - but it is quite easy "straight out of the box".

Grabs the focus very quickly and the stabilization is amazing at huge zoom.

Still no Orange Tips but first Small White today (GV a couple of days ago)

Jack
Attachments
Peacock-big.jpg
Peacock-big.jpg (53.86 KiB) Viewed 4935 times
Peacock-small.jpg
Peacock-small.jpg (58.53 KiB) Viewed 4935 times
Last edited by Jack Harrison on Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Susie » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:20 pm

Very nice photos, Jack. I am seriously considering off loading my DSLR and getting one of these cameras too.

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:38 pm

Two localities in Cambridgeshire visited on Sunday 18th April.

Devils Dyke and old railway cutting Burwell:
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=55 ... 65260&lm=0
primary target being Green Hairstreak. Six to eight seen over a two hour period centred around the banks in photo. No pictures of the butterflies possible.

Then to the Roman Road at Worsted Lodge:
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=55 ... 52095&lm=0

In total, eight species seen over the two localities:
Peacock (numerous), Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Brimstone (numerous), Small White, GV White, Orange Tip (first for me this season, just 3 days later than in 2009) plus the Green Hairstreaks.

All pictures were taken with my Lumix FZ38; the two butterfly ones at a range of about two metres - attempting to close in spooked them.

Jack
Attachments
10-04-18-038-GH-Habitat.jpg
10-04-18-038-GH-Habitat.jpg (53.93 KiB) Viewed 4923 times
10-04-18-080-RomanRoad.jpg
10-04-18-080-RomanRoad.jpg (69.66 KiB) Viewed 4923 times
10-04-18-052-Tort.jpg
10-04-18-052-Tort.jpg (67.15 KiB) Viewed 4923 times
10-04-18-054-GVWhite.jpg
10-04-18-054-GVWhite.jpg (52.13 KiB) Viewed 4923 times

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:20 pm

19th April, Waterford Heath just north of Hertford. Target Grizzled Skipper on same date as first seen in 2009. Just one seen in south pit at map ref TL317149

Map link

http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=53 ... 14950&lm=0

Pictures show the sandy bank where seen, a typical habitat, plus a record shot taken from about one light-year away.

Hazy sunshine, temperature 14 deg C

Jack
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10-04-19-049-GSHabitat.jpg
10-04-19-049-GSHabitat.jpg (53.78 KiB) Viewed 4894 times
10-04-19-046-GrizzledSkipper.jpg
10-04-19-046-GrizzledSkipper.jpg (50.01 KiB) Viewed 4894 times

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:49 pm

20th April was not entirely successful. I drove the 22 miles to the Stetchworth side of Devils Dyke in the hope of Green Hairstreaks (TL629606). I had foolishly not realised just how cold it would feel in the 15 knot wind. No butterflies and fewer Pasque Flowers than previous years.
PasqueFlower.jpg
I returned to nearer home where a path sheltered from the wind by a small wood gave three GV Whites, one Orange Tip, one Brimstone and a very worn Peacock.
2010-04-20-034-GVWhite.jpg


Jack

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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:39 pm

[size=150]21st April
Pushing my new Lumix FZ38 to the limit.
OrangeTip.jpg
This was taken from fully 3 metres away, so while nothing like as sharp and detailed as a good close-up, it does illustrate the potential for getting records shots from great distances. Guy: line up a Large Tortoiseshell in Switzerland and I’ll see if I can image it from here.

First Holly Blue of 2010. In flight over my garden in South Cambridgeshire. No photos.

Jack

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:26 pm

22nd April

Local in morning then a few stops on the way to Stevenage station to collect my wife. My first Speckled wood of the year.

But this Small Tortoiseshell was more interesting.
ST.jpg
It seemed brand spanking new (just one minor nick in wing) but it can’t have been (or can it?) This is not the first time I have seen an apparently fresh Small Tort in the latter part of April. It raises questions.

1. Did it enter hibernation last year very promptly before becoming worn?
2. Could it be an offspring of last winter’s hibernators? (seems very unlikely unless an early immigrant)
3. Is it remotely possible that like the Queen of Spain, STs occasionally overwinters as a pupa?

The butterfly was healthy and active but was engrossed in nectaring on Ground Ivy and Dandelions, behaviour somewhat different from other STs I have seen this spring which are more intent on basking than feeding.

Jack

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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:31 pm

24th April

Cambridgeshire Devils Dyke at Burwell Cutting.
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=55 ... 65260&lm=0

Good numbers of Green Hairstreak (difficult to know how many repeat sightings but perhaps a dozen in total)
GreenH.jpg
First Small Copper of the year
SmallCopper.jpg


Later to Fulbourn Fen where the usual whites and Speckled Woods.
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=55 ... 55945&lm=0

Jack

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:49 pm

25th April

I am topping up 17 year old daughter Polly’s driving lessons - the professionals (BSM) did the initial donkey work. Apart from one instance when she tried to emulate Lewis Hamilton at a roundabout, all went well – she should be taking her driving test soon.

But then the butterflies after lunch. Perfect weather for a visit to Waterford Heath just north of Hertford where I had seen a single Grizzled Skipper a week ago. Not a thing today (apart from one Peacock).

Off to West Sussex on Monday, hopefully for Duke of B, Pearl Bordered, Dingy and some more Grizzlies.

Jack

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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Padfield » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:26 pm

Jack Harrison wrote:Guy: line up a Large Tortoiseshell in Switzerland and I’ll see if I can image it from here.


So the Lumix can actually bend light, Jack?

You're getting very good pictures with it, though, I must admit. I enjoy the thread.

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

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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:13 pm

I drove to West Sussex on Monday 26th April.

Tried a Grizzled / Dingy Skipper site in the heart of the South Downs but with cloudy skies, I didn’t see a single butterfly let alone a skipper.

A fascination for me as a retired professional pilot was to see this light aircraft parked on a farm. The landing area is small and steep and hemmed in on all sides by hills. The pilot is either very skilled or mad – or both. You would never have got me landing on that airstrip.
10-04-26-010-aircraft.jpg
The sun came out later and I visited a Pearl Bordered Fritillary locality where I had seen one or two in 2008 (in the 1970s there was a thriving colony). Again very little was flying, just a couple of whites and Peacock.

Tuesday 27th
In the morning, I again went to the PB Frit spot. This time I saw three Peacocks, two GV Whites and an Orange Tip. This was an improvement on yesterday but even so, why so few butterflies? I then moved on to Mill Hill near Shoreham in the certainty of finding Grizzlies and Dingies. Extraordinary! Where I had seen them in previous years, not a single sighting! I learnt later that I was almost but not quite in the right spot. Nevertheless, there was not much else about. The inevitable Peacocks (what a spring they are having!) just a handful of Brimstones despite vast amounts of small buckthorn bushes, the odd white and a solitary Speckled Wood. Later I moved on to Devils Dyke but by this time, a cutting sea breeze had set in reducing the temperature to about 14 degrees. I returned to my hotel where the same “saddo” as the previous evening was propping up the bar playing a handheld computer game – he was still at it on Wednesday evening.

Wednesday 28th was a much better day. I met up with Neil Hulme (aka Sussex Kipper) and three other enthusiasts. Neil took us to a woodland site near Arundel where the conservation effort he has organised has clearly paid dividends; he has rescued the Duke of Burgundy in the nick of time.
10-04-28-147-DofB.jpg
10-04-28-200-DofB.jpg
10-04-28-170-moderncollectors.jpg


Neil suddenly announced that this was the time to get out his little tool. The rest of us were relieved to see him produce a small pair of scissors to cut off some photo-spoiling foliage.

Neil’s memory card became full. He was lent another card by Colin but didn’t know how to format it (Neil is a professional scientist, but I do empathise with his phobia about camera technicalities – I haven’t bothered to learn how to send a text message!) Anyway, I put the new card in my identical Lumix FZ38, formatted it (I can do some things!) and Neil was on his way again.


We traipsed thorough the woods to a remote spot where “we will see Pearl Bordered”. I claimed the first sighting in Sussex for 2010, but nobody really believed me (I too was far from confident) but within a minute or so, confirmation was forthcoming. We chased the little fellows around the clearing but soon realised that they had a semi-regular route and periodically stopped off to refuel at patches of Dandelions. The simplest way to photograph them was to stay near some flowers and wait. Adjoining the little clearing is a large newly coppiced area. Within two or three years, this could easily become the best PBF locality in the south of England - the potential is quite excellent.
10-04-28-278-PBFritillary.jpg
10-04-28-273-PBFritillary.jpg


The flog back to the car was tiring. My arthritis is not good at the moment and that coupled with being significantly overweight meant that several stops short rests were needed. I can’t do much about the first problem but i really should about the second.

It had been a brilliant day. I even managed my first photo on a Speckled Wood of 2010 – actually sitting on wood. The one regret was failing to get a picture of the solitary Holly Blue – I hate the others who got some lovely shots of a pristine female.

The weather went downhill, so I returned to Cambridgeshire early on the Thursday.

Jack

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Sat May 01, 2010 4:09 pm

1st May

Much of the morning was spent dealing with a backlog of photos. Came across this piccie from “Wonder Wednesday” (28th April).
10-04-28-160-DofB.jpg
Later in the day I continued supervising daughter Polly’s learner-driving on some tricky narrow country lanes. (Driving Schools never seem to cover rural driving with hazards such as horses, cyclists, ramblers who lurk round blind corners). I had planned a crafty bit of reversing practice on an unmade-up track at the entrance to a small wood. Unfortunately, there were no fewer than six cars already parked there. So a change of plan was in order. I showed Polly how to find Orange Tip eggs. I set the challenge at a dozen but she fell one short, albeit in a mere ten minutes of searching.
Polly+OTs.jpg

I am still pleased with my Panasonic Lumix FZ38. The lack of an articulated screen (as on many Canons) is less of an irritation than I had anticipated. The fitting of a Flipbac
Flipbac.jpg
(link: http://flipbac.com/) mirror attachment gives a reasonable (but not perfect) alternative for those ground level shots.

I had been disappointed with the noise in the dark areas of the images from the FZ38, even at ISO80. Problem has been solved by using RAW and noise is now effectively non-existent. I use the SilkyPix software (bundled with the camera) to read the RAW files. It’s easy enough to use once you have worked out how to do it – instructions are however someone meagre.

Jack

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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Wed May 05, 2010 7:00 pm

5th May
First butterflying since the weekend. Today I arranged to meet up with Nick Ballard in Mill Road cemetery, Cambridge, the target being Holly Blue.

The sun broke through the medium level cloud as I arrived and I was in luck the moment I went through the entrance with a single Holly Blue; sadly it was too high to photograph. I saw three or four more, got a record shot of a female (she had just been egg-laying) from about three metres range.
10-05-05-013-HollyBlue.jpg
Nick arrived during his lunch break. He showed me the potential hot spots in the cemetery but by this time, the cloud had filled in. We were about to leave when an accidental brush against a bush disturbed a Holly Blue. This was in the area I had taken the record shot – probably the same individual. The butterfly was scarcely awake and allowed close approach, but she did not open her wings this time.
10-05-05-023-HollyBlue.jpg
Coffee and snack at a nearby cafe, Nick returned to work and I made my way back to the Park & Ride.

Jack

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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Sat May 08, 2010 8:55 am

8th May
I have become jealous reading about Wood Whites, PB Frits, Dukes, Dingies and so on. With the exception of a brief interlude when I saw those Holly Blues in the "Dead Centre" 8)of Cambridge last Wednesday, it has been unremittingly cold with a biting wind since last Saturday. Today carries on in the same vein.

The moth trap has produced an average of just two specimens per night. The best has perhaps been solitary Muslin last night. The antennae of the male are fantastic when seen at close quarters.
10-05-08-003-antennae.jpg
It was so dark under the overcast even at 0900 hours when I took the picture that use of flash was essential.

Jack

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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Thu May 13, 2010 5:17 pm

13th May

At last a better day. I arrived at Wood Walton Marsh (TL213810) not called Fen as earlier posting at 1015 hours with a temperature of only 10 degs. Wood Walton Fen is a tiny reserve squeezed between the main east coast rail line and a minor road.

NOTE: Click on an image to see better resolution 800 x 600 picture.

I was soon in luck with Orange Tips, GV Whites and then the target, Grizzled Skipper
10-05-13-022-GrizzledSkipper.jpg
(female)In addition I saw one male.

This Orange Tip was captured at the moment of take off
10-05-13-042-OrangeTip.jpg

I was joined later by Richard Mitchell. He has the biggest lens I have ever seen!
10-05-13-059-RichardMitchell.jpg
Cloud cover was intermittent and after a couple of hours at Wood Walton – on Richard’s advice – I went to Twywell Hills and Dales.

Cloud cover remained a nuisance and initially I was out of luck apart from one possible sighting of a Dingy Skipper. Then I met Roger Warren who took me to the best spot, much further on at Twywell (SP947777) than I had been previously. We soon spotted a Dingy Skipper. Then it clouded over again. Roger advised where to look for resting skippers and he quickly found this male Grizzled on a dead flower head of Wild Carrot (we think that is what it was)
10-05-13-071-GrizzledSkipper.jpg
Three or four more Grizzlies were seen and were relatively easy to photograph. Dingies were a different story although we did see four or five. I finally got on to this one
10-05-13-112-DingySkipper.jpg
The mechanical damage to the right wings suggests a predator attack while resting with its wings wrapped round a dead flower head. What might the attacker have been?

So a good day, but still no decent picture of a Dingy Skipper this year.

All photos taken with Panasonic Lumix FZ38. For the small skippers, I used a +2 achromatic close-up lens.

Jack
Last edited by Jack Harrison on Mon May 17, 2010 5:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Fri May 14, 2010 3:01 pm

14th May
I had considered joining Rob Parker and his Suffolk BC friends for a Dingy search in King Forest, Breckland. But a visit to the doctor to pick up some medication and then some car light bulb replacements to be fitted didn’t quite work out as planned. The right side rear indicator flashed red not amber!

I recall a similar problem my Dad had years ago. He got his car back from the garage and found that when he tried to use the right semaphore indicator, the horn sounded. When he sounded the horn, the left indicator shot out (or something like that). Dad was cross and his humour was not improved when Mum and I couldn’t stop laughing.

So to butterflies. I decided to have an hour in my local patch in South Cambridgeshire. Saw my first Small Heath of year (this is a very reliable site), a Holly Blue high up in some trees and several Orange Tips, the target species for the lens. Male Orange Tips are always very difficult as they rarely land in their endless quest for females. But the weather was co-operative. I would follow one until the sun went behind a cloud; it landed almost immediately. I would close on the resting butterfly meanwhile keeping one eye on the cloud. Within a few seconds of the sun coming out again, he would slowly open his wings and for no more than about half a minute, would give excellent photo opportunities. Then he was away again. Pictures show one resting and then as he woke up again.
10-05-14-OrangeTip.jpg
(click on image for better resolution)
Jack
Last edited by Jack Harrison on Fri May 14, 2010 4:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Zonda » Fri May 14, 2010 4:05 pm

Yes Jack, that is exactly how i shot my last OT. As the sun comes out, they open their wings. :wink:
Cheers,,, Zonda.

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Jack Harrison

Postby Jack Harrison » Fri May 14, 2010 6:04 pm

deleted Jack
Last edited by Jack Harrison on Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:18 am, edited 2 times in total.


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