Willrow

This forum contains a topic per member, each representing a personal diary.
User avatar
Willrow
Posts: 825
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: South Wales
Contact:

Willrow

Postby Willrow » Thu May 29, 2014 11:51 am

I've finally decided to take the plunge and join all you other enthusiastic guys & gals with a Personal Diary :) I probably won't be as upto date or quite as regular with my butterfly adventures as many of you but I've got to start somewhwere so I'd better do so now by catching up with a few belated May reports...before the month ends!!!

Breakheart Quarry, Near Dursley, Gloucestershire. My first visit to this unusual location was a rather disappointing one with not much happening, my latest visit earlier this month was in complete contrast with at least 50 Grizzled Skipper seen, many nectaring on the plentiful bugle that grows on the fringes of the old quarry area, the species is not at all common in south Wales and its always nice to spend time with it and hopefully learn a little more.


P1110001Grizzled Skipper2 (Copy).JPG
Wherever the bugle grew there were Grizzlies



Regards bugle I was surprised (and delighted!!!) to discover a rare white variant among the countless usual blueish/purple specimens.

P1110063White Bugle (Rare)2 (Copy).JPG
Lucky find or was I being naturally observant?


Many of the Grizzlies were recently emerged and make for 'standout' photo material, providing they pose nicely, the intruding grass blade marred this image somewhat though :roll:

P1110047Grizzled Skipper2 (Copy).JPG
Mint fresh Grizzled Skipper


I cannot remember Dingy Skipper having a better year, I've seen them in incredibly good numbers on all my travels and this quarry site was much to their liking.

P1100989Dingy Skipper Paired2 (Copy).JPG
I saw several 'in cop' Dingy in the quarry


Stinchcombe Hill, Gloucestershire. Just a mile or so up the road from Breakheart Quarry is Stinchcombe Hill, situated most unusually alongside two different local golf clubs and the road to the generously sized public car park dissects them...so be aware of the off target golf balls :shock: The views from the hill are superb and on a clear day (which I had :) ) you can see the Quantocks in Somerset and the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, while the Severn flood plain spreads below with both the Severn bridges visible, then in the far middle distance are the Black Mountains just over the Welsh border...spectacular :D

P1110227Stinchcombe Hill2 (Copy).jpg
View south-east from Stinchcombe Hill


Several Brown Argus were seen on the steep slopes along with the much overlooked Small Heath which I happen to think is a delightful butterfly especially when fresh!

P1110222Small Heath2 (Copy).jpg
This Small Heath was a right poser!!!


P1110150Small Heath2 (Copy).jpg
Small Heath at lunch...


Among the day-flying Moths seen were literally dozens of Speckled Yellow and I discovered what appeared to be a roost in a small clearing among the scrub with at least a dozen insects settled on the grasses, this provided a leisurely opportunity to take a few photo's, I usually see this moth along woodland rides and it can be a bit flighty and wary, this species is also having a very good year, I make no apologies for liking my day-flying moths :wink:

P1110266Speckled Yellow2 (Copy).JPG
Dozens of Speckled yellow were seen on the hill


You cannot fail to be delighted by the wonderful array of wild flowers that May presents for us to feast our eyes upon, the pink variant of Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris has a delicacy I feel is distinctly female and I can never resist photographing it yet again... :)

P1110273Pink Columbine2 (Copy).JPG
Columbine in pink, what a beauty!!!


This bit ends my first tentative efforts at a belated Personal Diary I shall try to complete my May reports over the next day or so, but if it stops raining...I'm outta here folks :lol:

Bill :D

"When in doubt...venture out"

PS. Thanks David M for your useful bit of help :wink:
Why not visit my website at http://www.dragonfly-days.co.uk

User avatar
MikeOxon
Posts: 2353
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 2:06 pm
Location: Oxfordshire
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby MikeOxon » Thu May 29, 2014 12:37 pm

A good start, Bill; I look forward to reading more.

Mike

User avatar
Willrow
Posts: 825
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: South Wales
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby Willrow » Thu May 29, 2014 2:13 pm

Thanks Mike...you shall go down in UK Butterflies history as my first official Personal Diary replier :wink: :lol:

Bill :D

"When in doubt...venture out"
Why not visit my website at http://www.dragonfly-days.co.uk

User avatar
David M
Posts: 7808
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Willrow

Postby David M » Thu May 29, 2014 4:17 pm

Welcome aboard, Bill. I'm certain your diary will provide fascinating reading.

User avatar
Lee Hurrell
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 2183
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 7:33 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Willrow

Postby Lee Hurrell » Thu May 29, 2014 6:51 pm

I too look forward to further Willrow escapades. You're off to a good start!

Best wishes,

Lee
To butterfly meadows, chalk downlands and leafy glades; to summers eternal.

User avatar
Maximus
Posts: 962
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:30 pm

Re: Willrow

Postby Maximus » Thu May 29, 2014 7:13 pm

Nice stuff Bill, lovely photos, I look forward to further installments :D

User avatar
Neil Freeman
Posts: 2553
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:25 pm
Location: Solihull, West Midlands

Re: Willrow

Postby Neil Freeman » Thu May 29, 2014 8:19 pm

Hi Bill,

Good to see you have taken the plunge with your diary. Great start and looking forward to further instalments :D

Cheers,

Neil.

User avatar
Willrow
Posts: 825
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: South Wales
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby Willrow » Thu May 29, 2014 8:54 pm

David, Lee, Max and Neil, your all gentlemen of the first order, thank you for the encouraging responses :wink:

Bill :D

"When in doubt...venture out"
Why not visit my website at http://www.dragonfly-days.co.uk

User avatar
Wurzel
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 5775
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:44 pm
Location: Salisbury
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby Wurzel » Fri May 30, 2014 7:59 am

Great start to your PD Willrow, especially the Dinghy cop shot :mrgreen: Cracking that is! :D Looking forward to the next installment 8)

Have a goodun

Wurzel

User avatar
Willrow
Posts: 825
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: South Wales
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby Willrow » Fri May 30, 2014 8:55 am

Thanks kindly Wurz, I shall do my best not to disappoint :wink:

Bill :D

"When in doubt...venture out"
Why not visit my website at http://www.dragonfly-days.co.uk

User avatar
Willrow
Posts: 825
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: South Wales
Contact:

Willrow

Postby Willrow » Fri May 30, 2014 4:26 pm

I'm spending so much time reading everyone's superb Personal Diaries that I can't get my own done :lol: but I'll try now :)

Haugh Woods, Herefordshire - May Bank Holiday Monday. I'd promised myself a visit to this splendid location to search out some Wood White and check on the current situation with the Pearl-bordered Fritillary for a couple of weeks and with our friends at the Met Office promising us a reasonable days weather I ventured forth. I had hardly got out of the car when a welcoming committee of 10,000+ midges descended on me :roll: :x last year I was 'ticked' at this woods and I was well covered up to prevent it happening again, but boy are those midges pesky...still..let's get on. The best Wood White spots are to be found on the lower (warmer) areas, especially along the herbage rich rides, it was here that I saw and counted over 80 insects, with several pairs 'in-cop' and reasonably accomodating about having their photo's taken :oops: shameless species!!!

IMG_0566Wood White2 (Copy).jpg
The shameless pair!!!


I became aware of the generally good condition of the Wood White as I suppose they are rather amiable insects, not given to beating each other up...shameless but sensible then :wink:

IMG_0602Wood White2 (Copy).jpg
Pretty on pink...


Venturing off track to investigate some likely moth habitat I came across a nice fresh Angle Shades which always draws attention to itself unless it's hidden among partially dead or dying thistles, different story then.

IMG_0557Angle Shades2 (Copy).JPG
Angle Shades a standout macro moth


Heading towards prime Pearl-bordered Fritillary territory I was fairly optimistic about seeing reasonable numbers, the Ewyas Harold site for the species is not too far away and I had seen healthy numbers there recently - worrying to spend a few hours and only count six individuals at Haugh :shock: could I be too late I wondered, don't think so, noticeably the bugle was in short supply compared to recent years and the favoured ride verges looked too overgrown and the coppiced areas nearby were completely smothered in Wood Spurge much to the disadvantage of violets, I think it needs looking at pronto :cry:

P1110765Pearl-bordered Fritillary2 (Copy).jpg
One of just six P-b Frits seen during the entire day


Referring to Wood Spurge, I was very pleased to see several Nb catergory (rare) Drab Looper moths nectaring on it, this is the moths larval food plant and I had hoped to see one on the spurge - nice :)

P1110979Drab Looper on Wood Spurge2 (Copy).JPG
Drab Looper is a rare UK moth


Speckled Wood is having a very iffy year, it could just be me, but I have not seen them in anything like good numbers, my total in this prime woodland site was just eight for the day :!:

P1110915Speckled Wood2 (Copy).jpg


My Wood White count and observations continued at a leisurely pace until lunchtime and a well deserved break sat on a log, have you noticed that as soon as you settle the insects start posing...so I put my lunch to one side and took a few more shots :roll:

P1110766Wood White2 (Copy).jpg
Looks like a date is being arranged!!!


Whenever I'm searching woodland rides at this time of year I'm aware that Scarlet Tiger larvae is likely and I was not to be denied on this fine day discovering a nice specimen among the herbage.

P1110921Scarlet Tiger Larvae2 (Copy).JPG
One of my favourite moth caterpillars


Apart from the midges the whole day was a good one, the sun shone 8) for most of the time and apart from the concern about the Pearl-bordered Fritillary I saw and photographed lots of Wood White and a goodly assortment of moth species, Speckled Yellow were again in tremendous numbers throughout the woods, to the extent that I admit taking them rather for granted, something I have never done before. Several lovely specimens of Greater Butterfly Orchid were seen in the same place as usual, perhaps fewer than in years past, they can prove an enigmatic plant though, but that's orchids :?

P1110956Wood White2 (Copy).jpg
Lovely on yellow...


When I got back to the car I had used about 200 hazel switches to defend myself against the bl**d* midges which were now organised into squadrons and attacking from on high, ignoring them I had a cup of cold coffee, my last Kit-Kat - and then I headed home a happy midge-bitten butterflyer :) :wink:

Bill :D

"When in doubt...venture out"
Why not visit my website at http://www.dragonfly-days.co.uk

User avatar
Willrow
Posts: 825
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: South Wales
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby Willrow » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:55 pm

Trying to make the most of these long early summer evenings and with the regular showers making things a bit frustrating, I still decided to risk the showers one evening last week and try out my Nikon D700 and Nikkor 105mm Micro lens for a change on the Marsh Fritillary at the Aberbargoed Grasslands NNR, Monmouthshire (Gwent) leaving my regular use Panasonic Lumix FZ150 at home, however, I'd forgotten that my Nikon kit comes with a free weightlifting course :o and I also missed the excellent vari-angle LCD screen of the FZ150, the alternative for getting some uncomfortably low level shots was a Giotto's tripod and cable release. The D700 is reknown for it's good low light capabilities and so it proved on this occasion.

My direct route to the core pasture that hosts the Marsh Fritillary was blocked by cattle and in particular Triton the bull, usually he's quite a placid fellow but on this occasion he was with his harem and many of the cows had calves, so discretion replaced valour and I did a ten minute diversion to avoid any mayhem...cos' its difficult trying to leg it at speed with a housebrick and tripod attached to your person :roll: but its an ill wind etc, and my little detour took me directly to several Marshies nectaring their supper on Bluebells and even allowing for poor light I managed a few reasonably nice shots :)

_KIM2122Marsh Fritillary3 (Copy).jpg
Tripod and cable release was used to counter my natural camera shake!!!


_KIM2081Marsh Fritillary2 (Copy).jpg
The light levels were very iffy the D700/105lens did okay.


_KIM2085Marsh Fritillary2 (Copy).jpg
Nikon D700 coupled with Nikkor 105mm Micro lens


Fortunately the reserve is close to my home, I can't say I intend lugging the Nikon kit around for a day at any location I might visit, I've been more than satisfied with the results obtained with the Lumix FZ150 and it's super light portability, I've recommended this bridge camera to loads of DSLR users in the field and although they seem skeptical I've met a few who have tried them and won't return to having one shoulder lower than the other (you can have therapy for that though :lol: ) here are a few images taken at the reserve earlier on in May with the FZ150, and their typical record shots from this fine Leica lensed camera.

P1100941Small White2 (Copy).JPG
One of the Panasonic Lumix FZ150 record shots


P1120041Marsh Fritillary2 (Copy).JPG
Straight forward shot for FZ150 in lowish light


P1120087Marsh Fritillary2 (Copy).JPG
The FZ150 handled this Marshie/background shot okay


On my return back along the path I noticed that Triton had led his harem to shelter under the trees out from the heavy showers (the wimp :roll: ) and my path was now open without another wet detour, by now it was getting decidely dark and the time was heading towards 9pm, a productive couple of hours methinks...no bull :wink:

Bill :D

"When in doubt...venture out"
Why not visit my website at http://www.dragonfly-days.co.uk

User avatar
Neil Freeman
Posts: 2553
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:25 pm
Location: Solihull, West Midlands

Re: Willrow

Postby Neil Freeman » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:26 pm

Hi Bill, more great reports and photos :D

All the photos in my diary are with my trusty FZ150, I absolutely agree about the usefulness of the screen, saves the knees a bit but also extremely useful for those high up shots at full stretch.

Cheers,

Neil.

User avatar
Maximus
Posts: 962
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:30 pm

Re: Willrow

Postby Maximus » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:04 pm

Great reports and photos in your last couple of posts Bill, lovely Wood White and Marsh Fritillary images. Both cameras have their plus points as your pictures illustrate, DLSR, heavy but gives superb image quality, but not great depth of field. Lumix gives portability, great image quality in good light and brilliant depth of field!

Mike

User avatar
David M
Posts: 7808
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Willrow

Postby David M » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:44 pm

You are filling your boots with Marshies this year, Bill.

Nice images once again.

User avatar
Lee Hurrell
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 2183
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 7:33 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Willrow

Postby Lee Hurrell » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:05 pm

I love the first Marsh with the D700 and the last one with the FZ150, Bill. Brilliant!

Lee
To butterfly meadows, chalk downlands and leafy glades; to summers eternal.

User avatar
Wurzel
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 5775
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:44 pm
Location: Salisbury
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby Wurzel » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:43 pm

Great shots Willrow :D I get a bit confused with all the Lumix numbers - is the FZ150 an older version of the FZ200 and a newer version of the FZ38, and do you need a special lens? :?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

User avatar
Willrow
Posts: 825
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: South Wales
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby Willrow » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:04 am

Thanks so much Neil, Mike, David, Lee and Wurz, those are really nice comments :wink:

Wurzel wrote:Great shots Willrow :D I get a bit confused with all the Lumix numbers - is the FZ150 an older version of the FZ200 and a newer version of the FZ38, and do you need a special lens? :?

Have a goodun

Wurzel


The FZ150 was the model before the current FZ200, the FZ series has evolved in model sequences of fifty; FZ100, FZ150, FZ200 and the FZ250 cannot be too far off now, the FZ150 model is getting a bit dated now, but still a 'humdinger' among bridge camera's, probably down to the superb Leica Vario-Elmarit lens. The latest FZ200 has a f2.8 aperture throughout its range, making it probably unique amongst it's brand competing peers...so perhaps its time to start saving ready for a new FZ250 now Wurz :wink: :lol:

Supplementary lenses are available by Panasonic, Raynox etc and there are many other brand alternatives for the FZ series, though I think the macro is more than good enough in camera without hard earned cash going on such extras - that's unless you enjoy playing with such bits and bobs :)...its your call!!!

Regards,

Bill :D

"When in doubt...venture out"
Why not visit my website at http://www.dragonfly-days.co.uk

User avatar
Wurzel
Stock Contributor
Stock Contributor
Posts: 5775
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:44 pm
Location: Salisbury
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby Wurzel » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:14 pm

Cheers for the info Willrow :D I'm still able to carry my Nikon without any problems but I like the sound of the FZ150 so I'll have to start saving for it once the house is renovated - mind you by then they'll have probably brought out the FZ950 :shock: :roll:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

User avatar
Willrow
Posts: 825
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: South Wales
Contact:

Re: Willrow

Postby Willrow » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:40 am

Wurzel wrote:Cheers for the info Willrow :D I'm still able to carry my Nikon without any problems but I like the sound of the FZ150 so I'll have to start saving for it once the house is renovated - mind you by then they'll have probably brought out the FZ950 :shock: :roll:

Have a goodun

Wurzel


:lol: :lol: Love it...but yeah, we've got to get our priorities right Wurz :wink:

Bill :D

"When in doubt...venture out"
Why not visit my website at http://www.dragonfly-days.co.uk


Return to “Personal Diaries”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests