Favourite Shots of the Year No1 ~ Butterflies

I ended up deleting a lot of posts because I left Flickr and closed my account. So after neglecting my blog for a while……
I am also sorting through my own favourite photo’s of the year to put in my journal. So here are some of my personal favourites starting with butterflies:
Brown Argus taken in Shropshire

Brown Argus

Common Blue taken in Shropshire

Common Blue

White Admiral taken in Shropshire

White Admiral

Clouded Yellow taken in Greece

Clouded Yellow Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell taken in my garden. It was lovely to see these in good numbers this year

Amongst the Asters

I am not sure how many categories I will end up with……………;)

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A Day Without Rain

Well it is raining now…but, at least we had a lovely day earlier for a change. The day started when I looked out and saw a bird on the telephone wire that I didn’t recognise. In fact I still don’t know what it was, it looked a lot like a spotted flycatcher but had red tail feathers! However, this was my cue to grab my camera and get out whilst I could 🙂
The first butterfly I saw was one that I thought I saw a week or so ago but, it was in flight. Otherwise this was a first for me and not a familiar sight in Shropshire:

Marbled White

Meanwhile, I was treated to an amazing display by the local Kestral who normally disapears quite quickly when folks are about. But, I walked slowly and it was quiet up there today.

Despite the recent weather, the field is full of Brown butterflies right now and here is Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, and Ringlet respectively:

And, to add just a little more colour, there were a few burnet moths flying:

Finally, as I arrived this thrush was out catching worms so I stood a while

What a great day!

Return to Skiathos

Well barely as I arrived back and it was time to go again…I seem like a right gad about but, this one had been planned for some time.
The Dragonflies and Butterflies in June are amazing so I had a wonderful time with my macro:

Last time, I only managed one very distant shot of a Goldenring dragonfly and I was pleased to have the opportunity to capture several this time.

Butterflies were plentiful and I like the light showing through the wings of this Cleopatra, showing off that lovely orange colour. I was lucky enough to have a couple of firsts too one of which was my first Large Tortoiseshell.

A closer look at a Silver Washed Fritillary:

As always there were an amazing array of other insects and I liked this Long Horn Beetle (strangalia maculata):

Although it was very distant, I had my first glimpse of a Blue Rock Thrush:

I also had the experience of seeing yet another Ant Lion, this one is Nemoptera sinuata:

Of course, there was also plenty of walking, beaches and lovely food. I will leave you with this shot of Kastro and gather together some more scenery for my next post 🙂

Skiathos in Springtime

As you may I have gathered by my lack of posts, I have been missing for a short while. It was somewhat spur of the moment but, the flights to Skiathos went down to a very good price and then my kind friend Yvonne invited me to stay for a week. Yvonne normally runs painting classes on the island but, is taking a break this year. Her blog is here and is a fascinating account of arts and culture of the island. Anyway, I jumped at the chance, who can resist an offer like that? I intended to go and paint too but, seeing the island so fresh and with so few tourists, I just had to go and explore. I did just have a tiny dabble one of the days….. this little watercolour sketch which was the view from my room.

I spent many happy hours sitting on this step. Every morning I watched a hornet come and peel a little bit of wood from one of the posts, roll it up very carefully and then fly off back to his nest. The birds became familiar with Great tits arriving in the morning and Goldfinches in the afternoon. On the flowers in the foreground, the Meadow brown butterflies danced all day.

Skiathos is a busy tourist destination and although you can find quiet places to visit even in high season, I was amazed to find myself walking down empty beaches. The sea is normally very calm in summer but, because they were experiencing a few storms after some lovely weather the week before, the sea was wild and beautiful.

The birdwatching was the best I have experienced. I was lucky enough to see Night Heron, Olivaceous Warbler, Temminck’s Stint to name but a few. I also finally managed to capture on camera a Male Red Backed Shrike which has been a mission for a couple of years!

Wild flowers were abundant and so fresh!

There were plenty of butterflies and I saw one or two to add to my ever-growing list on the island. I had brief glimpses of Two Tailed Pasha, Scarce Swallowtail and Cleopatra. The tiny little ones were starting to emerge and also a large Blue butterfly that I am unfamiliar with. Sadly no photo’s of these!I did get some nice shots of some fresh Mallow Skippers, such tiny little things:

and the very beautiful Southern White Admiral.

The dragonflies were emerging on a daily basis which provided hours of fun with my macro.

Finally, I have wanted to meet a gentleman who lives on the island for some time. Vasilis Korallis takes town and nature walks which run from Skiathos town. It was so lovely to finally meet him and get a copy of his book which has wonderful walks and is written with delightful humour. It is rare to read a reference type book and find yourself laughing out loud. I recommend it highly, further information can be found on Skiathorama. Incidentally, this new site is a project by some more friends on the island and is a wonderful site covering the flowers, nature, culture and artists of the island. Do take a look around while you are there. You will also find one or two of my photo’s 😉
Many, many thanks once again to Yvonne once again for her generosity in sharing her beautiful corner of Skiathos and providing me with an opportunity to discover more delights of my favourite Greek Island.

*Whispers, I will be back again soon………..*

The Nature of April

The nature of April here in the UK is showers! Despite an earlier warm week and some area’s of the UK experiencing drought conditions, here in Shropshire April has been pretty much as it usually is. It heralds the return of many old friends which I delight in seeing again. After several months of catching a rare glimpse of a butterfly, lots of insects emerge, the sound of the Chiffchaff is heard on their return from Africa and the first Spring flowers appear like magic.

Wood Sorrel

Different birds seem to be arriving daily and this week, I saw my first Swallow.

Despite the showers we have been out and about watching and listening to the new arrivals. The butterflies arrived very early on the South Coast but here in the Midlands my first spot of Speckled Woods was actually a few days later than last year. On the same day I caught the first glimpse of a Brimstone and Orange Tip. I normally have to wait a while for my first image of an Orange tip, they fly at an incredible rate. However, down by the river on Sunday, one rested a while under cloudy skies.

A little patience waiting for the cloud to move over was rewarded:

A little further afield just into Staffordshire on Saturday and this was the first Green Veined White:

Almost on cue, I spotted the first glimpses of the Cuckoo flower or Ladies Smock which is a favourite of both of these butterflies. It always fascinates me how nature know the right time!

Meanwhile, we have a pair of Robins feeding each other in the garden. How I would love to get a picture. For such a feisty bird, they are so gentle with each other!