Monday 31 May 2010

Wall and Adonis at Mill Hill

Cloudy but dry afternoon so off to Mill Hill for Adonis Blue and Wall butterflies
I found my first Wall of the year quite quickly by the privet on the slope and Adonis Blues were all over the slope from top to bottom. 
 female Adonis
Mill Hill currently is all about Adonis Blues so here is a movie of my AB images. 

Dingies and Grizzlies were still around but my lens ignored them..
Clover, vetch and speedwell at the top of the hill

Fighting Blues and a foxy den

As the weather was good I made the final trip to Harting Down for the Duke of Burgundy survey. There were none, but I found Common Blues fighting, three were tumbling in the air at one stage.
the winner
Two of them spent five minutes battling on the ground before the third one joined in the bundle. I spotted the backside of a fox disappearing below me at an overgrown little dell I hadn’t explored before and found its den with the entrance strewn with feathers.
There some Grizzled and Dingy Skippers, Orange Tips, a lacewing, Small Heaths and Green-veined Whites.
Burnet Companion moth and Speckled Wood
I called in at Brandy Hole Copse and Rewell Wood on the way back where I found a Pearl Bordered Fritillary (next to yellow broom above), Speckled Woods and many Speckled Yellow moths nectaring on bluebells (top).
White nettle and Herb-Robert
White Campion
above: Beautiful Demoiselles (Calopteryx virgo) with dark wings were flying around the bushes on Harting Down, Cinnabar moth; Yellow flags at the Brandy Hole pond which was teeming with tadpoles; Silver-ground Carpet moth and log pile at Rewell Wood.

Friday 28 May 2010

Rhododendrons, azaleas, Dragons Green and blues

Sue missed the Leonardslee Gardens trip last week with her cold so we took Penny and saw the grounds in all their glory. They have been sold and close at the end of June.
This unusual primula grew beside a pond

We had an excellent lunch in the garden at the George and Dragon, Dragons Green then visited Warnham Reserve where I was able to put my first butterfly, a Common Blue, in front of the new lens with damselflies as a bonus.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Siggie went for a run

This morning was wet, good news for the ‘green’ which has been brown recently, but not for a trial run for the new Sigma lens. 
Fortunately the sun appeared this afternoon so I cut loose and headed for Angmering Park. 
Not a butterfly in sight, but plenty of flowers and insects so I put it through its paces with these results.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

The Dream Machine

After weeks of research, talking to photographers, looking at butterfly and nature photography forums, reading reviews and user ratings I finally decided on my new outfit. Half of it was available immediately from Park Cameras at Burgess Hill so we drove there and I came out beaming with my new toy, a Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG Macro lens, Nikon fit. I can use it on my D40 while I wait for a Nikon D90 body to arrive from Amazon.
Till now I have been using my 200mm micro-Nikkor from the 1980s. A fantastic lens, but does not work on auto exposure with the low end of the Nikon digital range D40 so I was losing a lot of shots reviewing results and reshooting if the butterfly stayed put…
The Nikon D90 should double my pixels to 12MP and give me a better review screen amongst other things. I can then crop subjects from within the frame and still have a decent number of pixels left for a quality large image.
I went out on the balcony and shot the mimulus (musk) and pansies and the orchids in the lounge to put it through its paces.
Thanks to everyone who indulged me during my exploration, especially Neil, Sheryl, Barb, Ian, Tom, Bob who are all accomplished photographers in the Butterfly, Underwater and Commercial photography worlds.