It is a miserable one today. A cold wind has blown in from somewhere and brought lots of cloud with it.
It is a good day to demonstrate my Butterfly handling technique. They will be at my mercy.
The poor little things can’t do anything about it, they need sunshine, they need to be warm to fly and they will be very lethargic today.
The first butterfly that we found was a female Orange Tip.
The first trick is the weather. I have been out at two o’clock on a sunny afternoon and can not get anywhere near them. I am already very close to this one and she would have flown away if she could, she is too cold and I can do what I want with her.
Now. You must not touch her in any way, only she may touch you. She is very easy to break and we are big and clumsy.
Just put your finger right in front of her, minding her antennae and legs and just depress the flower a little bit.
You can talk about politics or the economy but not war, it has to be gentle depression.
As the flower gives way under her feet she will step forward onto your finger and once her front feet are on you can just roll your finger under her and you have her. I don’t exactly have this one where I wanted. I wanted her on my finger tip for display purposes but she has crawled onto my knuckle and I can’t move her. This will do.
I have picked this one up because she was in deep shade, I am going to move her into the sunshine. As soon as she feels the sun she will open her wings and bask and she will fly away. It will only take about two seconds for her to warm up enough to fly so I have to get lucky with my photographs.
The pictures aren’t great but never mind we will try again later.
You can only do this with the white ones (any of the whites). This little Speckled Wood was flitting all over the place, a little bit of cloud doesn’t bother him.
I have never been able to approach or pick up a Speckled Wood, or any of the other dark ones. Sometimes they will land on me by chance and of course if you raise them as your own you can release them but that is as good as it gets.
Now I am just going to leave the butterflies for a moment because I have noticed the seed pods of that flower she was sitting on and I want those photographs. It is Garlic Mustard.
I have just noticed another flower.
Have you ever wondered where Primroses go when they die?
Hmmm… a small lack of floral compassion perhaps?
Anyway I have and I care. I want to know. So I am choosing a nice female plant with pin flowers…
Perhaps if I sewed them back together and passed electricity through them, then I could reanimate them. Now which bit went with which?
Back to the butterflies and we have found another Orange Tip, this one is a male.
Just in case there is anyone in the world who wonders how I can tell the male from the female. Well, it is only the male who actually has orange tips to his wings (On the inside). With a few years of practice and an element of expertise in this field absolutely anyone can tell the difference.
Okay he is in the shade but the whole world is in the shade, the sun is behind a cloud and we are in the open this time. Plus I would much prefer to photograph him on a plant than in my hand. This time he is on Cow Parsley.
Cow Parsley is absolutely brilliant and provides a mass spectacle to rival the Bluebells. It really is beautiful but we will do that in a bit.
What I am going to do is stand beside him and wait for the sun to come out again, it will take twenty five minutes and then I will fail 🙂
There is a reason why I like to do this sort of stuff alone. Sometimes if I am waiting for a bird or animal I might wait for hours, I sustain myself by imagining the shot that I might get if everything works.
I like to walk with other people and talk about flowers and nature and stuff but I don’t try and take photographs. I have tried and they always say, “Go on, get what you need, I am happy,” but I can only get guilt, maybe I will do it once for twenty minutes or so but then when I want to do it again, I just can’t.
Nobody just wants to stand and look at me for hours on end… almost nobody.
This is the reason that I work with an Air Head. (I couldn’t have a better companion/assistant)
She understands the importance of botanical research, she understands my interest in entomology, she understands that big game hunters have to make a living just as butterfly collectors do and she will make any sacrifice. She is priceless.
(He never finds them)
Best Dog in the world, that one.
Here we go.
I will have to wind this up now or my daily post will take two days to write. Take care.