Playing with Butterflies

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.

Orange tip butterflyThe 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, Β 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.Orange tip Butterfly 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.Β This will do.

Orange tip ButterflyIt is a butterfly Fizz.

It is a butterfly Fizz.

Orange tip ButterflyI 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.

Orange tip Butterfly

Orange tip Butterfly

Orange tip ButterflyAnd she has gone.

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.

Speckled WoodIt is simply because white reflects light and heat and dark colours like brown absorb it and the Speckled Wood warms up much easier than the Orange Tip and flies on much cooler days.

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.

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic MustardThank you for indulging me, I needed those photographs for my files.

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…

PrimroseI am going to perform a couple of autopsies on her dead sisters.




PrimroseVery interesting, this is how we find things out.

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.

Orange Tip

Orange TipI am not going to try and pick this one up. He is as docile as the female was and I could do what I wanted but….

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 πŸ™‚

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 Β 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.

PricelessOh dear, he is staring at a bush again. I think that he is looking for his marbles and we just have to wait.

(He never finds them)

Best Dog in the world, that one.

Here we go.

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

Orange TipThat’s a fail. I have taken much better pictures than that. Never mind, the Dog got walked.

I will have to wind this up now or my daily post will take two days to write. Take care.

40 thoughts on “Playing with Butterflies”

  1. “Just depress the flower a little bit”. I do the same. When I start my car it says “depress the brake”. I’ve read all sorts of grim stories to it. Even I get depressed. I can imagine flowers are even more sensitive. They must hate war.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Andrew πŸ™‚ I have never tried to depress a brake. Supposing that I was the President and that I banned Superglue, “Everything broken stays broken from now on.” and then I got shot, that would depress them. I am not ready to be shot for this cause πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eliza πŸ™‚ At rest they are well camouflaged but when the sun is shining they never seem to stop moving, bright little splashes of colour up and down the hedgerow. You can see them from a great distance.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John πŸ™‚ But really it was an unexpected cold snap that made them so docile, does it ever get cold out there? Actually I thought that was probably a stupid question so I Googled it and got the answer, Average winter temp in Melbourne 14 C. It is 12 C here today and this is almost summer time.You could have butterflies all year round.


    1. Thank you Vicki πŸ™‚ Certainly butterflies all over the world need to be warm in order to fly. They are cold blooded creatures and their bodies do not generate enough heat and energy to be able to fly so they must absorb heat from the sun. The cooler it is the less active they will be. But…

      John’s earlier comment has made me realise how little I understand the seasons in Australia. Your winters are warmer than our springtime and your insects must always be able to fly. I am going to have to go back to school πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. beautiful butterflies – love the orange tips on those wings. I should always go walking on my own as well, because I’m always stopping to photograph things, and I know Rod gets a bit frustrated. The dog doesn’t mind though – gives him more time to sniff things…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely! I am so glad you’re back to take photos of flowers and butterflies. Sadly I haven’t got the time to take many this spring so you are my proxy! I take my camera out with me when we go to places as a family and I am always getting left behind. The rest of the family get bored with me always stopping to look at things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Clare πŸ™‚ Ah but you are Mum and you have important work to do. I am sure that there will come a time when they will be quite happy to sit Old Grandma Clare by the window or wheel her out into the garden and leave her to her own devices, thankful that she is happy watching the flowers grow and listening to the birds πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for showing us your magic touch with butterflies. I know what you mean by the “guilt” feeling on walks with people. On my own I feel more freedom to take a zillion pictures of a tree trunk or a little creature or just sit quietly until a bird arrives for a drink. Beautiful close-up pics, Colin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jane :)Wildlife photography does seem to be a bit of a solitary sport but I have had good bird watching trips in company. You can’t beat a good Nature Detective Dog though.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gin πŸ™‚ Yes we do get the Hummingbird Hawk Moth here. It is an immigrant species from Southern Europe but I am pretty certain it is also resident. Many of the immigrant species are becoming resident as the world warms up. I often see them but as yet I haven’t had much luck photographing them. They are not that common and when I do see one it will not sit still.


  5. What great photos! The butterflies are beautiful, and I was especially taken by the orange winged one. The flowers are always a gift.
    I think Fizz is a good companion…she is always ready to go, isn’t she. I wish you both many productive days in the outdoors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ettel πŸ™‚ Fizz is a gift. She is so tolerant. If I want to stop and take pictures she just sits down and plays with her ball and if I take too long she comes and sits on me. Sometimes though if I am paying too much attention to a particular flower, she will bite it’s head off. She has done that before πŸ™‚


  6. How on earth did you take such a marvelous pictures with one hand while you were holding the butterfly on the other? What patience you must have to capture such lovely pictures and moments in nature. You always brighten my day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Jan πŸ™‚ The butterfly photographs are quite easy until the sun comes out they are very lethargic. As soon as the sun hits them they wake up and then it is just down to chance. So why put them in the sun? Because they won’t open their wings until they feel the sun’s rays πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “You can talk about politics or the economy but not war…” You are hilarious!

    I always tease my daughter that going for a walk with her is really going for a “walk… stop…. walk… stop…” But I’m her mother and I adore her and I know she’s capturing something beautiful on film and I’ll be grateful for it. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this comment πŸ™‚ You just reminded me of something very important. Today while I was out setting the camera trap I saw and photographed Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock caterpillars. I have just finished a post and forgot all about them. I will tell them tomorrow now. Thank you and I am glad that you enjoyed this post πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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