Tag Archives: Speckled Wood Butterfly

Old Man Dancing

Dances with Wolves

I am so sorry that I have been away from the blog this month. There was a wolf at my door and you know how much I like wolves, I got distracted.

He has  gone now. I gave him a little dog that I found in the garden and that seemed to fill his tummy nicely,

(I have not really fed Fizz to a wolf)

Anyway Wolfie has gone and we would like to get back to nature. I will try to post every day for a while, to make up for my recent absence.

So much has been happening and there is a lot to blog about.

I am glad to find that I have not lost my touch with the Faeries.

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

Orange TipTomorrow we could go up and look at the Bluebell woods.

BluebellOr we could video Fizz searching for her yellow ball amongst the Dandelions.

The WinnerThe world has turned beautiful.

Let me put this little animal down….

Orange Tip

Whoa! Hold on! I’ll get a ladder.Orange TipThat plant that I am putting him on is Garlic Mustard.

Garlic MustardNext to Wild Garlic it is one of the tastiest herbs around at the moment. This is one of the very best reasons to get into foraging. Picked fresh it is better than anything that you could buy in the supermarket. Foraging is not just about nettles and Dandelions, some of it is Caviar (without the fishy taste) and you just can’t buy it in the shops.

It is growing in abundance in my neck of the woods and deserves a post of it’s own.

Garlic MustardOh lookit! A brown Faerie.

Speckled WoodThat would be a Speckled Wood.

Speckled WoodIt is so nice to have them back.

I am going to cut this post short because I want to post it tonight.

Sometimes Fizz and I get ourselves into some pretty dangerous situations.

DangerI tend to shut other people out in case they get hurt by the terrible dangers that we have to face.

Terrible DangerSo I haven’t been reading my email or attending to anything just recently and I am sorry if I seemed to be ignoring you. I will be back on top of everything tomorrow.

I had a stroke of luck and came out on top. I don’t have to leave the farm or Fizz, or do anything that I don’t want to do. So it goes.

All right, Cutie Pie?

Cutie PieI did not fail to notice that you played a good game back there and that you are a reasonable companion animal 🙂


How to take Photographs (3 – Speed and Light)

This is where it gets a little bit intimidating.

I am a bit of a one trick pony. I photograph nature. My camera is nearly always hand held and everything moves so I have to be fast.

The first trick that I learnt was to drop my exposure a couple of clicks. On my first camera (Panasonic FZ50) I could do that whilst leaving the camera in intelligent auto mode.

It was the only thing that I knew how to do and I took these photographs.

Forest Shield Bug

Common Lizard

Speckled Wood ButterflyI was happy and encouraged. I took hundreds of pictures like these.

As long as you have got enough light then dropping your exposure a bit will give you a faster shutter speed and a sharper picture. I still think that this is a good trick for beginners and worth trying before you get into the more complicated stuff. If your camera will let you do that.

Unfortunately the fellow that I am writing this for can’t do that. In auto mode he has no control over exposure. (I have got his manual in front of me)

So how do you get speed?

Most cameras have got a Shutter priority option that allows you to set the speed as fast as you like. I can’t really figure out why. (Okay you can achieve motion blur but who wants that?) If you set your shutter speed too fast you will just get a black picture because there is not enough light for such a fast shot.

I always have my camera set to Aperture priority. I usually want the fastest shot that the available light will allow. So to get the fast shot I have to mess with the light not the speed.

Marmalade HoverflyWhat is an aperture? It is the hole that opens when your shutter opens and allows light into your camera, you can determine how big that hole is going to be. The bigger you let it be, the more light will get into your camera and you can take a faster picture.

The animal will move if you hang about 🙂

I want a wide aperture and by working in aperture priority rather than auto I can stop my camera from doing stupid things that I don’t want it to do.

How is this easy!!!

Well I am a one trick pony, remember? I always want a fast picture so I don’t have to keep changing things. I set my camera to Aperture priority and I set my aperture to f.2.8 and that is basically all that I do. It is just as easy as having my camera in auto mode 🙂

Okay the other thing that I do is that I play with the exposure constantly. That is the way that I control the amount of light that I am letting in but all that means is that I keep my exposure as low as possible (almost always underexposed) whilst still letting enough light in to  get a picture.

It is not very clever but it works for me.

Green Orb Spider

Small Skipper

White Plume MothThe down side of using a wide aperture is that it has a knock on effect on depth of field and what that means is that only a small area will be in focus.

Generally that is okay for what I do because insects are quite small.

You wouldn’t want big insects because they can be quite mean.

With big things like butterflies I sometimes struggle to get the whole animal in focus.

Red AdmiralBut sometimes that is okay.

So that is enough tricks for now.

If you want to explore aperture priority my friend then it is on page 82 of your manual.

Butterfly of Shadows

Hi, I have to go into town today so activity will be low. I thought before I left I would just look at yesterday’s pictures and see if there was anything else worth posting.

While I was photographing my Dock Bug nymph I was being pestered by newly emerged Speckled Wood Butterflies. I didn’t really want to photograph them because I have just posted the Speckled Wood but they were very insistent.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled WoodAnyway here’s the thing, I didn’t look at these picture yesterday because I was busy. Today I have found hidden amongst the butterflies a whole bunch of pictures of the nymph that should have been included in yesterday’s post.

Pesky, troublesome butterflies!

Here are it’s shadows. I hope that you like them as much as I do.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

The Speckled Wood

The storm didn’t really abate much. It stopped raining but a wicked wind blew up and I gave up on the idea of photographing flowers. I still had to take Fizz for a walk and there is a nice little track just outside the farm that is not too overgrown and just right for playing ball as we walk.

Speckled WoodThis sort of dappled woodland edge is also ideal habitat for the Speckled Wood Butterfly and so, quite by accident I found myself looking at one.

Speckled Wood

Speckled WoodThis is one of my favourite butterflies but this one was a bit tatty and the sunshine didn’t last long but never mind I have got some older pictures to show you.

Speckled WoodWhy do I like this one so much? The Speckled Wood is a true woodland butterfly it doesn’t feed on nectar from flowers and has no need of those sunny rides and gardens that other butterflies frequent. This butterfly primarily feeds on Aphid honeydew which it finds covering the leaves in the woodland canopy.

Speckled WoodAphids feed on plant sap. The sap contains too much sugar and so the insects secrete the excess.  The Honeydew covers the leaves of trees and it drips down onto your car if you park under a tree on a warm summer’s day. A whole host of animals take advantage of this sugary secretion including quite a few butterfly species.

You can often see a Speckled Wood in the garden but you only see them feeding on flowers when there are no Aphids (very early or late summer) They are one of very few butterfly species that you will find regularly in woodland,  there are others that live in the canopy that you rarely see but the Speckled Wood is very often at ground level holding a little patch of sunlight as it’s own.

Telling the sexes apart isn’t always easy. The female has much larger cream patches and is brighter but when you get one that is half and half and you have nothing to compare it to then it isn’t always obvious.

Male Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Female Speckled WoodSpeckled Wood

This butterfly is unique amongst UK Butterflies in that it can overwinter either as a caterpillar or a chrysalis. Generally it is accepted that there are three broods of new butterflies emerging during the course of the summer but these broods sometimes overlap and the result is that you can have brand new butterflies emerging pretty much any time from March until August.

Speckled WoodSo that is Pararge aegeria. I think that it is my favourite Butterfly because for a long time it lived in the woods with me when there were no other butterflies about.

Speckled Wood