Monday, 18 July 2016

Mr Grumpy does the Big Butterfly Count

White-letter Hairstreak

The weather forecast said the morning was going to be cold and cloudy with sun in the afternoon, so rather than getting up at dawn we decided to leave it until the afternoon to do the Big Butterfly Count. By 10am the sun was beating down and the garden was filling up with butterflies, but the chicken was in the oven by then so no expedition in the morning.

"Humphf", said Mr Grumpy. Then he said some things about weather forecasters.

At lunchtime Mr Grumpy realized he couldn't drink any wine because he had to drive the car after lunch. He also realized he couldn't have a cheeky snooze after lunch before waking up to watch what was likely to be a crucial stage in the Tour.

"Humphf", said Mr Grumpy.

After lunch Mr Grumpy clambered into his stiflingly hot car but before he could back out of the driveway he was nearly pranged by a prat in a 4 x 4 who then cut him up again at the mini roundabout.

"Humphf", said Mr Grumpy, and said some things about Sunday drivers and 4 x 4 owners, some of which began with "f".

When they reached the parking place - there was another car there!

"Humphf", said Mr Grumpy, who much preferred to have the whole wood to himself at 6am on a frosty morning.

They hadn't walked very far into the wood before they found a Silver-washed Fritillary, flying around high up in an Elder tree.

"Humphf", said Mr Grumpy, who'd left his 600mm lens at home because he was already sweating like a fat pig. A little further on in a sunny glade they found more Silver-washed Fritillarys which wouldn't settle and couldn't be approached closer than 20 feet before flying off.

"Humphf", said Mr Grumpy, after he's spent a futile 15 minutes trying to take a decent shot with a macro lens. While he was making a fool of himself Mrs Grumpy spotted several White-letter Hairstreaks high up in the Ash trees. My Grumpy liked seeing the White-letter Hairstreaks but he was a bit cross because he had the wrong lens. But then he spotted a White-letter Hairstreak taking a snooze on a grass stem which was so dozy it even let a numpty like Mr Grumpy take some decent pictures.

Further on in the wood they saw quite a lot more White-letter Hairstreaks making display flights high in the Ash trees. They started to walk back to the car when a Silver-washed Fritillary landed beside them and Mr Grumpy managed to get some decent shots of that too.

"Hmmm", said Mr Grumpy.

Mr Grumpy went home and ate chocolate cake, then he went to bed and dreamed about clouds of White-letter Hairstreaks flying high in the sunshine around the tops of Ash trees.

Silver-washed Fritillary

White-letter Hairstreak, Satyrium w-album. Nikon D7200 f11 100mm 1/160 ISO 200
Silver-washed Fritillary, Argynnis paphia. Nikon D7200 f11 100mm 1/200 ISO 160