Tuesday 21 June 2011

Photo expedition to Beacon Hill reserve

It is, off course, rather laughable to entitle my post this, as the term "photo expedition" I think implies a well equipped naturalist type in camouflage gear festooned with pockets, and carrying sophisticated photographic equipment and perhaps even wearing a floppy hat.

The expedition of course, will be a Steve Backshall style extravaganza, deep into the heart of Headhunter country on the island of Sumatra, and you can almost hear the breathy reverential voiceover.

Me of course, was just off on my rickety pushbike to Notts Wildlife's Beacon Hill reserve, with the daft intention of taking picture of butterflies on my mobile phone. My digital camera is so old it doesn't even have the resoloution of my Samsung, plus the fact there is a 5 second lag after you've pressed the button.

With the sun out, Beacon Hill is a very pretty proposition, especially if you can get the industrial estate out of your eyeline! I picked the top end of the nursery, by the copse that the path from the oilseed rape field goes through, as I figure this is where the butterflies go these days.

I wasn't disappointed. The Ringlets are now out on large numbers, although I didn't see any Speckled Woods today which have been around earlier in the year. Some species of white was relentlessly flying among the bramble flowers, having had a good look at the various species, I'm leaning towards to the Small White as being the species due to the small black spots on the wing - they never ever settle, it seems!

For photography of this sort, having the patience of a saint doesn't even remotely cut it. Because, with living, breathing and especially moving, creatures, it is impossible! St Francis of the iPhone wouldn't be able to do it - everything just flies off as soon as you get within any kind of shooting distance - i.e. less than a foot. A folded up Ringlet let me get a shot, but the Large Skipper I was very keen on shooting just was far too quicksilverish, even though there were a few about.

I did get a shot of a couple of funny looking insects in some sort of mating ritual though, and I got a very pretty shot of Birds Foot Trefoil though the bumble bees who clearly love them like everything else, just wouldn't stay put. They were too busy filling their pollen sacs, which were so large and bulging with pollen I was amazed they could fly! Although I'm sure they could still laugh at the giant intruder lying on the ground trying badly to photograph them.

So, it was still a nice hour in the best sun we had all day. Although I could have done without the guy thrashing around on his motorbike like it was his own personal "Junior Kick Start".

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