Friday 24 April 2015

Butterfly Stalking in Newark

Perhaps I shouldn't say "stalking" - it makes me sound like Ray the big time mosquito hunter from Monty Python ("There's nothing more dangerous that a wounded mosquito") - but my weapon was my mobile phone camera, rather than a gun.

Pity that there isn't more people for whom the same is true.

Anyway, I had a very gentle 10km run around Clay Lane and through Beacon Hill nature reserve, and as I'd hoped butterflies were abundant on what was expected to be the last day of this good spell of weather. Small whites, speckled woods, brimstones, a green veined white, orange tips, peacock, small tortoiseshell and the lovely holly blue were all up today, and all of them presented excellent photo opportunities.

Or would have, if I had a lens like a howitzer that enabled me to take pictures a hundred yards away.

Butterflies are as ephemeral of mood as they are of lifespan, and getting a close range shot - by this, I mean less than a foot with my camera, is a matter of pure look. The butterfly will flutter off 99% of the time before you can get anywhere near that, and no amount of preventing your shadow falling across it, or being gentle of step, will change this. My favoured method as to take a picture as soon as you can see a tiny speck of flutterer on the screen, then gradually close in without moving your feet. If the butterfly is feeling indulgent, you will get your snap.

This may result on Olga Korbut type poses and looks of derision from passers-by, but it does sometimes get me results, as it did today. Twice. And sadly not for the beautiful holly blues I saw in the forgotten nature reserve, which was alive with butterflies.

Still, I've had a fine day of running and cycling, and failing to mop the kitchen floor again.


The mud on Clay Lane is drying

Ground ivy and dead nettle

Blossom on Clay Lane

Pasture at end of Clay Lane

Woodland Path at Beacon Hill reserve

Speckled wood in the forgotten reserve

Peacock enjoying the sun in Friary Road park

Buff tail queen, Friary Road

Early poppy Friary Road

Loved this boat

Back along the river

Fly grazed horse. Note, no water.

Birding by bicycle failing to spot wheatears

Well, I got birds in the bin-scoped shot this time. Ahem.


  1. You saw a great selection of butterflies Simon - looks a lovely area to run. I've never managed to get close up to Holly Blue to get a photo just have a few distant shots!!

  2. Lovely photographs. I looked up your area on my road map - now I know where you are I can imagine a lot more about the type of scenery.

  3. Nice shots, Simon. The butterflies have been out in force. I like the boat as well!

  4. Not so many flutterers today, a nice green veined white was doing its best to settle just out of camera range. Thank you so much for your kind comments!