Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Heath Fritillary Butterfly, East Blean Woods, Kent.

I've had this very special and rare (in the U.K.) butterfly on my radar when visiting Kent but this was the first time i've been down there during the imago flight period. The only day i went out birding and butterflying it was bright and sunny but blowing a gale. I visited Stodmarsh Nature Reserve for over 6 hours and came back with very few images. I saw 5 Marsh Harriers on the wing at the same time and 4 Cettis Warblers were heard with 2 of them seen fleetingly. Dozens of Reed and Sedge Warblers around the reserve and lots of other birdsong but any other birds that ventured from the undergrowth and took to the air looked to have been catapulted from A to B. It's a great place for Dragons and Damsels but i only saw a handful of common Damsels secreted about, mainly on Flag Iris and 1 brave/ daft Dragon patrolled the boardwalk briefly but it was moving at such a pace i couldn't i.d. it. I had a nice day there but left slightly disappointed mainly because i didn't see or hear a single Bearded Reedling.
Off to East Blean Woods, with not much hope on the butterfly front. I found the needed larval plant food Common Cow-wheat and started hunting for the adult. The wind hadn't eased at all and i couldn't see any. I was cheered up slightly by the yaffling of a Green Woodpecker and found 3 formicaries of Wood Ants as i systematically worked my way through the tall grasses and ferns then a single specimen lifted. As any butterfly photographer will tell you it can be a very frustrating subject, depending on species, to catch up with never mind capture. This species turned out to be a perfect model. BUT.........there's always a but, the wind was terrible.
Heath Fritillary. The underwing is superb.
I couldn't get a good shot of the upperwing. This f2.8 job was about the best.

 Left frustrated for the second time on the day as i knew some fantastic photographic opportunities of this stunner had been spoilt. I was happy however that i did get first hand close views. I've got to get back some time. Just got to.


  1. A very nice shot of the underwing John, especially given the circumstances. The underwing is far more attractive than upperwing in this species IMO. Cheers.
    PS Does proving I'm not a robot really have to be such an eye test? I'll try again.:-)

  2. Yes nice Butterfly that I have yet to see.

  3. Couple of great shots John, especially the underwing, great colours. Been a bit busy at work during the week to read blogs, bird etc, haven't even had an early morning wander.


  4. First chance to reply to your comments.
    Hi Brian (Killy)Definitely better on the underwing but you always want to photo both sides. That's if the b/fly actually DOES open up. I'm going to get on of those Enigma machines from WW2 to try to read these codes !!
    Brian B. You'll have to get y passport out and head south for this little beauty. Only seen at a handfull of sites. Ironically very common on the continent, so i read.
    John, You'll have all the work that piled up while you were off to catch up on. Just think of the Barnie and Phal. you saw on Monday.It's Sat tomorrow !

  5. Ive never seen a Heath Fritillary Jonny, so amvery jealous, lovely spot, nice capture despite the difficulty. Linda