On Thursday I planned a day out to photography butterflies and,whilst it did not turn out that way, I did not come home with an empty memory card.
With light winds and slightly overcast conditions being forecast I headed first for Temple Ewell. My reference book gave a rather obscure location for the reserve car park and I did my best to program the sat-nav and, yes, I ended up at an old people's home (I'm not ready for one of those just yet). Having accosted a local and got proper directions I headed off the half-mile down the road where I drew up, somewhat relieved in the car park and re-programmed the Tomtom with the current location - sorted.
|My impression of an oxeye daisy|
I made my way up the path to the meadow areas which were awash with daisies. There were a few common blue around and a number of other butterflies that I failed to identify properly as they were extremely active and despite my best attempts failed to get any decent shots. In my defence I claim three mitigating circumstances: it was quite breezy there; before kneeling or laying down one had to check the ground carefully - there was more dog sh!t than a Paris backstreet; when one did hit the deck the local ant population was on you like a rash.
I decided to cut my losses and try a different location - Park Gate Down. Luckily this site was already in the sat-nav so I was quickly on my way, albeit with my tail between my legs.
Park Gate Down
My visit here a few weeks ago coincided with the end of the early purple orchid display. These had well and truly expired by Thursday and I wasn't sure whether anything else would be showing. Luckily in the middle section of the reserve was a patch of about 30 monkey orchids. These were in various states of condition, not helped I'm sure by the very dry conditions we have had.
Photographically, the wind was a constant challenge; I used my two 50cm reflectors as wind shields but there was still too much movement of the plants for my liking.
|Monkey orchid. They ranged from ~10 to 20 cm in height|
|Getting in a bit closer|
|... and a bit closer still ....|
|Orange tip resting on large leaf|
After a spot of lunch I decided to move on to another new location for me - Denge Wood. This is a delightful spot and I managed to track down another orchid first for me - greater butterfly orchid. Unlike the bold vibrant colours of lady and monkey orchids, this species is pale and delicate. I only saw this lone example, which was close to the edge of one of the paths and, being tall (30cm) and delicate it was also a challenge to photograph with the breeze (although it was more sheltered than the open spaces of Temple Ewell and Park Gate Down).
|Greater butterfly orchid - delicate with pastel colours|
|Individual flower close-up|