Friday, 12 June 2015

Heath Fritillaries and Bastard Balm

A few days ago I went to see the Heath Fritillaries at the Butterfly Conservation Reserve on the western edge of Dartmoor. I hadn't been to the site for a couple of years so was keen to revisit it. I'm really glad I did because they are having a very good season and there were literally hundreds of them on the wing making for a truly inspiring sight! Lots of other insects too and some good plants including the scarce Bastard Balm. I took lots of photos of them, and I mean lots!

I took a few action shots like this one, and a few portraits too.

There are lots of Ox-eye Dasies which make excellent high up perches for photographing the butterflies.

Other flowers were also used for nectaring though like this Mouse-ear Hawkweed.

The butterflies have been on the wing at this particular site for a couple of weeks now but some are still emerging like this extremely fresh individual.

Unlike the one on the left here, who is obviously nearing the end of his brief life. In fact I spotted a couple of butterflies which had died in situ nectaring on the Ox-eye Daisies.

With trees in the background as can be seen in the second photo on this post, I was able to take photos of the butterflies with a shaded area behind them thus giving a totally black background to the photos. I think they came out really well too!

Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia) on Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Speckled Yellow ( Pseudopanthera macularia)
I think this is probably the first decent photo I've got of one of these.They so seldom settle for long enough.

The unusual courtship behaviour of the Hoverfly - Eristalis nemorum
in which the male follows the female around and hovers above her when she stops.

The very beautiful Bastard Balm - Melittis melissophyllum

There are carpets of Pink Purslane - Claytonia sibirica all over the place in this part of Devon.


 Pink Purslane - Claytonia sibirica and Red Campion - Siline dioica

A pure white form of Pink Purslane - Claytonia sibirica

Wood Speedwell - Veronica montana


Wilma said...

Great images, Karen! The shots of the Heath on the daisy with the dark background are very striking and effective. Looks like you timed your visit very well.

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks Wilma!