Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wheat, wires and Large Whites

click photo to enlarge
Over the summer I've gradually got the impression that this year is a good one for butterflies. So, I did a bit of online research and ended up at the website of Butterfly Conservation. Here I read this by their Surveys Manager, Richard Fox: "The picture for native British butterflies remains mixed. Numbers appear to be up on the previous two summers, which were extremely wet and dire for butterflies. This summer has been better so far, in spite of the recent showers. If the wet summers had continued some endangered species such as the Heath Fritillary were vulnerable to extinction. The good news is the Heath Fritillary appears to have rallied and is having a good year. But numbers overall are still well down on a decade ago." So it seems that 2009 is a better year relatively speaking.

As I write my lavender is besieged by Large Whites, Painted Ladies, Peacocks, Common Walls and Small Tortoiseshells. The Painted Ladies have been particularly noticeable this year, but I was amazed to read that this migratory species may be represented by 1 billion specimens in the UK at the moment! The other species that have been much more numerous are the Small and Large Whites. Our cabbages have been receiving their eggs (soon to be caterpillars) despite us offering the compensating attractions of buddleia and lavender.

On a visit to Sempringham church (click link then scroll down for links) the other day I noticed an opportunity to add to my collection of images of tractor tracks (click link then scroll down for links). The additional interest offered by these particular tracks, in a field of very ripe wheat, was the telegraph pole and wires that stretched across the sky. As I stood, considering my shot, listening to the crackle of the ripe seed heads, I noticed Large White butterflies crossing the field. I quickly composed this shot that includes one of them on the right, hoping that it was sufficiently near to be recognisable for what it was.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 16mm (32mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On