Wednesday 28 December 2011: Hairstreak butterfly 1
Very strange session at the common this morning. Firstly, it rained, just as I was getting my bike out. It very rarely rains before midday. The cloud cover was thin and high, so I proceeded with my plans judging that it will only last for minutes and was correct, but the rainfall plus the heavy dew meant that I was definitely going to get a bit wet today.
The insects just didn't seem to want to be famous today. I got down to slither mode on a dozen or more occasions, only for the dragon or butterfly to depart just before I was ready to shoot. I did have a successful shoot with a male pansy, but Chocolate lover beat me to that one two days ago with a super rendition.
I arrived at the mimosa bush and collected shots of the large resident bug, as I do daily. With all the practice I am getting with this difficult subject, when I finally get to blip the bug it should be perfect, having had upwards of 500 practices.
I found a couple of hairstreak butterflies that I have mentioned before, referring to them as two headed butterflies. This is another subject that I shoot on an almost daily basis, but for some reason I just don't seem to be able to get the false eyes in focus despite a hundred plus attempts. Maybe the edges are of a very woolly material and not possible to get sharp, I'll never know, my eyes are just not that good.
Of all the butterflies that I see, this one is easily my favorite, not because of it's size, coloration or fancy shape, but it's bold character and elaborate defense mechanisms, also it sits at just below shoulder height and is very easy to approach in comfort. When approaching with stealth, you can tell when you have been spotted, as the butterfly slowly turns around, raises its rear end and waggles it's false antennae at you. Like I said before, it is bold and has great confidence in it's defense mechanisms, but to me it would make more sense to fly off rather than invite a predator to chew on my ass.
To do this very interesting creature justice, it really needs four blips, top side, side view, front and rear. By far the hardest view is the top view, as the butterfly vary rarely opens it's wings, so I had to wait until I captured a good top view before starting the series, as the other views should not be a problem. Ideally I would have liked to finish off with the top view because it is so impressive, saving the best until last sort of thing.
What you normally see of this butterfly is a fairly bland, grey side, with a false eye and two sets of antennae, one set at each end. It would be easily ignored for more exotic material, but when you take the time to study this creature, you realize you are in the presence of a superstar and when the wings part to reveal that rich red fur coat, it blows all the pretty boys away.
So hopefully I will be able to capture more images tomorrow to continue the series, otherwise I will probably have to revert back to a backup dragonfly shot.