Monday, 22 October 2012

Still Catching Up!

'Real life' rearing its troublesome head has left me with little time or enthusiasm for blogging recently but in an effort to get back to some sort of more regular posting I am aiming to publish a series of catch up posts in an attempt to get through a backlog of photos, some dating back to August, I hope that won't be too boring! This post and probably the next will still be concentrating mainly on invertebrates simply because that is what occupied me on outings the most during our (so called!) Summer but lest anyone should think otherwise, my enthusiasm for birds has not lessened at all and they will feature more strongly in future posts :-) 

My love of butterflies has, in recent years, turned from admiration of their beauty to a deeper interest and desire to actively seek out ones I have never seen before and despite the mainly awful weather we have had in the last few months I have been fortunate to see several this year for the first time. Two of them were shown in earlier posts, the most notable of course was the fantastic Purple Emperor, an amazing and probable once in a lifetime encounter. The Purple Hairstreak was also a first. Another butterfly I very much wanted to find was the Dark Green Fritillary but despite visiting several places where it should apparently have been, including a number of attempts at a location very close to home, I was unlucky this year. However, I was more fortunate in my quest to find the Silver-washed Fritillary but although I saw several on the wing only one posed briefly for the camera and unfortunately what had previously been a sunny afternoon suddenly turned dull and spots of rain were falling as I snatched a very quick photo before it flew off to seek shelter among the trees. Maybe next year I will manage to get a better photo of this striking butterfly.

Silver-washed Fritillary Butterfly

Another butterfly I was pleased to find for the first time this year was the White Admiral, this one, like the Silver-washed Fritillary, looking rather worn at the end of its season.

White Admiral Butterfly

Despite the weather it seems to have been a good year for skipper butterflies, I have certainly seen a lot of Large and Small Skippers (as seen on the previous post) but also some Essex Skippers distinguished from the Small Skipper by the black tip on the underneath of the antennae as shown here.

  Essex Skipper Butterfly

' "Just living is not enough,”
said the butterfly,
“one must have sunshine,
freedom and a little flower." '
(Hans Christian Anderson)

When passing Ragwort plants I always look out for Cinnabar Moth caterpillars but this year they didn't seem anywhere near as plentiful as usual. Ragwort is poisonous to livestock particularly horses and there has been a concerted effort in the UK to control this native plant resulting in a dramatic reduction in the number of Cinnabars. The caterpillars are not affected by the toxins in the plant and indeed store the poison in their bodies which still remains when they become moths. If predators are not deterred by their bold colouring they will very quickly be repelled by the obnoxious taste!

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

I used to think that we in the UK have Grasshoppers while our American friends have Crickets before realising that we have them both here and that the latter can be identified by their much longer antennae. In order to show them more closely I have 'cropped' the antennae on both the photos of crickets below.

Dark Bush-Cricket

There was a little sunshine on the day I saw the next one!

 Roesel's Bush-Cricket

'Twas sweet to see the tiny things,
So bright of garb and so small of size,
But howsoever that might be
Each seemed of perfect symmetry.'
(Thomas Jeffrey Llewelyn Prichard)

 Back to butterflies and all of these I have seen many times before.

Gatekeeper Butterfly

Meadow brown Butterfly

Green-veined White Butterfly

The final butterfly for this post and one of our loveliest I think. 

Peacock Butterfly

'Her slender form, ethereal light,
Her velvet-textured wings unfold:
With all the rainbow's colours bright,
And dropt with spots of burnished gold.'
(William Roscoe)

I always find it difficult to get a photo of a Brown Hawker as they are usually encountered busily patrolling their territory but I did manage to photograph one which was settled and sunning itself on a tree trunk. Not the best of places to show its wings but beggars can't be choosers.

Brown Hawker Dragonfly

 This pretty little damselfly is always a pleasure to find.

Emerald Damselfly

Finally, I will finish as I started (and thank you very much for making it to the end!) with this female Ruddy Darter...I don't think it's a Common Darter? which posed nicely for the camera, it is just a pity that the sun wouldn't pose nicely for so many of these photos...Oh, the joys of living in the UK!

Ruddy Darter Dragonfly (female)

Before I finish, just a quick word to say I have very reluctantly decided to watermark my photographs, not because I think they are worth stealing, I know there are far, far better photos out there than mine and I also realise that once anything is placed on the Internet we, to some extent, surrender ownership but I do think it is worth trying to protect our work and the considerable time and trouble we take to produce it. There are some very unscrupulous people out there and one blogland friend of mine had her entire blog stolen a couple of years ago and passed off by the thief as their own! I recently noticed some slightly odd activity in my blog stats which might be perfectly innocent but I have decided to be safe rather than sorry. I have placed the mark across the middle of the photos, as it would be very easy for someone with ill intent to crop it from the edge but I have tried to make it as unobtrusive as possible.

Again, thank you so much for sticking with me to the end of this rather lengthy post. Until the next time...enjoy the beauty of Nature, wherever you are.


  1. i had several of my photos lifted from my site and republished on a blog from brazil as if they were her own last year. i've marked mine ever since. it is a pain, but sadly, at least an attempt to stop someone.

    i like all of these images. the dragonflies and the skipper are my favorites. :)

  2. So thats what you've been up to! :-)

    That post was just what was needed, bright, colourful and warm, this weekend and today has been utterly miserable, dull and damp, so thanks Songbird for brightening things up!

  3. Always a pleasure to read your posts Jan.
    We seem to have had similar 'firsts' this year with the butterflies.
    Love those cricket captures.

  4. TexWisGirl

    Thank you Theresa, That is awful! There really are some very nasty people about, it is so unfair!!

    Warren Baker

    Thank you Warren, it's been horrible here too so I thought some colourful butterflies might brighten things up a bit...I'm afraid there are still more to come :-)


    Thank you Keith, yes, I realised we were seeing the same firsts...even the 'big one' :-)

  5. Fantastic pics Jan, lovely to see all the butterflies and dragonflies which are now so scarce as autumn marches onwards.

    As regards the watermarks they are not obtrusive at all, and it is a wise precaution (some of my photos have turned up elsewhere in the past).


  6. Hello dear, ha merecido la pena esperar para volver a ver fotografias tan hermosas. Las libelulas me han fascinado siempre y esta son realmente maravillosas. Buen trabajo. Un uerte abrazo

  7. Well one Jan. You have come up with a list that I only dreamt about this year.

  8. David Jay

    Thank you David, Well that's two commenters who have had photos stolen already! So I am thinking I probably did do the right thing.

    Eva de Dueñas

    Gracias por tu preciosa comentarios Eva y por su paciencia :-) libélulas son criaturas fascinantes y encantadores. Envío de abrazos.

  9. Super post Jan, full of colour and warmth from our rather short summer!
    A good reminder of seeing all those 'firsts'!

    Great flutter images, Sadly I didn't manage to see an Essex Skipper this year [:O{

    I really like your Emerald Damselfly image, it looks so delicate.

    Good idea with the watermark.

    Looking forward to your next post...[;o)

  10. All beautiful images here and how sad that you have had to deal with this sort of thing. Most of my photos are not as professional looking and so I haven't had that problem but it's a sad state of affairs knowing that your photos have been taken and passed off as someone else's. So unethical!

  11. Lovely butterfly photos. How do you get them to stay still and pose ? I'm sure all the ones in my garden are hyperactive.

  12. Jan, I am so glad you are posting again. You are seeking out the butterflies and dragonflies just like I seek out new birds I have never seen. I also enjoy seeing the butterflies and the dragonflies. Your photos are beautiful, it is a shame that someone would take them without your permission. I enjoyed this post and I am looking forward to see more. have a great week ahead.

  13. So lovely to see you posting once again and sharing some brilliant photos. I really enjoyed your informative and very pretty entry. So interesting to see Nature's creatures up close ~ the detail in your photos is amazing. I hope life's challenges ease up and that you are able to post again soon :) Sending kind thoughts and hugs your way :)

  14. Beautiful photos and words Jan. Your lovely post has really cheered me up :)

    Several of the new butterfly species you have seen for the first time this year I would love to see! i.e. the two "Purples" :)

    I haven't seen many Cinnabar moth caterpillars this year even where there was plenty of Ragwort.

    So glad you are posting again as I love reading your blog :) I hope "real life" improves soon - thinking of you. Take care. All the best Caroline

  15. I'm another fan of your Emerald Damselfly - the photo conveys its delicacy beautifully. And congratulations on your butterfly 'firsts' - I don't think I saw an interesting butterfly all year!

  16. What a beautiful post, so much variety too.

    Such a shame about having pictures stolen, though I haven't spotted the watermark so it must be very unobtrusive.

  17. Jan it's always a pleasure to read your blog and observe your gorgeous photographs (I'm sure you are right to try to protect them). It's so lovely to see images from Summer - especially as our weather seems to be heading for a colder spell. The Silver-washed Fritillary is definitely one of my all-time favourites too (still envious re: Purple Emperor though!!!). I especially loved reading the charming William Roscoe verse. Very few of us include poetry on our blogs and it is one of the things that sets yours apart. How do you always manage to find just the right quotation? By the way, I hope 'real life' hasn't been too rough on you. Take care, Jerry

  18. Jan, these are all beauties...Im like you in that certain times of the year I concentrate on Butterflies and moths, and fall seems to be the best time around here to find some them close by...
    I also love the dragons they are so colorful for such small, fast, and nearly invisible critters!

  19. Mike Attwood

    Thank you Mike. I was really pleased to see some 'new' butterflies this year, there are lots more on my list for next Summer...if we get one :-)

    The Herald

    Thank you Trevor. It wasn't until last year that I realised the Essex Skipper could be seen here, I thought they were only in the Essex area ;-)
    The Emerald Damselfy is a delicate looking creature, I photographed it at Otmoor, I have seen them there before but nowhere else so far.


    Thank you for your kind words Denise, I am never, ever happy with my photos but try to remind myself I am not a photographer, just a Nature lover who likes to take photos as a record of what I've seen...I still don't want them stolen though :-)


    Thank you Crystal, Superglue is supposed to be pretty good I believe! ;-)

  20. Hello there!!!! Love all your pics. Sadly, watermarking is the way to go. I had several pics used and after that, I began my watermark journey:) Drives me nuts but you are's your work and there are turkeys out there who will take your work. Such pretty butterflies. I haven't seen a lot of the ones posted today. As for the blogger stuff, I get what you're saying. It can be quite the workload:) Look forward to your bird pics:)

  21. You did well with your pics Jan, I have real trouble catching up with the White Admirals in my local wood.
    Nice to read your blog again it's always great reading. I've never thought of marking photos and wouldn't know even how to do it, maybe I should think about it.

  22. Lovely set of insect life to brighten up a misty Autumn day Jan.
    I can never get anyway near a cricket to get a photo - come to think of it I don't think I have even heard one this year.

  23. Lovely sequence of photos. It is so nice to learn the names of some of the beautiful insects I see in my travels! Thank you! I, too, have been wondering about the watermarking of photos but have, so far, not been able to figure out how to do it!

  24. eileeninmd

    Thank you Eileen, you're very kind :-) I hope I might see a new bird or two this Winter but will miss the butterflies and dragonflies and am already looking forward to seeing them again next year. Wishing you a lovely week too.


    Thank you for your very kind comments and good wishes Glo :-) I shall be over to catch up with your blog very soon. I believe your Summer was much better than ours, I hope you enjoyed it. Sending hugs to you too.

    Ragged Robin

    Thank you for your lovely comment Caroline. I'm glad you enjoyed the post but do hope you didn't need to be 'cheered up' for anything more serious than the miserable weather.
    I was thrilled to find the 'purples' most especially the Emperor of course, I shall never forget that day :-) I hope you get to see one eventually, you never know!
    Every time I saw Ragwort I looked for the Cinnabar caterpillars but they didn't seem to be anywhere near as prevalent as other years which was worrying. Thanks again for your kind words. Sending a hug :-)

  25. So glad to hear from you again, Jan, and so happy to see all your beautiful photos! The peacock butterfly is so aptly named; I don't think we have these in the U.S., and I've long admired it on your blog. I'm so impressed with your identification of all of these. I had an unusual (to me) butterfly this fall and searched through pages and pages of butterfly pictures on a website to try to identify it--I didn't know there were so many different types of fritillaries! I can't tell the difference between one type and the other:)

    The Cinnabar Moth is a new one to me; he would be the perfect Halloween moth:) Isn't nature wonderful how it equips different species to protect itself?

    Fall has definitely arrived in our area, with some frosty nights and some cooler days, so very few butterflies remain. Thanks for sharing some of summer's beauty with us.

  26. Rob

    Thank you Rob. The Emerald Damselfly is a pretty little creature. I was thrilled with those 'firsts' and am hoping for some more next Summer :-)


    Thank you Toffeeapple, So glad the watermark wasn't too evident :-)


    Thank you for your lovely, very kind words Jerry, they are much appreciated, 'real life' can be very trying sometimes.
    So glad you don't mind seeing such late photos especially as there are more to come! I hope you get to see a PE one day. I'm thrilled you like the poetry, I've always been worried it may put some people off so try not to include too much. I spend a lot of time trawling through ancient books for suitable quotes but it gets more and more difficult, there are only so many which fit a certain subject...I may have to start repeating myself soon ;-)


    Thank you Sondra, I love the butterfly season and will really miss them in the Winter. I agree, damsels and dragons are fascinating little creatures.
    I hope things improve for you soon and that the decision is in your favour!

  27. ShySongbird ,
    Like others have already commented , your post came at just the right time to lift a very gloomy few days weatherwise .
    You certainly did well for odonata and butterfly species during the Summer and always nice to get 'firsts', but now it's all over for another year sadly .
    No problem with the Ruddy Darter ID , all black legs being the best pointer .
    Look forward to the follow ups .

  28. Very nice group of photos Jan! Butterflies have been very low on the ground this year, the numbers that I have seen have been very few, apart from a large number of Chalkhill Blues.
    The photo of the Emerald Damselfly is a beauty!
    Follow em at HEDGELAND TALES

  29. Hi Jan, its always nice to see you up and blogging again. And, what a real bargain, to see your first.

  30. Rohrerbot

    Thank you Chris, that's three commenters on this post who have had photos lifted! There really are some nasty folk about! It will be good to get back to showing some birds eventually :-)

    Alan Pavey

    Thank you Alan, you are really lucky to have White Admirals locally, I don't know of any very close to home.
    I think you should consider marking your lovely photos. I downloaded a nice little free program to do mine, if you want the link anytime just let me know.

    Midmarsh John

    Thank you John. I used to hear Grasshoppers, or they may have been crickets, in the garden but not for some years now.


    Thank you Barbara :-) I looked on the Internet and found a free program on there to watermark my photos. Let me know if you want the link.

  31. Thanks for the memories Jan! Lovely to get another taste of the all to short Summer. I shall look forward to reading the snow and ice posts during the long hot summer next year:-)
    Hardly saw any Cinnabars this year. Your Emerald damselfly is a cracker.

  32. Hi Jan... Whew finally got back to your post...I have trying to get things done outside, and today it was all day event, and I am pooped : }!
    So nice to see some lovely summerish things...the Emerald Damselfly very pretty, and I love Crickets and there hearing them to!
    Some real beauty on the butterflies, hope to see more from you , says she who has a hard time getting a post out herself!! ; }
    I have a odd site source show on my stats too..may be innocent but???
    I did upload some fall picture to my Facebook album..I had then there less then 5 minutes, and a person I am acquainted with just snatched one of the picture and used it for her timeline header...I don't mind' but she could have asked if I minded ticked me of a bit, but if it happens again well LOL!!

  33. Hi Jan
    Great post as usual,all the images are superb, If I had seen half of these this year I would have been delighted.
    I feel it's a good idea to watermark your images, I have not done so yet but have been thinking about it. Anyway good to see you back.

  34. Czekałam na Twój post i przegapiłam go w dniu publikacji, przykro mi. Z wielką przyjemnością oglądałam Twoje dzisiejsze piękne motyle, świerszcze i ważki. Gąsienie może mniej, wolę jak już są motylami. Zdjęcia są śliczne i nigdy ich dość. Pozdrawiam cieplutko.
    I was waiting for your post and missed it on the day of publication, I'm sorry. It is with great pleasure watching your today's beautiful butterflies, crickets and dragonflies. Quenches maybe less, I prefer as I have butterflies. The photos are beautiful and never enough of them. Regards warm.

  35. Hopefully we will get a better year next year for butterflies Jan. It couldn't be any worse than this year.

  36. Rose

    Thank you Rose, I thought I might never get around to posting again but here I am at last ;-)
    Butterfly identification certainly can get confusing and I find it difficult to distinguish between some of our fritillaries and indeed some of our blues also.
    I agree, Nature never fails to fascinate and amaze me in so many ways.
    Enjoy Autumn, Rose, those cooler temperatures must be a welcome relief after your sizzling Summer :-)


    Thank you Greenie, I'm glad you didn't find my look back too boring...especially as there is more to come :-) Thank you too for the Ruddy Darter confirmation, I knew I could rely on you :-) Considering how very poor the Summer was I was pleased to see as much as I did and actually all within quite a short space of time.


    Thank you John, I remember the amazing amount of Chalkhills you saw, incredible! I was very concerned by the lack of Common Blues this year, I barely saw any and don't remember seeing many on blogs either.

    Bob Bushell

    Thank you Bob. It was a real thrill to see new butterflies for the first time :-)

  37. Nice to see you are back with publishing!
    These are outstanding pictures!
    Yes your first and last dragonfly is the Ruddy Darter: black legs!

    I have answered your comment on my blog!
    I will also add that I believe this season was quite special in terms of insect life. I have seen much fewer of everything.
    Even whole species of birds were wiped out by the harsh cold spell that hit us so badly last winter in my area where usually many migrating birds hibernate.
    Thanks also for signing the petition, I truly believe we can make a difference!
    Keep well and enjoy your evening!

  38. Phil

    Thank you Phil, It is worrying about the Cinnabars, other people have also noticed the lack of them. I hope you can guarantee that long hot Summer! I seem to remember inflicting an icy photo on you back in the Spring... ;-)

    grammie g

    Hi Grace, I hope you've recovered from all that hard work but if you're in need of some more there is plenty waiting here for you ;-) That's a real cheek, having your photo so blatantly pinched!! I should definitely keep your eye on that situation!


    Thank you Monty :-) I saw most of the butterflies within a very small time frame so felt I was quite lucky especially during such a bad year for them. I think it's definitely worth thinking about watermarking your photos.


    Thank you for your lovely comment Giga. Please don't worry about not commenting straight away. I know how very difficult it is to keep up with blogging. It is always a pleasure to hear from you whenever you are able to visit. So glad you enjoyed the photographs. Sending a hug :-)
    Dziękuję za piękny komentarz Giga. Proszę nie martwić się o nie komentowanie razu. Wiem, jak bardzo trudno jest nadążyć z blogów. To jest zawsze przyjemność usłyszeć od ciebie, gdy jesteś w stanie odwiedzić. Tak się cieszę, że cieszył fotografie. Wysyłanie przytulić :-)

  39. Very nice to get something from you to read and see. Also shows nothing that the photos are of August. I really enjoy it from. Lovely blog with lots of variety, beautiful colors and nice details.

    Just post what you want :-)

    Regards, Helma

  40. Lovely photos! I especially like your dear little Skipper and the green veined white butterfly, as well as the more colourful peacock, as I am drawn to butterflies more than other insects.

    Summer is done and we're well into fall. Thank you for such a wealth of information. I think I lot of us have been absent from the blogging world this past summer, but then, as you noted, regular life has a way of taking over (something like that).

  41. Roy

    Thanks Roy, I hope it's a lot better!


    Thank you for your kind comment Noushka and also your help regarding the Ruddy Darter :-) I'm sorry to read your wildlife has suffered as a result of your bad Winter. For us it was our exceptionally wet Spring and Summer which devastated the wildlife. Let's hope things improve next year.
    I do hope the petition is successful :-)


    Thank you Helma, I'm glad you didn't mind looking back with me, I have more Summer photos to come. Hopefully I will finish showing them before we get into the depths of Winter ;-)


    Thank you Wendy :-) Butterflies are my favourite insects too, such pretty ethereal creatures. I miss them so much during the Winter. We too are well into Autumn now and as we had such a dreadful Summer I am already looking forward to Spring and hoping next year will be much better. Sending hugs to you too :-)

  42. ...I have tons of backlogs too...some all the way back to last summer! The butterflies you have here are lovely. The dragonfly is so interesting. Looks like it was dipped in gold, like it's a little statue--very cool.

  43. FRANCE

    Bonjour France :-) Merci beaucoup.


    Thank you Kelly, I find it is so easy to get behind with blogging :-( I have photos which could have been shown two years ago but never were!! So pleased you liked the dragonfly :-)

  44. Wooow very nice collection
    and shots
    greetings from my blog joanca

  45. COUCOU je viens te dire bonsoir tout en regardant ces si belles photos
    tu adores la nature et cela se voit si bien sur toutes tes photos
    BISE et à bientôt

  46. Fantastyczne zdjęcia, rewelacyjne! :-)

  47. Je viens aussi te dire bonjour
    tout va bien!!!!!!!!! et je viens encore de regarder tes superbes photos c'est tellement beau chez toi bise

  48. joanca bs

    Welcome Joanca! Thank you very much for visiting and for your kind comment :-)


    Bonjour France. Merci beaucoup pour votre visite à nouveau et pour votre commentaire très belle :-)


    Dziękuję bardzo za odwiedziny i komentowania :-)

  49. France

    Je vous remercie encore une fois la France. Vous êtes très gentil. Vous envoyer une étreinte et un baiser :-)

  50. wel done with those macros of beautifull insects that give live to the prairies and forests!

  51. elcamperoinquieto

    Thank you very much Haritz. Saludos! :-)

  52. Like your post title I am 'Catching up' Jan! A delightful post and images and a pleasing reminder of Summer albeit a wet and grey one!
    I am looking forward to reading your future posts when time allows.

    I trust you are keeping well and hopefully catching up with a few of our wintering migrants.

  53. Bonjour et encore merci de ta visite
    J'espère que tu vas bien!!!!!!!! bise

  54. a real pleasure to read, just love the detail in your photos.

  55. Hi ShySongbird!
    Many thanks for dropping such a sweet word on my blog!
    Strange you don't have many blue tits around, here they are very common!
    Fortunately, since they destroy many parasites like processionary caterpillars!

  56. Hello Jan:)
    You are still catching up with your photos, and I am still catching up with my followers, after a lovely vacation, flu, and my dog being poorly.I have however anticipated my visit to you with pleasure, and as usual you did'nt disapoint.What a fantastic collection of photos.I have never been fortunate enough to see a White Admiral,..a rare sight, so congratulations, on another first.The effulgant Emerald Damselfly is a most beautiful capture, and I love the charming William Rosco verse on your Peacock

    After reading that so many of your followers have had their photos taken without consent, perhaps I should learn how to protect mine.Your mark is not obtrusive at all.
    Warmest regards

  57. Pam

    Thank you Pam :-) Lovely to see you back in blogland again. It really must have been the worst Summer ever! Apart from the odd decent day here and there we only had one week of really good, settled summery weather!!
    Unfortunately, for various reasons, I have been unable to get out with the camera much lately but am desperately hoping to see some Waxwings soon after missing out completely in 2010/11.


    Merci Beaucoup France :-)

    Gary Jones

    Thank you for your kind words Gary :-)


    Thank you Noushka :-) I think you meant to put House Sparrows not Blue Tits. We do have lots of Blue Tits but House Sparrow numbers here have declined dramatically in recent years although I have seen more in my garden again in the last year or so :-)


    Thank you for your very generous comments Sonjia, I do hope you get to see a White Admiral one day, they are very handsome.
    I am glad you enjoyed your holiday but sorry to read you have had flu and that your dog has been poorly. It is always so worrying when a pet is ill, if only they could tell us what is wrong it would be so much easier to help them. I hope you are both feeling much better now :-)
    I would definitely consider marking your lovely photos!

  58. Dziękuję, że mnie odwiedziłaś. Pozdrawiam cieplutko.
    Thank you that you visited me. Regards warm.

  59. Like you, my enthusiasm for blogging has diminished somewhat lately. I really must try to get back to it. Your pictures are stunning!

  60. Wow, what a lovely post and I'm sorry I didn't see it sooner. Very uplifting to see all those gorgeous butterflies when outside there's still five inches of snow! Bring on the springtime! Lovely shot of the black Rabbit too - I have seen a few but never managed to photograph one.


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