Monday, 22 July 2013

Admirals, Fritillary and a rare Emperor.

During a recent visit to Bookham Common I finally managed to grab some images of several butterfly species that can be found in sunlit woodland glades although the numbers on the wing are definitely much lower than this time last year.

 Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

 White Admiral (Limenitis camilla)
Although traditionally found in broadleaved woodlands this elegant species is very tolerant of the shade which has helped its expansion into mixed conifer and deciduous plantations.
It has a powerful gliding flight and I had to wait a long time for one to come to rest in the sunshine.

Like many species the under wing pattern and colours are totally different but they never wanted to pose in quite the right place for a clear shot!

 Silver-washed Fritillary [male] (Argynnis paphia)

The males, distinguished by the four bold sex brands along the veins of their forewings, were very active chasing one another hither and thither, while trying to hunt down a receptive female.

Silver-washed Fritillary [female] (Argynnis paphia)

However the highlight of my visit came around midday when I joined two other wildlife watchers and witnessed a number of 'dog fights' between two male Purple Emperors high above the master oak. Whilst I found it too difficult with my limited lens to capture this fascinating activity I did manage to snap a record shot (heavily cropped) of one male perched on the very tip of one of the highest branches.
Purple Emperor (Apatura iris)


  1. Cracking Shots Frank. Sue & John

  2. it's so lovely to see these beautiful butterflies Frank

  3. You've been on the hunt for those butterflies for a bit now and I'm so glad you found some. I totally love the brown and white one. I think it's the contrast that catches me.

  4. You show the tremendous beauty of many butterflies with the detailed photographs.

  5. How very pretty, especially the brilliant orange. :)

  6. lovely set Frank
    You certainly seem to be seeing more than we are down here, its very much down on last year.
    Well done on the Emperor.

  7. Some great shots Frank. It must be an area thing because I have seen an increase in some species over last year, but also a decrease in a few. ??
    I did briefly see White Ad yesterday and took a great shot of the leaf that it had left two tenths of a second earlier.{:))

  8. You found some great butterflies and got some cracking shots Frank.
    It's a pity that the Purple Emperors didn't come down for a photo opportunity (I had the same problem at Fermyn Woods, Northants at the weekend!) at least from your photograph you can tell what it is, I only managed to get a shot of one poking it's nose out from over the top of a leaf!!
    Apart from 'the blues' the butterflies around here seem to be doing well this year!...[;o)

  9. Hi Frank Lovely set of shots once again. There will always be another time to see if you can get any nearer a Purple Emperor. Margaret

  10. Hi Frank..Great flutter shot's !!
    The White Admiral that we have here which I did my last post on has blue on its outer wing edge, where your's doesn't, could be a bit confusing!!
    We also have the Red Admiral, which I have not gotten to see very little of!!
    I love the Fritillary's they always seem to sit longer to shot!! : )
    Great photo's every one!!

  11. Very nice butterflies and pictures!
    I can see all them on my property although they are not always easy to capture!
    Apatura iris is very shy, except if you have dogs......!!!
    Cheers Frank, enjoy your evening!

  12. Lovely collection of butterflies! Great shots!

  13. Hi Frank:) Yes indeed, Lots of diferent butterflies where you are, and so well captured.Patience and time usually pays off in the end.I hardly ever see the White Admiral so congrats on your photo, well worth the wait. The Silver-washed fritillary captures are stunning, Pity you didn't get a closer shot of the Emperer,but at least you got a shot, and saw the show! Better luck next time.
    Warm regards.

  14. Looks like you are having a great bug year. Lots of butterflies and dragons. Seeing these make we want to grab my gear and get out into the field! (Alas, I'm on lunch break and got to get back to work)


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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