Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Encounter with Arthur

As I began another stroll on the boardwalk at Thursley Common yesterday I bumped into (not literally!) a very interesting gentleman called Arthur, a Yorkshire man who is 75 years young and an experienced and passionate photographer of Odonata.
While watching the dragonflies zipping over the water in a very strong breeze we chatted for over 30 minutes and my brain had to work a little harder than normal as Arthur only referred to any of the various Odonata by their Latin names! I soaked up his enthusiastic knowledge and if I learned anything about photography from him it was just get out and practice, practice and learn from your mistakes ... excellent advice.

  
As we both agreed the conditions (he called it a bit 'thin') were not really conducive to getting decent low down images of the dragonflies I headed onwards through Pine Island and out onto the heathland. While watching a singing Skylark soaring up high into the sky I was aware of the calls of a warbler close by. After a little searching I found the individual and took a quick shot before it moved deeper into cover.



The soft contact call sounded like a Chiffchaff or a Willow Warbler but I think the paler cheek pattern, the thicker albeit pale supercilium, paler legs and longer primary projection indicate that this is a juvenile Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus). [I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm totally wrong].


A few of the other species seen and snapped, often at a distance, included Woodlark (6), Cuckoo (3), Stonechat (5) and Green Woodpecker. In addition I also saw Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tree Pipit, Skylark, Common Redstart, Chaffinch, Common Whitethroat, Magpie, Crow, Jackdaw, Common Buzzard, Tufted Duck, Canada Geese, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Linnet, Long-tailed Tit, Great and Blue Tit and heard the resident Curlews calling. 
 

While following a path through an area of flowering Bell Heather I spotted a blue butterfly. Initially I didn't pay much attention to which species this might be but after it flew away I reviewed the images to reveal it was a male Silver-studded Blue (Plebeius argus) and my first sighting for this year.


One image of its under wing pattern revealed the distinctive silvery-blue centre within the black marginal spots.

After passing the 'lazy' gate I spent a little time capturing a few images of a Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) enjoying a nectar feed in the sunshine.

On my way back across the common while making a detour through one of the pine plantations I met up with Arthur again. He had decided to take a stroll away from the boardwalk as the stiff breeze was still hindering him getting any more shots of the Odonata. This time our discussions turned to past occupations and he was intrigued to learn that I had worked for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and we both knew a number of people who had also worked there ... it's a small world.

Back along the boardwalk it was still fairly breezy but I managed a few captures of resting Libellula quadrimaculata (Four-spotted Chasers).
  
Another interesting encounter. Stay well Arthur and maybe our paths will cross again.  FAB.

19 comments:

  1. a smart fellow! :) lovely butterflies and dragonflies!

    ReplyDelete
  2. A lovely wander around Thursley Frank, with some interesting sightings.
    Arthur sounds like a great bloke.

    A small world indeed. Whilst I was visiting South Stack one day recently, I got chatting to a volunteer there that lives a couple of miles from me; and another who lives in Bedford.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keith. You never know who you might bump into!!

      Delete
  3. What a brilliant post.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Frank, It's always good to meet up with someone who's willing to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm, and I'm guessing you learned a fair bit during you brief time spent with Arthur?

    A great find with that Silver-studded Blue....[;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trevor. He kept telling me he was dyslexic but I reckon he could talk about his hobby all day long. I just hope my brain remembers what he said when I'm his age!!

      Interestingly his father, A.G. Butler, was an well respected Ornithologist and a friend of Eric Hosking, the pioneer of bird photography.

      Delete
  5. Lovely post and outing! the bird, butterflies and dragonflies are all beautiful.. Have a happy day!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Omygoodness...your photos are so amazing. What a wonderful time you must have had, visiting with the olden gentlemen...WAIT...I am in my 70's, too....and, yep....I AM olden.
    Enjoyed your photos very much.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Extremely wonderful captures!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a sweet warbler. Frank, your butterfly and dragonfly captures are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Frank This is a wonderful post not only because of meeting Arthur but because of the fantastic shots of butterflies and Dragonflies.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love meeting new people who share when I am on an excursion!!! Great pix and descriptions!!!...:)JP. I think I am your newest follower...nice to meet you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. that silvery blue butterfly is awesome. i have never seen one of these. and the dragon fly is beautiful....I would like to meet Arthur and to walk that boardwalk.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lovely walk, Frank. I enjoyed reading about it…and, of course, the photos are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love all your photography, but the butterflies are particularly beautiful and beautifully captured! Amazing work!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Gorgeous butterflies, dragonflies and sweet little warbler! And how neat to run into Arthur who was so knowledgeable! Beautiful photos!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love seeing that detail on the dragonflies' wings!

    ReplyDelete

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

If 'Word Verification' shows up then it's a Google glitch. Just ignore it and click 'publish' as usual.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails