At last I’ve finally been able to point my lens at an Orange Tip butterfly. It has been driving me crazy not being able to find any butterflies. Despite the windy conditions and intermittent rain I managed to find one! Although far from ideal conditions I whittled down the blurry images to reveal a few keepers. Its amazing what weather conditions these insects go through to survive. I hope its starts to warm up soon though as I’m not sure how long butterflies survive without being able to fly and feed due to the weather.
Orange-tip butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, April, 2012
Canon 1d MkIV with Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens.
This year I will be spending my time setting out little mini projects for my wildlife photography. These will cover all sorts of species like butterflies, dragonflies, flowers and birds. As always, I will be reading up on the project species to find out more about them to make finding and photographing a lot easier. I will include some information about the species I have found out aswell.
First off with the projects this year is the Orange Tip butterfly.
This species has eluded me over the last few years due to being away from the UK or busy with work when they have emerged. On Sunday evening I was out from late afternoon till last light searching through different habitat trying to find roosting Orange Tip’s. My search was not in vain, as I found two males roosting in a bluebell woodland close to my home near Malvern. Getting up at daybreak on Monday morning I set out to to the roosting butterflies to photograph them. Although a lot windier than I would have liked, I still managed to obtain some great shots for my portfolio (See pic below)
A little bit about the Orange Tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines).
This species of butterfly emerges in the UK at the beginnning of April and can continue up until June in some years. Both males and females have white uppersides with the male having bright orange tips (hance the name) and the female having black. The underside is an amazing array of patterns and colours (see picture) that almost looks like it is covered in moss or lichen. When out walking adult Orange Tips can be found nectaring on commoner plants such as bluebell, dandelion, bramble, cuckoo flower and forget-me-not. Eggs are laid on other species of plant such as Garlic and Hedge Mustard and Cuckoo flower, where the caterpillar will emerge from its egg after about a week, and then will feed for around 3 weeks before pupating on nearby vegetation for the rest of the year.
For lots of great information about the Orange Tip and other species of butterfly see the UK Butterflies website here:
The image below shows a roosting male Orange Tip on an unopened Bluebell flower.
Settings: Canon 1D MK4, Canon 100mm f/2.8, 1/200sec at f/7.1, ISO400, Gitzo tripod, cable release, mirror lock up, angle finder.