Butterflies, Dragonflies and a Bat…

Glorious weather today, and perfect for visiting Castle Hill nature reserve. The area is classic chalk downland, and a haven for butterflies. Today the most evident were small blue butterflies. These test my powers of identification to breaking point (there are around half a dozen variant species), so I'm not even going to attempt a guess. What I do know is that as I walked along the grass paths, periodic clouds of blue erupted into the air creating a beautiful and delicate spectacle.

If you look closely you'll see at least seven in this shot.

Pretty as the butterflies are, I'd actually gone to find something else. Earlier in the day I twice spotted a broad-bodied chaser dragonfly in the garden. They didn't settle, but there are several local sites where they are relatively easy find at this time of year, one of them being the dew pond at Castle Hill. This first shot is a somewhat battered male. It's a typical shot of a male, perched on a pond-side stalk. The males are rapid and erratic in flight, so photographs tend to be static shots.

The females are golden in colour and are my favourite dragonfly to photograph. When laying eggs they hover over a single point in the water, darting back and forth repeatedly. It's then just a question of holding a fixed focus point and firing the shutter to get an 'in flight' shot.

Several foxes and a couple of cubs were on the trail cam last night, but the video features one of the other nightly visitors: a bat. The camera was triggered by the fox (top left ot the frame). The bat enters from the right.

Camera note: dragonfly and first two butterfly shots taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens. The third and fourth butterfly shots were taken with the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens. Bat filmed by the Bushnell Trophy Cam.

This entry was posted in bat, Butterfly, dragonfly, Insects, Wildlife and tagged , , , .


  1. derWandersmann May 28, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    Lovely insect life, Words … and the bat is interesting.

  2. SittingFox May 28, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Exceptional capture of the bat! And the butterflies are very pretty.

  3. Words May 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Adele, thanks. That was the best bat footage I've 'managed', but I think tonight's fox post will surpass it.

  4. Words May 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    dW, it made a real change to be able to get some good insect life. I'd almost forgotten what summer was about.

  5. gdare May 30, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    What happened to its wings (dragonfly)? :left:

    That bat looked to me more like an insect 😀

  6. derWandersmann May 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Originally posted by gdare:

    What happened to its wings (dragonfly)?

    Got attacked by a St. George Fly.

  7. Words May 31, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    Darko, if you saw how they fly you'd be amazed they have any wings left at all. The males tangle and fight noisily with each other (wing beating against wing), like a rattle. That's also what happens when they mate.

    (But I like dW's suggestion as well 😀 )

  8. serola June 8, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Well done Words

  9. Words June 10, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    Sami, thanks!