The earlier pictures were taken on my wee compact Canon ixus 970IS, which involved sneaking up on the butterflies. This can be very frustrating when they fly off, but very rewarding when they don't!

Since 2012 I have been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ150, which allows me to zoom in to the butterflies from a couple of metres away.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Portugal - Butterflies - March 2008

My interest in photographing butterflies really started during a family holiday to a friend's villa in the Algarve in March 2008. After a long, dull, damp Scottish winter it was lovely to see butterflies flying around their garden.

Although much of the Algarve is very built up, there were still areas of wild flowers and abandoned orange groves amongst the newer holiday villas. You didn't have to move far from the coast to find yourself in unspoilt old farms, woods and hills.

This is a Long-tailed Blue, Lampides boeticus, which was flying amongst some wild flowers in a scrub area next to the house. It was rather faded, so presumably had survived the Portuguese winter.

Speckled Wood butterflies, Pararge aegeria, seemed to be very territorial. This one patrolled a climber at the front of the villa and there was another that looked after an area near the swimming pool! The subspecies, aegeria, which occurs in southern Portugal has an orange background colour to the wings.

This Spanish Festoon, Zerynthia rumina, got me very excited. Even though it was rather faded, I had never seen such a beautifully patterned butterfly.

This Swallowtail, Papilio machaon, kindly posed on some flowers in the garden just long enough for me to get a picture.

Other butterflies that I saw were:
Large White - Pieris brassicae
Small White - Pieris rapae
Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta
Clouded Yellow - Colias crocea
Small Copper - Lycaena phlaeas
So, 9 butterflies in a week in March.


  1. Sounds like a great place to have a holiday. That Papilio machaon is just gorgeous. I can see how you got hooked on butterflies - that shot alone! Right now the Lampides boeticus are so abundant and fresh here - such lovely little guys. But the Zerynthia rumina, what an incredible butterfly. I've never seen one quite like it. So lovely.

  2. Sylvia,
    It is interesting that you have the Long-tailed Blue there. They seem to be spreading around the world! Some even made it over the Channel from Europe to the South of England this year. The Spanish Festoon is such a lovely butterfly. I have never managed to get a good picture of one yet!

  3. I think I would have to disagree....I saw one of your photos of the festoon in a later post, and I felt extremely jealous. But I completely understand the feeling of frustration in not being able to get a really great shot. It keeps me chasing species that I've photographed hundreds of times :)