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.
Thursday, 20 February 2014
The Six Spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena filipendulae, is a day-flying moth that is found on meadows and coastal grassland around Britain. It flies between June and August and can be quite common around the coast here.
As the name implies, the moth has six red spots on the upper side of the fore wing. The hind wing, which is only really visible when it is flying, is red with a black border.
The caterpillars feed on Bird's-foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus. They are nicely marked and easy to find in the late spring.
After hibernating for the winter, the caterpillars emerge in the spring and form a yellow cocoon on vegetation or fence posts. They are very easy to spot.
Last year there was great excitement when someone noticed a Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet moth, Zygaena lonicerae. Further investigation at the site found a lot more and then people noticed them in various areas of coastal grassland in East Lothian. This is a species that occurs in England and Wales, but it now seems to be extending its range northwards. When we started checking our photographs from the last few years we discovered that the Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet moth had been here for some time!!
It is quite strange that they hadn't been noticed before as the cocoon is quite different from the Six-spot Burnet moth.
It just goes to show that we shouldn't become complacent about the wildlife around us and we should always be on the look out for something new or different.