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, 13 October 2017
Cape Drastis, Corfu - Butterflies
On 27th June I drove up to the north west of Corfu to Cape Drastis. I had been recommended a walk there by a fellow butterfly enthusiast. There are amazing lime stone cliffs there and the walk ran through old olive groves, woodland and small areas of vegetables.
I arrived at 8.30am and stayed for three hours. There were hundreds of Wall Browns, Lasiommata megera, all the way along the track along with some Meadow Browns, Maniola jurtina.
The Meadow Browns there are interesting, having two or three dots on the underside of their wings. However, they are thought to be the same species that occurs in the UK.
There was a small area that I had been recommended to visit. It consisted of a turning area and a clearing in the olive grove where some onions had been planted. There were plenty of wild flowers growing there, a grassy slope and some small trees offering a variety of habitats.
Initially I didn't think there was much in the way of butterflies there, but I spotted a Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui, and realised that there were three of them in an area of wild flowers.
While I was photographing it, I was delighted to spot a Silver Washed Fritillary, Argynnis paphia, the other side of an olive tree. This was the first time I had seen a Silver Washed Fritillary, so I spent some time taking pictures of it.
There were a few Common Blues, Polyommatus icarus, flying there along with Large Whites, Pieris brassicae, and more Wall Browns.
While I was trying to get pictures of the Fritillary a small white butterfly flew past, and I was delighted to see that it was a Wood White, Leptidea sinapis. I have seen these briefly a couple of times before, but I have never managed to get a picture, so I watched it and carefully followed if until it eventually settled. I was so pleased to manage to get a picture of it.
A little further along the track I came across another area where the grass had been strimmed below some olive trees. There was also a small areas where vegetables were growing and at the edge some wild flowers where a beautiful Clouded Yellow, Colias crocea, was feeding.
I continued along the track and searched a variety of habitats on either side. A grassy slope had nothing flying on it, but a shady track had Speckled Woods, Pararge aegeria, enjoying the shade.
There were a couple of beautiful Scarce Swallowtails, Iphiclides podalirius, at the side of the track along with some Long-tailed Blues, Lampides boeticus.
On the way back I returned to the first area I had searched and the number of butterflies had really picked up. I found a Small Copper, Lycaena phlaeas, and saw a distant Brimstone and Cleopatra.
A little further along the track I notice a Scarce Swallowtail in an area below the track and went down to photograph it. This turned out to be a magical spot, with several Scarce Swallowtails, Brimstones, Gonepteryx rhamni, Cleopatras, Gonepteryx cleopatra, Large Whites and Silver Washed Fritillaries feeding on the flowers there.
I was also delighted to find a Brown Argus, Aricia agestis. I have seen Northern Brown Argus and Southern Brown Argus, but never before just a Brown Argus! I spent a while there watching all of the butterflies.
Eventually I had to drag myself away. Just a little further along the track, I couldn't believe my eyes, as I saw a Southern White Admiral, Limenitis reducta, flying down a track leading downhill. I followed it, but unfortunately lost it before I could take a picture. I was delighted to see one for the first time, but was disappointed that I hadn't managed to photograph it. However, it had been a great morning seeing so many butterflies, three species I hadn't seen before and another two species that I hadn't managed to photograph before.
On my way back I drove down to Sidari Beach and walked up the river. There weren't many butterflies there, other than a few female Common Blues and a Small White, Pieris rapae. Then I saw a little brown insect, which turned out to be a Pigmy Skipper, Gegenes pumilio - the only one I saw all holiday.
What an amazing 3 hours! Lovely scenery, such a variety of butterflies and more kind local people. I called into a shop to buy a bottle of water on my way, but the shop had no change, so just gave me the bottle. On my way back I called into the shop and bought some food for lunch and paid the lady the extra Euro for the water she had given me. She told me I was very kind!!