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.



Sunday, 31 December 2017

Corfu Butterflies II - July 2017

On 1st July I decided to walk up the hill behind our villa. For the first one and a half kilometres I walked along a narrow road and then tracks through olive groves and past houses. I only saw a Meadow Brown and a Skipper while I was walking this section, which didn't bode well!

However, I then turned up a track past a tumbled down farm house and as I left the olive groves, I immediately started seeing great numbers of butterflies. First off, in the shade of some trees were what I think were some Southern Graylings, Hipparchia aristaeus.

In this same area there were also a couple of Meadow Browns, Maniola jurtina.

High up on a banking of brambles, there was a Silver Washed Fritillary, Argynnis paphia, and a Sage Skipper, Syrinthus proto.

As soon as I was back out into the light there were Wall Browns, Lasiommata megera, all along the track.

Among them were some Large Wall Browns, Lasiommata maera, which interestingly were smaller than the Wall Browns here.

The Wall Browns were out-numbered by Balkan Marbled Whites, Melanargia larissa, but here they seemed lighter in colour than those I had seen on the other side of Mount Pantokrator.

I was really thrilled to see a couple of Spotted Fritillaries, Melitaea didyma, on a sunny spot on the track. I spent some time watching them and they kindly stayed still for photographs feeding on yellow thistles.


A little further up the track I saw a Wood White, Leptidea sinapis. Unfortunately, it wouldn't come out into the sun, so it was impossible to get a picture of it without a shadow over the wings.

While I was watching them I photographed a little skipper, which I later identified as a Lulworth Skipper, Thymelicus acteon. There were also several more Sage Skippers higher up the track.

I walked as far as a saddle in the hill where I could see down to the coast on both sides of the island.

It was lovely being in amongst so many butterflies. The Wall Browns and Balkan Marbled Whites continued to be the most common, but there were plenty of other butterflies including Large Whites, Pieris brassicae, Brimstones, Gonepteryx rhamni, Scarce Swallowtails, Iphiclides podalirius, and Small Heaths, Coenonympha pamphilus.

A few days later I walked up there again, but towards the top of the hill I took a different track. This lead me into a wooded area, which was full of Eastern Rock Graylings, Hipparchia syriaca, and various other species, sheltering from the hot sunshine. I spotted a pair of Speckled Woods, Pararge aegeria, on a tree trunk and on the undersides of leaves there were Meadow Browns, Silver Washed Fritillaries and Purple Hairstreaks, Quercusia quercus.

Again, the most numerous butterflies were the Balkan Marbled Whites and Wall Browns. There were a lot more Spotted Fritillaries on this track, including this one with unusual markings.


There were also Sage Skippers, Common Blues, Polyommatus icarus, Long-tailed Blues, Lampides boeticusSmall Heaths and Meadow Browns and I was thrilled to see this Eastern Bath White, Pontia edusa.

Further down the track I saw some Southern White Admirals, Limenitis reducta. They were all quite active, flying from tree to tree, so didn't offer many chances to photograph them.

However, there were so many other butterflies flying around. Corfu has to be one of the best places I have been for butterflies.

I saw a total of 38 species, with 11 of them being species I hadn't seen before. It was very apparent that there were very few butterflies in the olive groves, but they were very abundant elsewhere.

Initially, I found it very difficult to find out anything about which butterflies occur on Corfu, but then I found the Corfu Butterflies and Moths Facebook page. This lists 86 species for the island, but some of those species have only been recorded once or twice.

There is also a book, Butterflies of Corfu, which I managed to obtain a copy of. I think that it is not generally available outside Greece. This book lists 69 species, which I think is closer to the number of butterflies that regularly are seen on Corfu.

So, yet another place I would love to go back to. The island itself is lovely, the people are just so friendly and of course there are plenty of butterflies!

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful butterfly shots as usual Nick, I wish you a wonderful new year!

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  2. Lovely account Nick great shots, warms you up on a winters night.

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    1. Thanks Brian. Yes, how much I would like to be back there, in the heat searching for butterflies!!

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  3. wonderful to see your photographs.
    I love the markings of the closed wings of the Wall Browns, Lasiommata megera.
    And the one that would not come out into the sun, I think the shadows make it a wonderful photograph. Though might make it harder for ID purposes.

    So how do you go about photographing butterflies? In the summer I find it hard to approach them for a photo. It the autumn when they seem nearly drunk on the last flowers it seems easier.

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    1. Hi Tammie Lee,
      It isn't really until you study photographs that the lovely markings become apparent. This is particularly true of the small blues.
      I tend to spend a lot of time watching the butterflies, and seeing what they like doing. That can give me a clue which plants they are likely to land on. The butterflies do appear to become used to my presence and they often fly back to the same spot that they left. My camera also allows me to take pictures from about six feet away from the subject, which is a big help. My old little compact camera required me to get to within six inches!!

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  4. Wonderful set of butterfly images, Nick, that area seems very rich!
    Hairstreaks are a favourite of mine and that scarce swallowtail flying is a gorgeous photograph, congrats!
    All the best :)

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    1. Thank you Noushka. I can certainly recommend Corfu as a holiday destination and a great place to see butterflies.

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  5. Hello Nick, Thank you for your visit, and a very Happy New Year to you. I had not seen this post, and enjoyed all the butterfly images you took in Corfu,.... a place we have never been to, but would love to visit to see all the different butterfly species. Take care, and all the best.

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    1. Thank you Sonjia. I can certainly recommend Corfu as a holiday destination. They are such lovely people there. And if you go for a walk away from the olive groves, you will see plenty of butterflies!

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  6. Hola, Nick. Las islas griegas son una maravilla pero no olvides que en Asturias vuelan más de 140 especies... :)) Un fuerte abrazo y enhorabuena por esos fantásticos viajes.

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    1. Hola Belén, ciertamente nos encantaría visitar Asturias algún día. El paisaje se ve hermoso y tienes muchas mariposas que me encantaría ver.

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  7. Hi Nick
    I came across one of your stunning photos of an orange tip butterfly on Google. Please may I have permission to use the pic as reference for an illustration I'm doing for a nature reserve? My email address is below, as I'm not sure how to receive a reply from this blog. Lovely work!
    Regards Lynda Durrant
    lynda@fullcircle-design.co.uk

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    1. Hi Lynda,
      I am very happy for you to use my photo as a reference for your picture, particularly as it is for a nature reserve. Thank you for asking.

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