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, 24 June 2018
Gynandromorph Orange Tip, Anthocharis cardamines
On April 27th I was walking my butterfly transect along the River Tyne in Haddington. It was quite a disappointing walk, with very few butterflies around. All I recorded was one Peacock, Aglais io, one Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae, and four Orange Tips, Anthocharis cardamines. One of the Orange Tips appeared to be damaged as it was flying strangely and appeared to be missing the top of one of its wings.
On my way back I saw the same Orange Tip land in front of me and realised that it wasn't damaged after all. It turned out to be a Gynandromorph - half male and half female, divided exactly down the middle. Its left hand wings were marked as a male, with an orange tip and the right hand wings were marked like a female. I noticed that the wings were slightly different shapes and the antennae were different lengths.
Unfortunately, that day I had my new phone with me. I tried to take some pictures, but it took me a while to do so and all I could manage were these two fuzzy pictures. Prior to this, it was posing beautifully with its wings open!
I then met two dog walkers who I regularly see. They often ask me how my transect is going and I couldn't contain my excitement that day. I explained about the half and half butterfly I had seen and they both showed an interest. I returned over the next five or six days with my camera hoping to see the butterfly again, but sadly I didn't see it.
However, I learned that one of the dog walkers had seen it 300 metres further downstream two days later and the other lady had seen it on a tributary about 500 metres upstream the following Sunday. Although it was sad not to have managed to get a better picture of the butterfly, I was pleased that two other people had also managed to witness this curiosity.