Happy 'orange' day
Since my last blog we have cold and windy weather in the Netherlands. Therefore the amount of butterflies is disappointing low....during the day I notice some white and admirals species but early in the morning I only find roosting Orange-tips.
Yesterday morning I visited big meadows full of Cuckoo-flowers near Nijmegen but the trees in the distance unfortunately blocked the rising sun.
That is why I returned to the Maasheggen this morning again. Although the meadows of the Maasheggen are surrounded by bushes and trees too, I was lucky on this national 'orange' holiday & birthday of a friend, to catch the sun just in time!
Not a joke
Yesterday, on April 1st I photographed my first butterfly of 2021. The day before it was 25 degrees and in the afternoon I saw some freshley emerged butterflies in my garden like Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Orange-tip. The (flower) plants in my garden have just awakened from winter and they all just started sprouting which means that the Orange-tips have no flowering roosting plants. Instead they choose flowering bushes and fruit trees.
This was a good starter and I'm already longing for more butterflies and other compositions....but I need to be patience as cold weather returned already.
Last week I visited the meadows (Maasheggen) near the Meuse three times; these meadows are characteristic as they are small and surrounded by blackthorn and hawthorn shrubs. The shrubs are full of (nesting) birds and in front of/near the shrubs I found some roosting Orange-tips. One of these mornings was a special one as the sky was extremely coloured red for a long time .
For more than an hour I photographed the above female Orange-tip with the rising sun and on my way back to the car I checked the other female Orange-tip and saw the beautiful orange reflections in the background. Fortunately just in time!
For months I was longing for them and finally they have emerged....the first Orange-tips. One week ago I found some meadows near the Meuse with a lot of cuckoo-flowers to which I returned this morning. Entering this area in the dark was a great experience with barking deers and screaming owls....I was glad that I was in good company!
Actually I wanted to catch the Orange-tip together with the rising sun but due to heavy vegetation around the meadow, the first orange light together with some fog arrived in my composition about 15 minutes after sunrise and disappeared again within a minute.
Unfortunately not much orange light for me this morning but I will not complain as I enjoyed being outside again and searching for butterflies!
After a warm farewell of my collegues a few hours ago, my sabbatical has started. On my way home I enjoyed the sunny weather, flying butterflies and the fresh green of the trees. Although it's beautiful here, tomorrow it's time for my first trip to France and to meet some relatives of the Orange-tips!
Last Saturday I found a lot of Orange-tips on Cuckoo flower near a creek. Although I'm satisfied with the results, it was a challenge to 'handle' my camera as I'm not used to the small wheels (shutter speed and aperture value). At home I found out that I had a lot of dark sensor spots in my images.....after years of Canons automatic sensor cleaning programme I forgot how bad these spots are.
Just a small detail but with 42mp I must control the amount of images to handle the workflow on my laptop.
It's almost time
First I would like to thank my friend Gerard for his guest blogs during the last month!! In one week my sabbatical will start and one of my intentions is to write regularly again.
Last weekend I visited two Cuckoo flowers area's and noticed green grassland instead of cuckoo flowers. Yesterday I visited the areas again and I could count the number of flowers on one hand. Fortunately a lot of Orange-tips were flying around and on every flower I found some eggs. In the evening I returned to an area nearby and I couldn't believe my eyes when I entered the area as on one Cuckoo flower 4 male Orange-tips were resting.
The amount of Cuckoo flowers is dramatically low. Today I visited a meadow of an 'old' area (where I photographed Orange-tips until 2017) and couldn't see any Cuckoo flowers at all....I guess it's the result of the extreme drought of last year.
A week ago I was going thru my photo-archive. I wasn’t searching for anything special but simply browsing through it looking back at what I’ve been doing the last couple of years. As I wrote last week it brought back many good memories, but it also showed very clearly that some subjects I photographed for just a limited amount of time, and for some reason was never interested in to retrace. Some places I photographed very extensively for a limited period…but never felt the urge to go back to them.
I guess that’s nothing special - I think that applies to just about everybody.
But for some reason there are a couple of subjects that makes just about every nature photographer’s heart beat fast..pumps up the adrenaline…and that certainly is the case with the Orange-tip butterfly for me. I think it’s one of the ultimate signs that Spring has finally arrived and each and every year I’m looking forward to seeing/photographing them.
This morning I was driving around Polder de Dordtse Biesbosch together with my brother Frank, and we were both searching for the first Cuckoo-flower. I guess we both knew that it was still a bit too early in the season, but with the warmer weather coming up it certainly won’t take long anymore.
And once the Cuckoo-flowers appear…the Orange-tips will follow soon after.
The picture above was taken almost 11 years ago. On the 3rd of May 2008 to be exact. The peak of the Orange-tip season used to be around that period in the past(end of April/beginning of May). With the climate changing that period is quickly moving a couple of weeks forward. Will 2019 be the first year I spot Orange-tips in March already ?
Text and poto are copyright protected by Gerard Jordan
One for the road
This morning I visited the cuckoo flower area again as I'm still dreaming of a certain photo....and no.....it's not the one below unfortunately. First because the flowers are almost finished and second the sun did not rise red on the horizon due to some buildings far away. By the time the sun was high enough to climb over the buildings the light was too hard.
But, I will not complain as I need something to desire for 2019 and there are enough other beauties to photograph right now.
For weeks, even months I was longing for spring and suddenly it was summer and within a week nature has changed completely. On Thursday evening I checked an area nearby and found out that the majority of the Cuckoo flowers are on their return and instead of Orange-tips I found eggs.
On Friday morning the weather was ideal (no wind at all) photographing butterfly eggs (with the MP-E 65mm) on their larval food plants. On the small fresh buckthorns leaves I found eggs of the Brimstone.
The interesting thing was that three females must passed this buckthorn bush and they all liked the same leaves/places as I found three eggs under the same leaves.
It's obviously that with this crazy high temperatures a lot of butterfly species came to live. On Wednesday evening I found two male Orange-tips near a small lake but after I installed my tripod one flew away....it was too warm! This morning I tried a 'new' area which, I guessed so, has a favourable rising-sun situation. The majority of the cuckoo flowers were still green and I only found one Orange-tip. But, I will not complain as one is enough; the only disappointing thing is the amount of dog owners who also like this area.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.