Author Archives: Lyn Pullen

Help needed at Lankham on 15 Feb

Lots of small black furry caterpillars among dry grass
Marsh Fritillary caterpillars at Lankham on 7 February 2017. Photo: Nigel Spring.

Tuesday February 7th, Lankham Bottom Butterfly Reserve:  a beautiful almost spring-like day and possibly the earliest recorded date for Marsh Fritillary larvae on this site sunning themselves in a cluster on the southwest facing slopes of the reserve.

14 members of Butterfly Conservation and the Somerset EuCAN Volunteers gathered to finish the work on the chalkpit, to cut and burn up more of the scrub regrowth in what were formerly heavily scrubbed over areas of the reserve and to begin to remove gorse and thorn scrub in the south-east corner of the reserve where it is encroaching on valuable Marsh Fritillary habitat.

Small pit in a grassy field with a pile of rubbish in front of it

Lankham chalkpit now with a new face and emptied of rubbish! Photo: Malcolm Halfacre.

An enormous pile of buried rubbish was pulled out of the chalkpit with the help of a digger provided by Wessex Water, the owners of the site, and taken away in one of their dumper trucks. The face of the chalkpit was scraped of vegetation and topsoil to expose bare chalk which we hope will be colonised by Birdsfoot Trefoil, Kidney Vetch and other legumes and will become an attractive habitat for some of the blue butterfly species.

Orange dumper truck being loaded with rubbish.

Lankham Bottom Wessex Water as site owners very kindly took away the heap of rubbish extracted from the chalkpit. Photo: Georgie Laing

The work on the SE corner will continue next Wednesday Feb 15th – please come and help! See the Events page.

Fresh-looking Marsh Fritillary with open wings

Marsh Fritillary. Photo: Brian Arnold 2016.

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Butterfly photos

We are always a little concerned that people think there are expert butterfly photographers, and if you are not an expert, you can’t send in photos. You can. ‘Experts’ probably have good cameras and some technical knowledge, plus a lot of patience to get their shots, but they also take a lot of duff shots – remember, you only see the best ones.

I’m Lyn Pullen, the main editor of this website, and I’m far from an expert, though I have got a good camera which does a lot of the work.  I thought I’d share a few of my less-than-wonderful shots in the hope of encouraging you. I’d love to see some of your ‘failed’ shots – do send them in, hopefully we’ll cheer up these gloomy February days!

I’ll skip the numberous ones which are just out of focus.

This is one of the ‘I’m so focussed on getting the butterfly I don’t notice my own shadow’ shots.

Area of heather, with the shadow of a photographer

While this is the shot-taken-during-an-earthquake:

Heath and grass landscape, on a slope

And this is one of the ‘I’m sure there’s a butterfly in there somewhere’ shots. There is actually a Small Copper in the bottom left. I can’t share some of the others, because even I can’t find the butterfly in them!

A slightly out of focus Small Copper against the ground

I’m sure you’ve all had the bit-of-grass-got-in-the-way shot:

Silver-studded Blue on a grass stalk, with another grass stalk in the way

And, of course, there’s the one that got away….

Brimstone just flying out of the picture

Sigh! Still, at least in the digital age, the failures aren’t as expensive as they used to be.

Do dig out some of your more memorable failures and share them!

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