Those of you who have followed this blog for awhile will be aware that the first butterfly I decided to try and find outside my home County was the Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina). I don’t think my images last year did justice to this rare, small and captivating creature, so armed with the new Sigma, Tina and I headed 130 miles south to Totternhoe Old Quarry in Bedfordshire.
The Duke has a wingspan of 29-32 mm (about 1 1/4 inch), it has suffered a massive decline across Europe. It can be found on rough grassland and in woodland clearings where it’s caterpillar feeds on primrose or cowslip. The males form small leks and defend their territory from all-comers while waiting for the ladies. The females (Duchess?) differs from the male in having six legs, as they are so small it is hard to see this in the field. They used to be called fritillaries but are members of the Metalmark family.
The weather was far from ideal being cool and overcast, but in one bright period the Dukes woke up and in one small area we counted six before the skies turned grey and they returned to roost in the bushes. One thing I have noticed on the images is that the upperwing on some have a sheen which makes the picture look out of focus. On leaving a fellow butterfly photographer called me over, he had found a Burgundy roosting allowing for a perfect image, and a great memory.
For more images I have updated the portfolio and invite you to take a look, click this link https://blhphotoblog.wordpress.com/portfolio/duke-of-burgundy-totternhoe/