Red Admiral Flowering Ivy

8th October 2013

Red Admiral Ivy Flowers Clifton Bristol Zeb Bakes

I associate butterflies with summer and it isn’t summer anymore. However both yesterday and today the ivy on the Downs (where we currently walk the dogs) was crawling with honey bees and other species of wild bees, bluebottles and Red Admirals  – all feeding on the nectar from the flowers.

The moral of this tale is, don’t cut your ivy back before it has flowered, it provides valuable food for all manner of beings at a time of year when flowers are not so readily available.

Photo taken with great difficulty, this was the best of them, windy weather, a flighty butterfly and a little hand held camera which I have never really had the patience nor the inclination to learn to use properly.  I have a blind spot about cameras, I just want them to work, I don’t want to understand them. So I have tried to enhance the red which was brighter by far than the image portrays.

Hope you are all well!

31 thoughts on “Red Admiral Flowering Ivy

  1. Debbie @ themondaybaker

    Good to hear from you again! Like you I struggle with photos – LSH can turn out fantastic stuff with his phone but I always have to use a “proper” camera. Even then trying to get the colour balance is difficult. I find that changing where you point the sensor makes a big difference but it’s a bit hit and miss.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am still here, just been a bit quiet so I thought I would practise blogging again with a mini post. I couldn’t have got close enough with a phone camera to this, but this wasn’t B’s big camera either, just my little Lumix DMC TZ-18 and it was very very windy and the light was already going, excuses excuses. but I was surprised at how washed out the red looked when I got it home, must be the zoomy thing that does it. Thanks for leaving a comment X

  2. heidiannie

    Lovely picture – even with a camera that doesn’t just take the picture without a lot of fiddling!
    I have the same problem with cameras- I just want to take a picture not learn a whole new set of directions in a semi-foreign language!
    Red Admiral- I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one before- thank you for posting his picture.
    A mini-blog is good- I’ve missed you!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Red Admirals are very bright and distinctive, even to someone like me who knows the names of about three butterflies :) :) they have the rather glamorous latin name of vanessa atalanta which brings to mind something more like Wonder Woman. I can take pictures of loaves of bread, they don’t fly around and perch on leaves, while the sun sets behind you and blinds you anyway… xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Rooted around for a link to a red admiral page and then paused and read the whole thing, what a complicated life, no wonder they hang around nectaring (my new word for the day!) they can overwinter if it isn’t too cold, like students in shorts – the new intake has arrived at the Uni down the road, so many enormous lost children everywhere :)

  3. Misky

    Oh you do make tickle my funny-bone! I feel the same way about cameras. I have a little point and shoot Panasonic, and I only need to remember to push a button. Lovely butterfly. xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      I try, I know magic phrases like aperture priority and macrofocus and even f- stop but I can’t apply them when I am out there and life is fluttering its wings in front of me and leaves are rustling and the light is dappling, I look at what I am trying to take a photo of and the camera comes between me and it, it always feels that way :)

  4. Kenneth

    A lovely mini-post! I don’t seem to be able to get close enough to see identifying features let alone photograph them – they’re always up and away before I move!

    1. Joanna Post author

      that is where it gets interesting, on my big computer screen I can see loads of detail, the eyes the antennae everything, but it all gets blurred slightly by the time it goes through the wordpress machinery. If you use the macrofocus it reveals all sorts of stuff you didn’t see when you pressed the shutter button. That’s the bonus bit I guess :)

  5. ardysez

    How nice on my first morning back after a trip away to see a new post from you! I like the mini-post and have been thinking I may do more minis myself. Nice photo and good point about leaving things to flower for the late comers to partake! X

    1. Joanna Post author

      I read about leaving the ivy to flower the other day and have delayed chopping back the ivy on the back wall in my garden, so it was quite exciting to see how many bees and insects were on this huge flowering ivy today, learn something new all the time :) Look forward to your mini posts xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      If you look ivy up on the net (hedera helix) you will find out about its habits, it has two sorts of leaves and needs full sunlight to produce the adult flowering stems. This particular lot of ivy faces south and west and is climbing up and through a stand of hawthorn and other shrubs so is very big and mature and covered in flowering stems. Will try and add an additional photo into this for you Alicia.

      Flowering Ivy

  6. hotlyspiced

    What a beautiful butterfly. I love seeing butterflies but am always tinged with a bit of sadness that their life as a butterfly is so short – creatures of such beauty should be around for longer. You did well to capture this image xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      They are stunning, strong velvety blacks and admirable red :) It would be nice if they spent longer on the wing and less time as caterpillars :)

  7. maree

    Hi Joanna,
    Have missed talking to you. Lovelly butterfly… I usually have lots of Monarchs in the garden, I adore their burnt orange colouring. We are starting to head into summer now..cant wait.

    1. Joanna Post author

      We get mostly tortoiseshells and cabbage whites in the garden and occasionally a comma. I have been to butterfly places where you can walk around inside and be surrounded by them, exciting and a bit scary if a huge one flaps too close. Have a wonderful summer Maree :)

  8. Ann

    Lovely butterfly. Pity about the caterpillars! I’ve got some furry ones eating away in my garden at the moment but i don’t actually know what sort of butterfly they will become.

    1. Joanna Post author

      thanks, we haven’t had many caterpillars this year, some years there are loads – there is often a downside to sharing your garden with wild creatures :)

  9. Elaine

    Loved the photo – such a pretty butterfly. My photos of butterflies always look like a blurred blob of colour so I always feel disappointed with the results. I guess I need to be patient and persevere but I also just want a camera to take a good photo without much fiddling around.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I took loads as this one flew back and forth and waved his/her wings and generally disappeared from shot or went blurry and the dogs got very bored indeed. I am going to dig out the manual and try harder… maybe !

      Have also read up about them since posting this and discovered that most of them come from the Continent, they arrive in March, lay their eggs and they continue to migrate over the summer to us and then the numbers are at maximum by September when the eggs laid in March have gone through that long multi staged process – and that they love flowering ivy, rotting apples and blackberries as that is what is around for them to eat. Some overwinter by hibernating, most don’t survive a harsh winter though.

  10. narf77

    Steve has a Canon and messes about with it changing lenses and using photoshop and I just have a fuji point and click that often delivers better results ;). Like you I just want the damned thing to take a photo! Is it too much to ask? Since when did we have to start nursing the darned things and coaxing them to do their jobs? Methinks cameras have gone all politically correct and it’s time to apply the Russian theory…give us a couple of cameras. Make them actually do what cameras are supposed to do and stop charging an arm and a leg for something that is too precious to take a photo without needing a small fortunes worth of extra’s to wake it up like the mechanical equivalent of sleeping beauty! ;). Love the butterfly by the way. The bees are just starting to warm up enough to buzz their way around the place and as it has been so wet around here everything is flowering. A lovely time of the year :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I would love in fact to be able to wield a giant camera and be able to do all things mechanical and electrical but I also know that I am more interested in looking and reflecting on what I am looking at, rather than on how to record it. I am sure if I spent more time chasing butterflies I would figure it out eventually. So pleased your spring is underway and your bees are buzzing again :)

      1. narf77

        I just want something to point, click and deliver. A highwayman of a camera “Stand…and DELIVER!” ;).

  11. Promenade Claire

    Well done for getting a photo, I was watching one the other day, sunning itself on our back wall and by the time I got the camera…. yup it had flown. But it is strange to see them so late in the year.

Comments are closed.