Duke of Burgundy, Dinghy Skipper and Brown Argus Butterflies at Ashridge Estate!

 This was a most gratifying trip; the timing had been carefully planned as had the location. (I had not realized that Ashridge was a National Trust property when I first read about it in an old BBC Wildlife Magazine). 
 As this was our first-ever visit we did not know what to expect; I can thoroughly recommend a visit for the beautiful views and well planned walks as well as the carrot cake at the visitor center even if butterflies are not on the agenda.

 As you will gather from the heading dear reader, my agenda was firmly fixed on butterflies! I did not really expect to find a `Duke` but was encouraged to search thoroughly by the assurances from a butterfly expert we met during the morning who reported he had definitely seen ONE earlier! It was a hot afternoon (for once) and the need to keep heading for the bottom of sunny  banks was beginning to prove somewhat tiring but success eventually came while we were eating our sandwiches in a likely-looking spot!

 Getting a good shot was tricky and involved kneeling in nettles (deliberately) and a very wet cow-pat (accidentally)! The pictures were well-worth the effort however!
DukeOfBurgundy-464 (22)DukeOfBurgundy-464 (35)

There were plenty of other early butterflies there and I was pleased to add Dinghy Skipper and Brown Argus to my list for the day; the 210mm lens combination on the Olympus OMD M1 proving ideal for such flighty subjects: I did try to use a 60mm macro lens on the skippers but they were not prepared to cooperate....

DingySkipper 464 (1)Brown Argus-464 (4)

The woodlands look ideal for butterflies and the Downs hold populations of Chalk-hill and Adonis Blues so visits in July and August will be in the diary I think! 

 But perhaps I will avoid the nettles and cow-pats next time!

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