Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bright elusive

Naturospace, in Honfleur, is apparently the largest tropical butterfly house in France. We got there early, to find a shady parking space and avoid the crowds which were everywhere in the town, but fortunately mostly not early risers.

As you go into the tropical zone, you pass the glass cases where the adult insects, imagines, emerge from their chrysalides, which hang neatly from rails like clothes in a wardrobe.

As we made our way around, strange, exotic cries rose from the undergrowth, loud and high-pitched. Startled at first, we assumed it was a concealed recording, to create a rainforest ambiance, until these small, quail-like birds began to patter out of the undergrowth around our feet, peer up at us and emit the sounds we'd been hearing.


Butterflies are of course, famously and proverbially, elusive. One moment they're here...


... and the next, oop-la, off they go.


So you have to sneak up on them, basking,

just hanging out,

0r having a drink with friends.

The one below, as any schoolchild could probably tell you from its antennae, is not in fact a butterfly but a moth, a huge one, so it was probably sleepy,

and I could come quite close.

Others, frayed and faded, jaded beauties, were perhaps old and tired, their wings like perished silk, threadbare.



Glorious though the iridescent upper surfaces of their wings are, one should never overlook the subtlety of undersides.


Generally, they were disinclined to settle on a person. Perhaps if I'd been wearing yellow, but I never do. However, this man's bald head seemed oddly attractive to these younger black and whites, at times he was walking round with three on it. He didn't seem to mind.

23 comments:

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh Wow, what beautiful photos. I am not one for zoos or wildlife places but I LOVE butterfly houses. I have been to the one in Lancaster many times and always visit them if we go on holiday and there is one locally.

I love bat houses too.

I think I would like other wildlife places too if they felt natural - if you could walk through and be amongst the creatures but obviously with most creatures that is not possible.

Rosie said...

great photos...that head is a strange shape though...it looks like the knee on a very hairy leg!

Plutarch said...

Thank you for these. The eye patterns on the wings are amazing. One is led to believe they are intended to frighten off predators.

Zhoen said...

I love the butterfly head.

You draw me in, and make me smile.

tristan said...

hooray !

hooray !

hooray !

Granny J said...

Lovely critters! And hurrah for the bald-headed man, with his butterfly familiars.

julie said...

Beautiful! I can't believe you were able to get so close!

Thanks, Lucy - these are lovely to wake up to.

SpiralSkies said...

For goodness sake, must you be so artistically gorgeous all the time? It just makes the rest of us look bad you know...

X

Bee said...

These pictures are so STUNNING. How do you do it?

I saw a tiny blue butterfly in the garden today . . . such sights are sadly rare, but I have planted some buddleja as temptation!

Lucy said...

Thank you all, they were a very photogenic subject, and don't forget, they are rather larger than the average temperate butterfly, I have a 12x zoom, and still a lot of shots didn't make the grade!

Bee, your buddleia may yet draw the pretties in, the cold spring has not encouraged them, but I've just started seeing honey bees and a few butterflies, I was afraid the former really had gone extinct.

jzr said...

Fabulous photos, Lucy! Especially love that last one. I wonder how it felt ... from both perspectives!!

Avus said...

I had better not mention this post to HHnB - she used to refuse to enter a room with a butterfly or moth in it. (But now lives in Oz with snakes and re back spiders!)

HLiza said...

Ha ha..one lucky man! I've never tried capturing butterflies before..maybe now that we have better camera I can try that one day. Butterflies are magical insects that touch everyone heart I suppose..you hardly see people hating them..they're wonderful! I nearly see your reflection in one of those pics!

Dave King said...

Absolutely stunning photographs. I drooled over them!

Lee said...

Great photos. I am alway amazed at how a multi-legged eating machine transmogrifies into such a delicate flying machine.

leslee said...

Oh, wonderful! Gorgeous, all of them.

marja-leena said...

Fantastic photos! So many butterflies I've never seen, and that red moth is amazing for I thought they are usually mousy coloured.

laureline said...

Unbelievably beautiful. There ought to be a law forbidding such multi-talents as you have. I won't forget these images.

Robin Starfish said...

Phantastique! I'm partial to the translucent ones - it's like a living wireframe model. And the head shot is priceless.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love butterflies, your photos are stunning!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love butterflies, your photos are stunning!

meggie said...

Thankyou for sharing these. Chuckling at the bald head!

Jules said...

These are lovely shots. How lucky you are to have this butterfly exhibit close to you.