Wiltshire photographers are being challenged to capture one of the UK’s rarest butterflies on camera in coming months. The purple emperor is a rare an elusive creature, despite being an aggressive insect that’s almost the same size as a bat.
The butterflies are found across Central Europe and are usually found in woodlands. They are very rare but patient photographers can sometimes catch the males when they come down from the tree canopy to feed – not on flower nectar like most butterflies, but on the less appetising-sounding dung, urine and dead animals.
A colony of purple emperors can be found in Ailesbury Column in Savernake Forest and another in Bentley Wood. However, if you fancy photographing butterflies in a slightly less rural environment, where you’re guaranteed to get some on camera, you could try visiting Butterfly World at Studley Grange near Swindon.
The butterflies here are very social, often landing on your clothes and not being fazed by human visitors, ensuring you’ll get some good photographs.
There aren’t just butterflies, either; you can photograph some fascinating mini creatures, from leaf cutter ants and flower beetles to giant millipedes and geckos, and creatures including sheep, rabbits and chickens in the animal paddock.
For macro photography, we’d recommend the Sony DSC-HX1, which produces crisp, clear close-ups.
Read more about the Purple Emperor here.
And find out about Butterfly World.
Picture credit – CCA: Monarch Butterfly by Mike Baird from Flickr