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Old Apr 22, 2011, 6:52 PM   #1
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Default That elusive Umber Skipper

Grass skippers are small butterflies that breed in grasses (including lawns) - their caterpillars and pupae stay beneath the grass and so are seldom seen. We have always had large numbers of Fiery Skippers, but this year there are none - probably because the lawn has been inundated so much by this years rains. Anyway, some time go I mentioned that I had seen an Umber Skipper for the first time, but could not get a picture because it was erratic and flighty, never sitting for more than a few seconds in one spot. I couldn't even get close enough to examine it without using my "butterfly binoculars" (Pentax Papillios)! Harriet asked me to be sure and post a picture if I ever got one. These are not great, but they are the first I have ever gotten - I was photographing flowers under an overcast sky (good light for flowers that don't move, but not much else) when one sat down in front of me and stayed long enough for a few shots (probably because of the cool temperature). The oddest thing was when I tried a few flash shots, it kept closing its wings so I couldn't get a well lit spread wing shot - I couldn't believe it's reflexes were so fast, but later realized it was reacting to pre-flash, so by the time the shutter released, the wings were closed! Lesson learned - check the flash settings (if you have time, which I didn't). However, it was fortuitous that it happened, because it turned out that the underwing pattern, weak as it is, is important for confirming the identification (there are a lot of skippers that look a lot alike). The pictures were noisy, but here are a couple of the "better" ones, just for the record:

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3

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Old Apr 22, 2011, 8:44 PM   #2
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Very nicely done! Skippers are frustrating to photograph, and I've never seen any like these. Most of the ones I see have more yellow, I like the last one showing the slight yellow "dusting" on the wings.
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 8:34 AM   #3
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Nice shots!..I have never seen a skipper before..so this is a treat..thanks!
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Old Apr 23, 2011, 9:56 PM   #4
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Thanks Harriet and Kashka for looking and commenting.

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Originally Posted by kashka View Post
Nice shots!..I have never seen a skipper before..so this is a treat..thanks!
FYI Here are some photos of another species that I posted in 2007:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...ur-garden.html
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Old Apr 24, 2011, 6:03 AM   #5
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Beautiful!

Only seen one of these briefly in Japan, very interesting compared to "regular" butterflies.
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Old Apr 24, 2011, 6:10 PM   #6
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Skippers are indeed tough to photograph, and tough to identify accurately. Looks like you did very well on both counts!
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Old Apr 27, 2011, 4:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Skippers are indeed tough to photograph, and tough to identify accurately. Looks like you did very well on both counts!
Yes they are - truer words were never spoken. Thanks for the complement.
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