So who are we?
We're a couple of nature-nuts who fell in love and decided to chase butterflies with a camera.
Seth - aka The Gibster
Desperately clinging onto my youth (I'll be 40 next year!) and having great fun with our butterflying around Britain this past couple of seasons. My deepest passion is birding. It's just a part of what I am, and it has been ever since I can remember. Next comes my sweet little Sami (sorry Baby, the birds got there first lol!) but I'm a complete nature-mentalist anyway. I've been watching butterflies for many years, although there were a few rather embarrassing gaps in my list until I filled them all during the 2010 Butterfly Blitz (all apart from Mountain Ringlet, that is, accursed creature!) Highlights have been finding and breeding through a wild-caught Long-tailed Blue larva and seeing Large Tortoiseshell on Portland. This year I'm planning on seeing both of the Mountain Ringlet subspecies along with Real's Wood White in Ireland and rhoumensis Small Heath on Rhum. These are my top priorities. I also want to experience Purple Emperor baiting and find my own White-letter Hairstreak eggs. My butterfly dream would be to rediscover Arran Brown up on Rannoch or the Irish race of Mountain Ringlet. My butterfly nightmare would be to then discover that they were recent illicit liberations. I have a rather short list of butterflies identified overseas including beauties such as Two-tailed Pasha in Spain, Cleopatra in Tenerife, Camberwell Beauty in Canada and Monarchs in Nicaragua.
Generally speaking, I'm the do-er and organiser of the partnership. I'll devise fiendishly cunning and complicated days out, routes, target species and itineraries. Plus I do all of the driving. Sami is often the first to spot a particular target species in the field which is great, but she does tend to hog the camera and hasn't yet learnt to drive a car, which isn't quite so great. But she is a rather determined character (indeed, some might say bull-headed and stubborn) with a quite surreal sense of perpetual optimism. Together we make a damn fine team.
Sami - aka Chip
I'm a 26 year old closet hippy with a thing for tall men with facial hair, which is where Seth fits in nicely. Within 3 years of meeting and snaring (ahem, I mean 'courting') him I had a life list for British birds up in the 200's, a tattoo of a Glanville Fritillary on my chest, a year's solid butterfly-chasing under my belt, plus a shiny new pair of bins and a digital SLR. The camera has transformed me into a (very) amateur wildlife photographer, and I'm really pleased with some of the results I've been getting.
I've always been interested in nature since I was little - I have vivid memories of my uncle seeing how many insects he could put on me before I'd flinch. I'd end up covered in dozens of spiders, woodlice and worms, delighted and giggling. Despite being accepted to the university and course of my choice, I fobbed it off and buggered off travelling. I'd already been all over the shop with my semi-hippy ex-army family but now I had the road to myself and I LOVED it. At the tender age of 18 I was living in a tent in Canada, hitch-hiking and farming. 19 saw me living deep in the Nicaraguan rainforest in a mud hut I'd helped to build with no electricity, toilet or running water and house guests which included chickens, army ants, wildcats, rats, bats, scorpions, dogs, parrots, ducks, the occasional cow and horse overnighters and a 5 foot long snake. That experience got me hooked and two years ago I tentatively invited Seth out to give it a try. Luckily, he loved it, and I got to see the country I love so much in a whole new light, through Seth's nature-mad eyes. Now the waterfalls and forests and hillsides where I'd lived were suddenly full of forest falcons, hummingbirds, aracaris, trogons, giant kingfishers, howler monkeys, fireflies, peccaries and agoutis. I feel like I was blind before and can't thank Seth enough for bringing a new dimension to my world.
1st July - Sam finally finds success at the 'accursed' Jubilee Woods and connects with a close WHITE-LETTER HAIRSTREAK, bringing her British butterfly list up to am impressive 57 species!