Anthocharis cardamines hibernica
In Ireland, the orange tip butterfly is the most colourful of the pieridae (white) butterflies in that the males have bright orange tips to their wings and both sexes have a quite distinctive marbled green pattern on their underwings. It is a widespread species, occurring in every county.
Ireland has its own endemic subspecies ‘Hibernica’which flies for a relatively short time each year from April to June. This year it’s been very slow to emerge due to bad weather and is only now (in late May) in full flight. Females technically look like they can be confused with other white species but in the field are quite easy to tell apart.
Photographing them is a bit of a challenge as they are quite flighty but with patience the butterfly will occasionally take longer breaks on flowers and when the sky becomes overcast. It doesn’t often seem to open its wings flat, instead preferring to have wings half open. This unfortunately makes it quite challenging to get both the head and wings in focus. Presumably this is not as much of a problem for a higher spec camera. I usually shoot with an ISO around 200 and f8 to get a good enough shutter speed but better cameras should be able to get f11 and up easily and reduce the head/wings depth problem. Lenses used are my 28-135mm lens and my 18-55mm lens with diopter. I do occasionally use my 300mm but prefer not to as details on the head and body rarely work out.
|Female orange tip. They usually stay close to foodplants whilst the males wander further|
|Orange tips are one of the smaller white species in Ireland|