Norfolk’s Swallowtail Butterfly

The Queen of the Broads is on the wing and surveying her realm!  A visit to Hickling Broad this morning and I discovered that the sun has brought out the first of our largest and most spectacular butterflies, the Swallowtail (Papillo machaon ssp britannicus).  With a wingspan of 76-93mm (3-3 3/4 inches) (the males are smaller) this is a beautiful insect.

A fresh Swallowtail on campion

In the UK this butterfly can only be found in the Norfolk Broads where it’s mostly seen gliding over the vast reedbeds.  The caterpillars eat only milk parsley which grow among the reeds, the pupae can survive the winter partially submerged, and the adults will emerge late May till July and prefer warm days with little wind.  As it has been rather cool and windy the last few days I was surprised to see at least eight.

As the butterfly is much heavier than the campion they will often take nectar by hovering

I had gone to the Broad to look for dragonflies and got rather side-tracked, but there were good numbers of Four Spotted Chasers and Hairy Hawkers about.

Also check out

Four Spotted Chaser

26 thoughts on “Norfolk’s Swallowtail Butterfly

  1. Surely the Swallowtail butterfly is a real beauty and your photos are amazing!! And the dragonfly!!!! Stunning gorgeous and so detailed.
    I think I managed to capture a Wood White and just posted some images. Would be more than happy if you want to take look to
    see if I’m right or not 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Both “Beasties” – absolutely stunning! Mankind, with all their intellect, resources and creativity – still cannot create a single one of the Creator’s amazing creatures.
    We can only observe in wonder and be constantly amazed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Superb, my man!
    That Swallowtail is quite special and I admire your dedication to get the photos.
    There is a blue swallowtail that visits our spot from time to time and I have been trying to photograph it for years! But to date …. not darn luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All we get in NZ’s Southland (okay, in our part of it) is cabbage whites. Although once I saw a monarch, and in Queens Park one I think may have been a red admiral or similar.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah, a butterfly I actually recognize and have the privilege of enjoying without leaving my acreage! As usual, sharp shots – I have only seen one so far this summer, but the weather has been a bit weird here – we completely skipped Spring here and now directly into the Summer temps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand there are several species of swallowtail in the States all beautiful, you will have to try and image some. We have just had a decent spell of spring, not the crazy temps I’ve heard from your side of the pond.

      Liked by 1 person

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