The Chalkhill Blues

Some years ago an unknown person decided that they would introduce Chalkhill Blues (Lysandra coridon) to the Iron Age hill fort at Warham in north Norfolk.  The ‘authorities’ frown upon such activities, and yes putting an alien species into the wrong habitat can be disastrous, both for the habitat and the introduced species.  You only have to witness the effects that grey squirrels and mink have had!  However these butterflies have thrived, though their numbers fluctuate.  There is plenty of horseshoe vetch their only food plant and they do not compete with any other species, so for me all’s good.  The colony is however a long way from any other, the nearest being Newmarket 60 miles away.

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Backlit Chalkhill Blue

As the long hot summer continues I thought it about time I had a look for the Chalkhills.  I was amazed at how many there were, especially females.  Hundreds of milky blue males danced low over the banks of the ring ditches looking for newly emerged females.  Females that had already mated and were looking to lay eggs were having to fight off the unwanted amorous attention of sometimes up to four males.

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“What do you mean you don’t like me? What’s wrong with me?” A worn female rejects a very battered males advances

Perhaps it was too hot and sunny, it was very difficult to photograph a male with open wings in a nice setting, I’ve done better in previous years, check out the HOME page and tab ‘Iron Age Blues, Warham Camp’  When a little bit of cloud covered the sun the males did start to settle, but low down.

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A fairly fresh male Chalkhill Blue

It was nice to see so many butterflies of other species today including the years first Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)  The numbers of these in this part of the Country is very low compared to when I was young.

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“Can’t see me” The superb camouflage of the Wall Brown

20 thoughts on “The Chalkhill Blues

  1. The numbers of these in this part of the Country is very low compared to when I was young

    However, it is marvelous that you are able to remember so far back. 😉

    Smashing photos as usual, Brian.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome pics Brian (as usual) – I’m definitely not a fan of bringing in non-native species into an eco-system – why is why I have such a disdain for the individuals that introduced all the Shakespear birds over here – but looks like this one seems to be settling in without too much disruption. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree, as I’ve mentioned the only problem is the colony is isolated, if there is a failure like a bad summer it will lead to extinction. These butterflies require warm chalk downland which we don’t have in this part of the Country, the 2000+ year old fort was created by exposing underlying chalk making a unique ‘island’ of flora and fauna.

      Liked by 1 person

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