If you are in the right place at the right time with the ideal conditions then what you wish to see should happen. So it was towards the end of May when I went for a wander along my favourite part of Hickling Broad. It’s Swallowtail season and the UK’s largest butterfly is on the wing enjoying the driest, sunniest spring on record. Early to mid-morning and the newly emerged adults will look for a quick boost of nectar before embarking on their quest to reproduce. One of the butterflies most liked flowers at this time is red campion. Not the tallest of plants so any photos will have a ‘messy’ background of reeds and sedge. Later into June and the thistles will be in flower. Better images can be had but by then most of the Swallowtails will have tatty wings, I like to catch then nice and fresh.
It was a reasonable morning and I counted seven individuals, not a bad total. One thing I like about this species is when it feeds it’s upper wings are almost constantly flickering but the body is still. Nice to have shots of a static subject, wings open, but I thought I would experiment and try and get some to relay that movement.
I have mentioned before that ‘britannicus’ is unique to the Norfolk Broads. It’s caterpillars only eat the milk parsley that grows in the reedbeds. Also the butterfly has a smaller thorax than it’s continental cousin and as such is a weak flyer unable to travel far to colonise new areas. Thankfully it and it’s habitat are well protected and butterfly lovers from all over the Country come to admire and pay homage to our ‘Queen’. The only dark cloud on the horizon is if sea levels rise with global warming the Broads will be flooded and the habitat lost.