Homage to the ‘Queen’

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.

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A Swallowtail (Papillo machon ssp britannicus) on campion

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.

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Sideways and you can see the wingtip blur
Head on and the motion is more extreme yet the head is stock still. I actually quite like this shot.  Nikon D5300, Sigma 105mm 2.8 macro +1.4x converter, iso 500, f18, 1/400sec, centre weighted metering

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.

The ‘classic’ shot


42 thoughts on “Homage to the ‘Queen’

      1. Indeed! My son has been watching a few games from the Spanish league this past week. They have digitally ”fixed” the images in some shots (including sound) so as to appear as if the stands are full.
        Did you hear that FIFA is now allowing 5 subs per team per game?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes I heard that and also water breaks. Well they get under way next week though most people I speak to have little interest and wish the whole thing was abandoned. Strangely a Norwich player has just tested positive, this after four rounds of tests have been all clear! What do these privileged people get up to?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Spectacular photographs of a real beauty, Brian!
    Knowing the habitat of your subject, having patience and using your technical skills certainly paid off handsomely.

    And your fans appreciate you sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Take a few days off and the next thing I know I’m down multiple posts!! Lovely captures. We have a Swallowtail family member over here and they are .. as you managed to brilliantly catch with your variety.. magnificent. That last shot is what I’d proudly label a wall-hanger. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a little burst of activity there B. I thought if I don’t get these posts out I could be like someone over the pond and be 3 years behind!
      Mrs H also likes the last image yet I prefer the first, everyone has different tastes,

      Liked by 1 person

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