Meet the Neighbours

Earlier in the week I managed to get out and explore my new surroundings.  I walked for many miles along the old canal and around the country lanes.  The weather was not perfect but since then summer has temporarily left us and it’s been a bit soggy.

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Female Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens). I just can’t resist photographing these little beauties

The Banded Demoiselles were present all along the old waterway.  If it had been a touch sunnier I’m sure I would have seen more dragon and damselflies.  There were however Brown and Southern Hawkers, the big boys of the dragonfly world.  A few Black-tailed Skimmers warmed up on the footpath, always difficult to approach they rarely sit anywhere other than the ground.  A good number of Azure Damselflies (Coenagrion puella) were in the nearby ditches.

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The Azure Damselfly synchronised egg laying team need a bit more practice!

Even in overcast conditions several butterflies danced among the grasses that bordered the fields.  These were the Meadow Browns and Ringlets.  I did see my first Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris) of the summer.

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Smile….please?  This Small Skipper looks somewhat put out having a lens poked in it’s face
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A Leaf-cutter Bee busy at work

Sometimes you come across an area that may look just like dozens of others but for some reason is an absolute magnet for butterflies and other insects.  It may be that it’s position is slightly different so offering the perfect micro-climate. I glimpsed one such spot on Sunday and went back Tuesday before the rains came to confirm my sightings were no fluke.

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How beautiful is that? White Admiral (Limenitis camilla)

Situated alongside a country lane and public footpath, nestled on the edge of an impenetrable wood was a patch of bramble, nettle and other various wild plants.  Here dozens of butterflies sipped nectar or soaked up the odd minute of sun as the clouds gathered.  Commas, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Large Skippers, Green-veined and Small Whites, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and better still up to six gorgeous White Admirals.  The best of all was magnificent Silver-washed Fritillaries (Argynnis paphia).

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The female Silver-washed Fritillary is a big butterfly with a wingspan of about 3ins (75mm). Duller than the male it is an impressive sight

Now I have to admit I absolutely love Silver-washed Frits and I was jumping for joy at finding these here.  It was only ten years ago that this butterfly re-colonised Norfolk after being extinct for some thirty years.  They are a wonderful sight and I tried to convey this to walkers who paused to question what I was photographing.  I got the feeling most thought I was slightly eccentric, “a grown man taking pictures of butterflies, how odd”.  Some took an interest and it was a pleasure to share my enthusiasm.

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The male Silver-washed Fritillary, what’s not to get excited about?

48 thoughts on “Meet the Neighbours

  1. Excellent shots of some beautiful creatures. I too am amazed by the kind of micro-climates that you described. I often wonder why certain species or individuals choose specific locations. Is it the sunlight, the shade, the vegetation, the soil, the water, or some other consideration? It is a bit of a mystery, but it means I have to be alert, because I never know what treasures may be in store for me at each time I turn a corner.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant photos Brian. It looks like you’re new home is in a fabulous position. I know what you mean about certain ‘fields’ looking much the same but are magnets for butterflies. The bend in the road going up from our chalet never seems to disappoint and it looks a complete mess!

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    1. It’s possible and I wonder if there are one or two butterflies or bees in one spot they attract others? It could be time of day, I went back to that patch yesterday afternoon and there was not a single butterfly there!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well now that is a fantastic set of shots there B! That Small Skipper looks more like a teddy bear than a butter – at least I think they are still considered a butter – my apologies if wrong – regardless, definitely not a teddy bear ha. Also especially liked the synchronized Azure Damselfly shot. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. What wonderful new neighbors you have!

    Spectacular photographs, Brian. The damsel mating team is impressive, even if they need do more practice. Gini tells me that often.

    The Silver-washed Fritillary would have me excited, too! What a beauty!

    I’ve come to the conclusion that folks such as us are actually “normal” and those who cannot appreciate nature’s beauty are the “eccentric” ones.

    Sorry for the late comments. Life interferes …..

    Liked by 1 person

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