Butterflies, Bugs, Birds & Blooms

Easter Sunday.  Taking advantage of lockdown easing we went a few miles out of town to have a walk around, what is for us, a new nature reserve.  Southrepps common is a 14 acre site now run by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.  Parking opposite the school you start on a boardwalk through reedbed and wet marsh.  The 3.5 mile circular route then takes you through mixed woodland and agricultural land, then on ‘quiet lanes’ around the pretty village of Lower Southrepps with it’s napped flint cottages.  This was the childhood haunt of our walking buddy Mick so he pointed out who lived where and the places he played.  Take a look at a small sample of the wildlife we encountered.

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Snakes-head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris). This beautiful and unusual flower is something of a rarity in the UK so I was delighted to see this specimen
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This tiny hoverfly is a species of Eupeodes possibly latifasciatus.  Love the colour the sun brings to it’s wings
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Little bird, big voice!  A Wren (Troglodites troglodites) poses for a quick shot
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I like to keep my eyes open for the unusual and this fits the bill! It is a type of ichneumon wasp possibly Spilichneumon occisorius (according to a fb group). The flower is Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) a common plant of roadside verges near the coast. It was introduced by the Romans and is edible
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Straight out of hibernation most butterflies seek sunny spots to absorb the warmth just like this Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
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Found a nice sheltered hollow for a coffee and cake break. Several Peacocks (Aglais io) were enjoying the newly opened sallow flowers
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Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

When we completed the loop we decided to go a bit further to see the farm Mick grew up on.  It was a good move.  As we walked by the steep bank near the railway bridge Mrs H called out “butterfly!”  I was not expecting a cracking fresh male Orange-tip!  Considering we have not had a sustained spell of good weather it was very early to emerge.  Normally these (my favourite spring butterfly) fellows would be wandering here and there not stopping.  This one was attracted to a bed of Red dead-nettles and was still there when we returned some time later.

You will notice from the images it was a lovely sunny day.  Yesterday and today we have been ‘enjoying’ heavy snow showers and a strong north/westerly with temps just above freezing.  I don’t think that first Orange-tip has a great chance of survival.  The Peacocks and Tortoiseshells on the other hand will just return to hibernation, and life goes on.

25 thoughts on “Butterflies, Bugs, Birds & Blooms

  1. Sounds like a nice walk and you got some fabulous pictures – including the Orange Tip. We’re expecting minus 8 overnight here, so let’s hope it’s a bit warmer further down the valley, otherwise all those I spotted will be frozen too!

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    1. They can be resilient creatures Mike but a sustained cold spell will do for them. It was a nice varied place and not too far from home so more visits in the future when the dragons should be about.

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  2. Wonderful butterfly photos. I just committed that you guys had beautiful weather and the North Pole storm must have missed you… then I read on that you did get part of it. It has been crazy here! Rain, snow, hail, thunder, lightning and blue sky. But, the high cold winds have been constant. Very confusing for our butterflies I am sure.

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  3. No, our little bit of Britain, stuck out in the North Sea, has received the full force of the arctic blast CJ. Yesterday there was a layer of snow first thing, it cleared but we had several more heavy showers that laid then melted. No thunder though. The winds go right through you.
    Nature will recover, it always does somehow.

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  4. Great pics. Particularly like the wren – a big hearted favourite of mine. And the peacock too – nice background colours setting it off well. It’s one of those blowsy butterflies I can never seem to do justice to in a photo. Pretty good attempt of yours though! Very crisp. Nice.

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  5. Well, I procrastinated commenting on your previous post long enough that you went and posted another one already! I am sooo lazy.

    What a fantastic walk! With a name like “Snakes-head Fritillary”, I was expecting a new butterfly! That is one fantastic and unique flower!

    All of your images are superb, but I remain jealous that you have that beautiful Orange-tip just sitting around waiting to be photographed.

    Chin up! The weather is bound to change for the better soon!

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    1. Yes I like to get the posts out when they are nice and fresh in the memory!
      That’s the first time I’ve seen that flower in the wild, they can be bought in garden centres but it’s not quite the same.
      The butterflies are having to hunker down now for a while but it will pick up again and hopefully have some dragons in the mix soon.
      Take care you two and have a great week.

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  6. Great shots and recap as usual – The Tortoiseshell shot is incredibly vibrant and I guess best wishes for the early Orange-tip. We are definitely on the backside of our bad weather days (fingers crossed) and now having several days in the high 50sF to high 70sF. Makes for some great trail runs – keeping an eye out for any butters (which means either a white one or a yellow one in our parts), but so far nothing. We are heading out on a new exploration in a couple of days so I’ll keep a look out to see if I can tin something of interest for you. Super glad you are able to get out and about (sorry for the snow ugh).

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  7. The flower is lovely and your insects very attractive. It’s always sad when the early hatchers get surprised by a return of winter weather, but maybe it was able to hide out for a few days. I wonder how long they can survive without feeding.

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    1. The butterfly could have survived. We have had a bit of sun which could have enabled it to nectar but the cold, wind and snow showers I feel would have been too much. There will be plenty more in weeks to come so all is not lost.

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