The Butterflies of the Cut-off Channel

The Cut-off Channel is a man-made waterway in the west of the Counties of Norfolk & Suffolk and runs for 28 miles (45 km).  Construction was finished in 1964 and it has a dual purpose.  In winter it collects the flood water from three rivers and transfers it, via a pump at Denver, out to sea in the River Great Ouse.  Summer and the flow is reversed and water is supplied to fill a reservoir in the County of Essex.

The spoil from the digging formed steep banks which are now lush with flora and support a wide variety of fauna.  After Foulden Common a small stretch at Stoke Ferry is the only other site in Norfolk to find the tiny Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae).  The Skippers normally appear in April but due to our very poor spring I was wondering if any would be out now in June.  Yesterday (2nd) with temperatures hitting 26c I took the 90 minute drive to find out.

A surprisingly fresh Grizzled Skipper. Very difficult to spot, the usual sighting is a tiny grey blur zig-zagging low and fast to the ground
Not so fresh but at least this Skipper had the decency to sit up off the ground for a few seconds

In the sweltering conditions I counted five Skippers which I was well pleased with.  There were many more butterflies to keep me amused and a few dragon and damselflies.  The air was filled with birdsong and apart from a couple of joggers and dog walkers I had the place to myself.

Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) behaving itself and not attacking anyone!
Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) not much bigger than the Grizzles. This was attacking everyone!
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus). Lovely and fresh the colour is deep and vivid

33 thoughts on “The Butterflies of the Cut-off Channel

  1. Beautiful, Mr. B.
    We are currently freezing our nadgers off here in Johannesburg. The ‘real feel’ is only 2 degrees, and it’s blowing a gale.

    Any butterflies out and about in this weather have probably been blown all the way to the Indian Ocean by now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The air filled with birdsongs and the low lying area Skippers were perched or flitting by for you to see and photograph sounds divine!! The images are top notch and beautiful.

    I just realized that Norfolk and Suffolk means north and south folks!! Good grief I’m slow sometimes. 😂

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  3. A very productive outing B. I kept moving down the post and saying .. I like that one.. wait, I like that one more..and on until I hit the Common Blue – glad you stopped with that one as that one is clearly my favorite (of this set!). Things have been uncommonly cool over the last several weeks, however, now we are moving back to the 90sF and definitely feeling it on the long runs.

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    1. That’s the thing with butters B the next one is always the favourite. It took a long time to get that shot of the Blue, in the heat they are a bit lively!
      Running in that heat? Be careful!

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      1. I have the 50K next month that I previously went to the hospital on thanks to the heat – need to get as many hot runs in before that so that doesn’t happen again or L. will take my running shoes away!

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    1. Thanks David. We only have 58 species in the UK so I have to travel a bit to see some. But as our Country is probably only the size of one of your States it’s no big deal (apart from the traffic!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the history of the waterways in East Anglia. Sounds like they’ve produced quite a few unusual habitats over the years for the local wild life to take advantage of. Nice selection of pics. There are still very few butterflies about on the downland over here.

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  5. Very nice outing!

    Good to see the Grizzled Skippers made a good showing for you and even posed. I kept looking at all of your fabulous images in an effort to choose a favorite. To no avail.

    They are all favorites!

    Enjoy a new weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Pete. Yes, this spell of early summer should get things moving nicely. The spring butterflies may have suffered though I’m still seeing good numbers of Orange-tips and Brimstones.

      Liked by 1 person

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