Chalk That One Off

Is it really four years since I last visited the Iron Age hill fort Warham Camp near Wells-next-the-Sea up on the Norfolk coast?  Apparently so.  This is the best preserved site of this period in the County and was probably home to an Iceni tribe.  Who knows, even the legendary, fearsome, warrior queen Boudica may have walked here before going off to kick some Roman bottoms, started well, didn’t end well.  All’s peaceful now, well apart from the constant roar of fighter jets overhead.  Just practicing in case the lovely Mr P decides to widen his horizons even further.

The fort is now home to Norfolk’s only colony of the delightful Chalkhill Blue butterfly (Polyommatus coridon) which were introduced here some years ago, not the done thing you know tut tut.  As I left the lane to cross the field to the ramparts I noticed a few Chalkhills fluttering about.  “that’s odd” I thought “never seen them here before”.  When I climbed the outer ring ditch it became apparent why, I have never seen so many!  The ground was shimmering with hundreds of the silvery blue males.

Lovely fresh male Chalkhill Blue

There were so many I could pick and chose which I wanted to photograph.  In the past I’ve not managed to get them nectaring way off the ground.  So I watched the best Scabious and Knapweed and waited ’till one alighted and hopefully open their wings (they were not always keen on the last part!)

A little bit worn

The females were less numerous.  Mind you with that many amorous males about they did well to keep their heads down!  Like several other of the ‘blues’ family the females are brown on the upper wing with variable orange lunules on the outer edge.  The under wing is also browner in hue.

Female Chalkhill Blue
That’s not a butterfly! Nope it’s a Six-spot Burnet moth (Zygaenea filipendulae)

All in all a rather good day out!  In total I saw 18 species of butterfly.  Better not leave it quite so long before my next visit but I can chalk this one off for this year.

40 thoughts on “Chalk That One Off

  1. I am a fan of the blues. Even more so when it’s butterflies!

    All the blues I’ve been chasing so far this year have declined to cooperate like yours to show off those upper wings. What a great set of photographs!

    All that, and a gorgeous moth bonus.

    Well done!

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    1. Thanks Wally. It took a lot of patience to get the open wing shots, oh and a bit of luck. Mostly they just landed wings closed then flew off. When the sun went behind some cloud they were all in the grass most with wings open but this didn’t make for nice shots.

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  2. Sounds like you are having an eruption over there of this gorgeous blues.. well, not to be sexist, blues AND browns. The purple flowers/weeds really accent their coloring. A new moth for me as well – must have been caught in a red paintball fight.

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  3. Those are some fabulous shots Brian! And I’m NOT talking about the Three Lions National Team. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 😉

    What a gorgeous hue and spectrum of blues! I guess up there in the north of England they are not suffering as much from the heat 🔥 or dry/drought conditions?

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    1. Good morning Prof!
      Glad you liked these little beauties. This is as far north as this butterfly can be found in the UK and we are about a third of the way up and stuck out east in the driest, hottest part of the Country. Thankfully the extreme (40c) heat was short lived and we are now back to ‘normal’ summer temps. It’s the lack of rain that’s a worry but these butterflies seem to enjoy the conditions.
      On the football front give a big cheer to the Lionesses as they take on Germany in the European finals on Sunday.

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      1. Ah, yes. Drought. A real popular subject here too. 🙄 Told our visiting neighbor yesterday, “What’s the fastest way to go bankrupt in Texas? …

        Make and sell umbrellas.” 😬

        Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to watch the women’s Euros. But I know the Lionesses have a great squad! 👍🏻 What’s your prediction for the Final? 😁

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      2. Ah, I don’t like to do predictions. I really hope they can pull this off. Their style of play and sheer skill is a joy to watch, something the men’s team could learn from instead of worrying about hair styles or how many more tattoos they can fit on their bodies! The Germans are a strong team though, typical German football, so it will be tight.
        If you can search the ‘net for video Russo’s goal v Sweden, incredible!
        https://www.uefa.com/womenseuro/video/0277-15b97058e396-d44e6f93306a-1000–alessia-russo-s-england-back-heel-from-every-angle/

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      3. Oh my my! Subliminal Brian, truly! And the build-up by the team is a joy to watch as well! Goodness. I tell ya, that should be a fantastic Final. And I honestly expect the Lionesses to be long established contenders for Women’s FIFA World Cups. I mean the sheer talent you guys have over there in your women’s leagues has become high class, some of the best competitions over there, no doubt!

        I tip my hat 🎩 to the Lasses over there for making it past Sweden. They are never easy to beat. 😉

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      4. We were out all afternoon/evening at friends (non football lovers) so I had to make do watching the highlights! So pleased for them what an achievement.
        Warning, name dropping. The No11 Lauren Hemp went to the school a few hundred yards from where we live when Mrs H worked there (she knows the family).

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    1. Not really common Sven but in the right habitat, with lot’s of Horseshoe Vetch then in a good year there can be massive numbers! However the key phrase is ‘habitat’ and that is not as much as it was due to a change in farming practice. Where I live is the most northern site for these beauties (even if they are not ‘natural’).

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