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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.