(or, Visiting Old Friends ptII)
One of the joys of living in our part of Norfolk is that in late spring/early summer the UK’s largest, most colourful butterfly can be seen. Of course you need to know where to look, they don’t pop up everywhere. You also need our old friend the un-predictable weather to be favourable. A good spell of warm, sunny and wind free conditions will bring this enigmatic insect out of it’s pupa deep in the reedbeds to grace the area we call ‘Broadland’
Last weekend was ideal so a trip to my favourite haunt Hickling Broad was in order. The usual area was disappointing, there had been clearance work over winter and few nectar flowers were available. A few hundred yards further on and there was a good amount of Red Campion and with it a newly emerged, mint condition Swallowtail eagerly fueling up. This beauty allowed plenty of photo opportunities.
The dragonfly season is also now in full swing. The early species were dominated by the Four-spotted Chasers (Libellula quadrimaculata). I have never seen so many in one place, almost swarm like!
As well as these ‘old friends’ there were a couple of surprises. Firstly a butterfly that has been in very low numbers in my part of the world and I have never seen at this site, the Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
So, a small brown bird sitting in an alder tree. I was so pleased to get this shot even though I was using my macro lens! This is a Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti). This bird first bred in the UK in 1972 and unlike all the other warblers (except one) does not migrate. As an insect eater it’s population could crash in harsh winters. The thing is the Cetti’s is extremely difficult to see, keeping deep inside vegetation by rivers or ditches. It gives away it’s presence by it’s explosive call repeating the cetti name (though it was named after an 18th century Italian zoologist, Francesco Cetti). An unusual fact, this is the only UK bird with 10 tail feathers, good luck trying to count them!
All in all a great day out and I’m glad to get my upload issues sorted so I could share it.