Chalkhill Blues & Warham Camp

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male chalkhill blue

Late July 2016.  I visited Warham Camp near Wells-next-the-Sea for the first time.  This is a special site as it is home to the country’s most northerly colony of the chalkhill blue butterfly.  Although they were introduced many years ago they are thriving on this wonderful ancient monument.

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warham camp

The camp is an Iron Age hill fort and was home to the Iceni tribe over 2000 years ago.  It was dug from the underlying chalk besides the River Stiffkey and consists of two huge ring ditches and a flat central area.  This has formed a habitat rare in Norfolk of chalk grassland which supports beautiful wild flowers including horseshoe vetch, the food plant of the chalkhill blue caterpillar.

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chalkhill blue

 

 

Tina and I paid several visits over the next few weeks when the weather was warm and sunny.  The number of chalkhills increasing through August, with more females  noted later in the month.

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brown argus at warham
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common blue

 

 

Other species of butterfly were abundant during our visits.  These included brown argus, common blue, small copper and both Essex and small skipper.  The lane leading to the fort was good for gatekeeper, meadow brown and ringlet.

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