The second part of my 2017 quest to see new butterflies took me north. The species I wanted to see was marsh fritillary. This butterfly has a rapidly declining population with colonies in the south and west of the country. However there is a re-introduced colony at Chambers Farm Wood near Wragby Lincolnshire.
So on the 23rd of May I headed across the Fens and then up to Lincoln. Weather conditions were warm and mostly sunny, perfect conditions.
I met another enthusiast in the car park and we walked to the area in the woods where the frits can be found. This is little scrubb’s meadow. Boggy underfoot with a profusion of plants and especially devil’s-bit scabious, the food plant of the caterpillars.
It was obvious we were onto something special as everywhere you looked fritillaries could be seen, possibly well over a hundred. The males darting here and there chasing likely mates, females heavy with eggs hardly able to fly and by mid-day the activity quietened down. Several mating couples were then observed.
This is a day that will stick in the memory for a long time, such beautiful butterflies, let’s hope the populations grow again now conservation work is being carried out.