Early July 2017. A good time to checkout the Silver Washed Fritillaries, Argynnis paphia, at Holt Country Park Norfolk.
It is only in recent years this magnificent butterfly has colonised the county. They are doing really well and can be found in a few woods, the best being Holt in my view. Going early in the season means they are in the best condition. Our visit was in late afternoon and we were lucky they decided to nectar so we had cracking views down to a few inches!
Two special sightings the first a mating pair. The male however seemed more interested in feeding.
The other was my first sighting of two females of the rare form Valezina.
This beautiful blue colouration only occurs in a small percentage of females. It is mainly only known in the south of the Country in the large colonies of Hampshire & Wiltshire for example. I was aware they had been reported at Holt so it was a thrill to see not one but two, and so close I had to step back to focus!
I noticed the Valezinas kept in the shadier areas and have read that this is possibly because they cannot regulate their body temperature as well as the more normally coloured Silver Washed Frits. It did make for some nice images even if it meant I had to have a high film speed and slow shutter speed.
Several visits to Holt in 2018 / 19 and the numbers seem to be increasing. Late June if the weather has been good would be a prime time to see them fresh. Unfortunately I have had no more Valezina sightings though I’m sure they were present.