Swallowtail Encounter

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I am fortunate in that I live only a few miles from Hickling Broad and I don’t have to work in the mornings, so if the weather is good I can be there in about ten minutes.

So it was on the 28th of June 2016, with the sun beating down and no wind I made my way to my favourite route, walking east from Decoy Road along the Weavers Way.  The conditions were perfect for swallowtail butterflies at the peak of their flying season.  I have seen many of these, Britains largest butterfly, before but usually it is as they fly quickly over the vast reedbeds, today was to be different!

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Broadland beauty

Having walked about half way to Rush Hills I came across a large bed of thistles and there were not one but two of these magnificent insects, happily nectaring on the flowers. I have been lucky to see swallowtails close-up before but not with my camera,  and

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I’ll just pose, you take as many pics as you want

today I wanted top notch images.

I feared that these two would soon disappear when I pointed the lens in their direction, and with trembling  hands (thank goodness for vibration control) I fired off some record shots.  However my fears were unfounded and these two were in no hurry to leave.  I managed to get dozens of frame filling images from all angles before I reluctantly had to leave to get ready for work.

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Male variable damselfly

The day was not just about the swallowtails.  Earlier on my walk I saw many types of damsel and dragonflies, including our own Norfolk hawker but could not get any images of it.  One damselfly I did photograph turned out to be quite scarce, it was a male variable which was a bonus.  Also on the wing were several early male large skippers.

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Large Skipper sun bathing, I like the spider silk coming from the leaf
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