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!
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.
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.
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.