Swallowtail Encounter


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!



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.



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


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.



Female 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 female Variable which was a bonus.  Also on the wing were several early male Large Skippers.

Large Skipper sun bathing, I like the spider silk coming from the leaf
Swallowtail butterfly. A Norfolk treasure. 2017 encounter
A fresh Swallowtail on campion. 2018 encounter
As the butterfly is much heavier than the campion they will often take nectar by hovering
Nectaring on flag iris. 2019 encounter

5 thoughts on “Swallowtail Encounter

  1. Well Brian,among the many butterflies that I have not had the pleasure in seeing as yet,is the British Swallowtail.A magnificent species.Perhaps I will get a chance to visit Norfolk to see this butterfly.
    A great pic of a variable damselfly,not seen over here but also well worth the trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Swallowtail can be very hit & miss Peter, get the weather spot on late May/early June and it can be fantastic. 2017 and I had a stunning week with over a dozen in a hundred yards on one morning. The Variable Damsel (female) was i.d ed(?) by a good friend, I have not imaged anymore yet.


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