/ in Norfolk by Marek
Swallowtail butterfly feeding on the flower of a Thistle
A Gift Of A Thistle

Following our previous success at both Lulworth and Kinlochleven we now turned our attention to the Swallowtail butterfly currently restricted, due to habitat, to the Norfolk Broads.

The best location for recording the Swallowtail is readily available on line so it was just a case of finding suitable accommodation for setting our moth trap.

Strumpshaw Fen RSPB reserve is farmed in such a manner as to encourage the growth of milk parsley which is the Swallowtail caterpillars only food plant.

We were able to record our quest on our very first visit to the Fen as a lepidopterist who lives close by allows visitors to take pictures of the butterfly nectaring on the flowers in his garden.

Flowerbed design of Swallowtail friendly plants, with a sign indicating anyone wishing to see any butteflies up close, feel free to get closer
First sign of Swallowtails

It was not quite the same story when trying to record the butterfly on the fen itself however as although we saw quite a few during our walk they were all flying at great speed towards the garden outside the reserve for their breakfast.

Although it was nice to record the Swallowtail in a garden specifically planted with flowers to encourage it to stop, we really wanted some shots in a more natural environment, so our quest continued.

The following day we decided to try How Hill nature reserve and it was here where we managed the photographs we were looking for when a Swallowtail decided to stop and feed on the thistles next to the path we trod so it was mission accomplished.

Strangely enough it was here that we also recorded a female Yellow-barred Long-horn having recorded the male at Strumpshaw Fen the day before.

Trapping at the cottage gleaned some good results with several new species for us but even with the time spent on research before the trip I had managed to forget that if you trap in an area where there is a lot of water that midges can pose quite a problem.

Fortunately, however Norfolk midges are in no way as aggressive, mean and troublesome as their Scottish counterpart.

The early success of our mission meant that we could now spend time on seeing more of what Norfolk had to offer but still with a view to recording butterflies and moths.

We came up with the idea of driving to Great Yarmouth and then catching the train to the Berney Arms Railway Station which is documented as one of the remotest in England.

The plan was to stop at the Pub for lunch and walk back to Great Yarmouth along the river Yare stopping to take pictures of anything and everything on our way back.

The walk back Great Yarmouth took us rather longer than expected, not because of the time spent in the Berney Arms, because of the wealth of wildlife to track and take pictures of, but with such magnificent scenery on a hot summers day who cares.

Long distance shot up a small river with a windmill on the horizon
2 miles as the moth flies