Saturday 13th June was Butterfly day at the excellent RSPB Strumpshaw Fen near Norwich and there was one particular sought after butterfly which can only be seen in the Norfolk Broads in late May & June. (There is a later flight period in August but fewer are on the wing then.)
The butterfly is our largest and is of course, the beautiful Swallowtail butterfly.
At reception I was told there were not many about. On the way to reception we were able to see about 5 Bee Orchid plants. On our walk around the fen we managed to see several Norfolk hawker dragonflies which were duly photographed, we heard a Cuckoo and saw 2 very hairy black and brown caterpillars.
We are particularly fortunate that there is a garden bordering the reserve which is superbly managed to attract visiting butterflies and other wildlife including Large Skipper, Painted Ladies and most importantly it regularly attracts visiting Swallowtails. they are particularly attracted to the Sweet William plants. The very genial and accommodating owner allows Swallowtail enthusiasts to enter the garden if they see a Swallowtail and photograph.
On the way back, first one & then 2 Swallowtail butterflies actively fed from the Sweet William plants, with their wings almost constantly flapping. These butterflies are supposed to fed exclusively from the Milk Parsley plant but the Sweet Williams are an exotic aside for them.
Occasionally, the Swallowtails would momentarily relax and a whole plethora of Camera lens simultaneously clicked as the visiting photographers obtained their shots like a crowd of papparazi snapping a visiting celebrity.
All this would not be possible without the very kind and generous permission of the garden owner to allow us to enter his land, I am greatly indebted to you kind sir.