Archive for the 'Butterflies' Category


A juxtaposition of events

We went to watch ‘Kong – Skull Island’ the other night at the cinema. Give it a miss; thin non-captivating plot, mediocre acting and CGI worthy of no more than a computer game. It was a late showing so we drove back home quite late at night. I like driving in the dark. We went by the scenic route. Country lanes, field edges, roadside copses and overhanging trees. It was mild too. I expected badgers, deer, rabbits, hares and the odd owl. What did we get? … a single, lonely moth. Just the one!

And yet … earlier in the week we had been for a walk along the dunes to see the Grey Seals hauled out on the beach. We didn’t count them all but it was plain to see there were a lot. We estimated there to be 3000 over a mile or so of beach. It wouldn’t have been far from the true number. This is more than I’ve ever seen before… anywhere. The tide was high and it was a weekday with few people and dogs around. Seals will have been pushed here from the sandbanks off Yarmouth and there was little disturbance to push them back into the sea here so numbers would be at a peak. 3000 equates to 1% of the world population. Even this weekend when things were much busier with people I did a more accurate count on a lower tide and there was 1426. Less than half the number than a few days earlier but that’s still a lot of seal flesh perched on the sand. Nothing less than a wildlife spectacular. A scene from an Attenborough episode.

What a juxtaposition of events.

When we have such spectacles and numbers it’s easy to think everything is ok. To think things are on track; that nature is in balance and our wildlife is safe.



That time of year again

The end of another year is almost upon us. Goodbye 2016 and hello 2017. Thinking back through the last twelve months there’s been so many good sightings; so many good times. It really has been a good year.

The Geese and Goosanders on the Solway Tour performed for us as did all the specialities on the April Scotland Tour. The Mull tour was spectacular; eagles, whales and more. Canada leaves Humpbacks breaching through my memories for many years to come. Scilly was a classic. Orchids, butterflies and Nightjars all played a part during the year. So many sightings, so many places.

If I was to choose one moment; one sighting above all others, it would have to be seeing Cuvier’s Beaked Whales in the bay of Biscay. Beautiful, enigmatic, specialised life forms that we can only peek at through tiny keyholes in time before they descend once more to the depths.

Happy New Year… have a good one.





This Comma Butterfly was perched up asking to be photographed on a tour last week. It was showing us exactly how it came to get its name!



Norfolk Wing

This year’s ‘Norfolk Wing’ the online magazine from Wildlife Tours & Education is now available here




One of my guests on the butterfly tour last month brought this Chalkhill Blue butterfly to my attention. It’s unusually coloured. It’s an aberration, a freak, a variation that nature sometimes throws into the pot. I was curious what the Butterfly County recorder, Andy Brazil,  would make of it. Here’s what he said:

Chalkhill’s have historically had a lot of variations recorded, but we’ve not had any from Norfolk before.

There’s a similar aberration here named as post-obsoleta, but this female also has a paler, washed-out ground colour of ab pallidulla. I’ve looked through this list but nothing quite matches the combination. So I’d say it was ab. post-obsoleta ab.pallidulla so two aberrations on the same insect!

So there you go. Another first for Norfolk!

Chalkhill Blue (Aberrant)



On the Butterfly day this year we managed 24 species along the Norfolk coast; and we missed some obvious ones. As we waited for insects to descend into the sunshine draped blackberry bush a Valezina arrived. This is a washed out silver form of the female Silver Washed Fritillary with a rainbow thorax. When I say it arrived; I mean it did everything but slap us in the face. I was surprised. I’ve never heard of one being seen at this site before and to have one land just inches from us was quite a delight… for us all.

Silver Washed Fritillary (Valezina)1 Silver Washed Fritillary (Valezina)2


White letter Hairstreak

As we waited for Fritillaries this White letter Hairstreak chose the moment to perch opposite us.

White letter Hairstreak

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March 2017
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