Then, people started coming back from their walks around the reserve with great news to tell me. The swallowtails were about! They were seen in a few locations and I was going to decide which one to go to first, when suddenly another person came up to me and said that there was one seen just a few minutes ago just before the turn to Fen Hide. Well that's that decided then! I was off to find this swallowtail for myself. On the way, along Sandy Wall, I found another of my targets; a hornet. Annoyingly though, this large wasp did not hang around and left as soon as I saw it.
Swallowtails are a Norfolk icon in the UK as you can only find them here around the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads. The ones found here are a subspecies to the ones found on the Continent. Unlike those swallowtails, who lay their eggs on several plant species found in meadows, our British swallowtails are fussy breeders and only lay eggs on milk parsley, a rare plant only found in reed beds. But due to water pollution, the distribution of milk parsley, and with it the British swallowtails, became restricted to only to the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads. This makes our subspecies well sort after amongst butterfly enthusiasts across the UK. As I came back from my swallowtail sighting, a man came up to me and I directed him to where I saw it. He had travelled all the way from Newcastle complete with Geordie accent. That is a long way to come just to see Britain's largest butterfly!
|Male Broad-bodied Chaser|
|I also found this eggshell today. I think it belonged to a song thrush, but I'm not 100% sure|
|Large Red Damselfly|