Sunday, 25 April 2010

Early Spring Butterflies

Male Orangetip [sorry haven't got a Green Hairstreak picture - yet]

The warm weather of the past week has brought out the early spring butterflies in NW Norfolk. Last weekend I saw my first Orangetips at Courtyard Farm near Ringstead. These fast flying white butterflies with their citrus orange wing tips are a real sign of spring emerging in mid / late April with the first warm weather and all but gone for another year by the end of May. Go and look for them now and get your annual fix.

Yesterday another walk at Courtyard Farm with a definite butterfly 'target' in mind, the Green Hairstreak. I have seen these elusive butterflies here in most recent springs and with the air temperature hitting 20 C yesterday thought it worth a punt.

So late afternoon my wife, small child and I walked up a ride coming off the Ringstead road and around Wharton's belt. Initially it didn't look promising with very few butterflies on the wing, but then at the top of the ride where it joins the end of a narrow belt of woodland, butterflies started to appear. A Speckled Wood first and then a lovely male Orangetip.

Then above us high up a pair of small butterflies who were either having an aerial duel or dancing a wonderful duet. Eventually these came lower and for a second I had them in my binoculars and they looked to me like wafer thin slivers of emerald each given life by the early spring sunshine - a pair of Green Hairstreaks and cause for a little celebratory dance.

We also saw a splendid Red Admiral here and our first Holly Blues of the year.

Birds were good with a single Common Buzzard, about a dozen Whimbrel and singing Willow Warbler, Chiff Chaff and Blackcap.

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