Sunday, 3 August 2014

Birthday Butterflies

Sunday August 3

After emptying the moth trap, we set off for Warham Camp. Not an easy place to find, our large scale roadmap book of Norfolk  marked it as 'Fort' we found later... Warham is easy enough, it's the area where we look for flocks of wintering geese. 
After a very pleasant lunch at Warham Three Horseshoes, where we got instructions to the 'camp', which is actually an Iron Age Fort. A quarter of a mile up the road opposite the pub, there are two gates on the right, the righthand of which is the entry to the Fort. There is a small layby with room for four cars before this. We parked in the lefthand gateway.
200 yards down the track there is another gate with a pedestrian gateway beside it. Where were we going? To a large open area on a raised mound overlooking the Stiffkey river area and meadows. The Fort is a raised grass mound with moat remains. 

The latter is lined with a mass of wild flowers, a walkway in between. Low thistles, Groundnut (that's what I called it as a kid, Pignut here I think), Harebells, Ragwort, Coltsfoot and others I don't know. Should have taken a flower book, next time I will.

Thistle sp
 It was a very gusty-windy day, even in the moat. Despite this, there were hundreds of Chalkhill Blue butterflies flying their mad, erratic, restless way around. Seldom alighting for long and, when they did, closing their wings immediately. A photographic challenge. They're pretty small too. The also present Common Blue are a much deeper blue. The females are brown anyway. Finding a pair intent on mating was the answer, when their helicopter whirling dance was done, they actually stayed still for a few seconds. 

Male, bluer in the shade!

Usual view

Mating pair
 Chalkhill Blues were once found in Norfolk but these were introduced, the most recent in 2007 possibly. They're certainly doing well this year, a Club member said that they are into the thousands. Quite a spectacle.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time here and will return - on a weekday. Not crowded but a dozen or more people and the inevitable dog walkers. I'm not against dogs, their owners nor the walking BUT I wish some birding/natural history areas were free of them.

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