Monday, 23 April 2018

NT Wicken Fen - Butterflies

Speckled Wood, Wicken Fen Butterfly Trail, 21 April 2018

Well, here at long last is a photo from me!

I have been away on my travels to the Isle of Wight (of which more in a future post), and have been catching up with deadlines since my return. But on Saturday the sun shone and we were lured over to a favourite haunt, NT Wicken Fen near Ely.

I only wish I had been able to take more butterfly photos as, to our delight, we saw the following species:

1] Peacock
2] Orange Tip
3] Brimstone
4] Comma
5] Small Tortoiseshell
6] (Almost certainly a) Holly Blue

The Comma rested with closed wings for a while, but nearly all the butterflies were on the move and very tricky to photograph. I shall post some old photos of these species at the end for those of you who live in places where the species are different.

But first, here is the Comma in a picture taken yesterday (and you can see the white comma):

The biggest surprise was the number of Brimstones on the wing, probably more at one time and in one place than I have seen in my whole life before. It was thrilling to rest on a bench in the Butterfly Trail and just enjoy the flutter of bright yellow and deep cream wings as the insects moved around the foliage.

Butterflies were the predominant creatures on our walk, but they were not the only kind of wildlife by any means. We saw a Muntjac deer, a couple of newts, a Seven-spot Ladybird and lots of water snails. There were two of these ?worms (or worm casts) in the water: I have not been able to ID them yet. And we heard our first 2018 Cuckoo.

I imagine this is a fungus, perhaps of the puffball variety.

I have posted pictures of this ruin before, assuming it was a pumping station or building linked to drainage and water levels: this time there was a sign, proving that my hunch had been entirely incorrect...

The photo below reminds me that after such a long harsh winter, it will soon be dragonfly season ...

The photo below shows a section of my favourite boardwalk, 
with the windpump to the left ...

... and the visitors' centre to the right.

The views of flat fenland seemed wider than ever 
because the reeds were still fairly short, 
so we could see for miles. 

Live and let live? Or is the spider sizing up the ladybird?

Burgeoning spring ... at long last.

It took us a bit of time to get our eye in, but we eventually noticed some movement and linked it to  what I take to be a Caddisfly larva. The peaty water was dark, and seemed especially so in the bright sunshine, so I have ringed the creature in yellow.

There was some movement and this photo was taken a minute or so later.


The butterfly photos below
but they show the butterflies I failed to catch on camera on Saturday.

1] Peacock

2] Orange Tip

3] Brimstone

5] Small Tortoiseshell

6] (Almost certainly a) Holly Blue

And, as mentioned, we also saw the Speckled Wood (picture at top of this post) and the Comma (also pictured earlier in this post, with closed wings; and shown below with open wings in an old photo). 

How lovely to feel that we have well and truly entered the butterfly season. 
Can you help Butterfly Conservation with their first sightings list for 2018?


Ragged Robin said...

Thanks so much for leaving a comment on my blog. So glad you enjoyed the Isle of Wight and pleased some of my past posts might have been useful! Osbourne and Tennyson send you a wave and we look forward to your posts on the holiday :)

Wicken Fen looks superb you saw some great butterflies and other wildlife. I have often wanted to visit and hope one day for a long weekend at Ely (cathedral, stained glass museum etc plus there is a wildlife reserve I think nearby and now it sounds as though Wicken Fen is close too!) Do you know please if they get Swallowtails there?

Lowcarb team member said...

Wicken Fen looks a wonderful place to visit, a lovely series of photographs you've shared with us.

All the best Jan