The Purple Emperor is back on his Norfolk throne! 12 July 2019

Armed with some 'info' Jeremy Gaskell and I headed to a Norfolk wood that I know well this morning. It began grey with intermitent rain but our patience was rewarded as the skies started to clear and sunny intervals develop. Doing a few laps of the target area I eventually got on to a male Purple Emperor gliding majestically through the tops of some sallows beside the path. We watched this individual on and off for about 20 minutes but he never would settle for an attempt at photography! While we stood in this spot other butterflies just kept on coming to us. Pick of the bunch were a couple of White-letter Hairstreaks staying resolutely in the top of an ash plus 1-2 White Admirals and 3-4 Silver-washed Fritillaries which were more photographically obliging and a few glimpses of Purple Hairstreaks. Add Comma, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small White, Large White, Speckled Wood, Small Copper and Hummingbird Hawkmoth to the mix and it made for a really great morning. On the way back to the car we were then treated to a pair of Purple Emperors chasing each other around just above our heads, purple flashing everywhere!

I was delighted to record this as my 40th butterfly species in the county, it having been missing from Norfolk since the 1970s. With sightings also in Sheringham Park as well as in several Suffolk woods it is hoped they are here to stay.      

 White-letter Hairstreak

Silver-washed Fritillaries


Meadow Brown


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