Showing posts with the label Swallowtail

Swallowtails at Strumpshaw Fen

Swallowtail butterflies are large, colourful butterflies that form the family Papilionidae. Swallowtails differ from all other butterflies in a number of anatomical traits. Most notably, their caterpillars possess a unique organ behind their heads, called the osmeterium. Normally hidden, this forked structure can be everted when the caterpillar is threatened, and emits smelly secretions containing terpenes. The adults are often tailed like the forked tail of some swallows, giving the insect its name. During the 20th century, especially after the Second World War, fen land management ceased and much of this butterfly’s habitat was lost. Today active management of the fen land, where reed and sedge are cut to allow other plants to grow, plays an important part in the survival of the swallowtail in Norfolk. With this continued fen land management, the future for the swallowtail looks brighter.  On our visit to Strumpshaw Fen, we expected to have to search around for a

The RSPB: Strumpshaw Fen

We chose a beautiful day to visit, after promising ourselves for a long time. Although I only had my Sony RX100 with 100mm zoom, the few images I managed, are below. Strumpshaw Fen is a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It is situated at Strumpshaw on the River Yare in Norfolk, around 6 miles east of Norwich. Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles) is a rare species, with clear wings, green eyes and the characteristic yellow triangle shape on the dragonfly’s body which make this endangered dragonfly very distinctive. The Norfolk hawker, which has its stronghold in Norfolk, is a nationally rare dragonfly it is classified as endangered and is fully protected by law, so we were pleased to find this one hanging on the underside of a leaf in someone's garden. Common Red Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva) is also known as the 'Bloodsucker' for its striking red appearance, but it is harmless to humans. It has a narrow, rectangular