butterflies, nature, Photos

Photographing A Swallowtail Butterfly.


After a two-year quest, I finally got my wish to photograph a swallowtail butterfly last year.

It involved driving to Strumpshaw Fen, walking down a country lane, standing in a field with lots of other photographers and waiting. Some had folding chairs, some were in camo gear and they all had huge long lenses.

When one finally arrived, I felt a bit like I was in a pack of paparazzi snatching photos of some A-list celeb. While there are always people about at Strumpshaw, I’ve never had to compete to take photos of anything before. It was still a massive thrill to finally see a swallowtail but it wasn’t quite the magical experience I was expecting.

When Mark suggested trying to find one again this year, I wasn’t keen. Also, at 3.30pm on a warm but breezy Sunday, I didn’t hold out much hope, even though the Strumpshaw blog said they had been spotted.

We always enjoy a stroll around the reserve so I was pleased to just be there but when we arrived and walked to reception to show our membership passes, there was a swallowtail on the flowers outside the building.




There was no pack of photographers this time, just a few people – some with just their mobile phones – taking snaps.

I was delighted to be able to show Freya and also take my own shots without being in anyone’s way. Even after we’d been for a walk, it was still there so I was able to get a few more before we went home.

It was causing stir with visitors but so it should, swallowtails are only found in a few places in the Norfolk Broads in this country.

I also felt sorry for this one, which people were largely ignoring, so snapped its photo too.



5 thoughts on “Photographing A Swallowtail Butterfly.”

  1. Gorgeous images Tara! If you would like to see Swallowtails and possibly not another person I would recommend my local, Weavers Way on the south edge of Hickling Broad. I was there Thursday morning about ten Swallowtails and no other humans!


  2. I think it is amazing you got to photograph a butterfly with its wings open, let alone a rare butterfly! Great work Tara, very colourful butterfly and you’ve focused on it superbly. In fact I saw some butterflies the other day and thought I must got and try to photograph some. NOthing as glamorous as the Swallowtail though, sadly.


  3. Wow, what an amazing thing to even see, let alone photograph! I’m so glad you got your chance without the ‘paparazzi’ there. Your photos are beautiful.


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