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.