If the Broads National Park were to be summed up in a single emblem then the swallowtail butterfly would certainly be up there...
Big, beautiful and incredibly rare these exotic golden-coloured butterflies would look just as at home in a tropical rainforest as they do sunning themselves on buddleia bushes in the Broads. And yet, despite being the UK’s biggest and arguably most loved butterfly, the swallowtail is desperately rare, with the Broads National Park being the only location in the whole of the UK where they can be spotted. June 9 marks World Swallowtail Day and so in honour of the occasion here are our top things to do to celebrate the country’s most spectacular butterfly.
Held in conjunction with The Ted Ellis Trust at Wheatfen Nature Reserve, this event is the ultimate swallowtail day out. A guided butterfly walk with an emphasis on swallowtails, but also taking in Norfolk hawker dragonflies, marsh harriers and other interesting fauna and flora on the paths around this special Reserve.
Where: Wheatfen Nature Reserve
When: 10:00am to 4:00pm
There are serval amazing Norfolk Wildlife Trust nature reserves which are just perfect for spotting these rare butterflies. Some of the very best sites include: Alderfen Broad, Barton Broad, Cockshoot Broad, Hickling Broad, Ranworth Broad, and Upton Broad and Marshes. The RSPB's site at Strumpshaw Fen has had plenty of sightings this year and if the weather conditions are right on Sunday this could be a great place to visit.
Come along to Horsey Windpump where National Trust staff will be on hand to tell you everything you need to know about the swallowtail butterflies which can be found in the Broads National Park. With a bit of luck they will be able to show visitors where they can spot wild swallowtails during their visit and point out the habitats and plants which they love.
Where: Horsey Windpump
When: 11:00am to 3:00pm
The Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust is a charity who focuses on saving and promoting some of the world’s most beautiful but most endangered varieties of butterfly, including our much loved swallowtail. You can support them by donating, signing up to their newsletter or attending one of their events. Most importantly make sure that you tell friends and family about their good work and encourage others to give their support.
So this June 9 make sure you celebrate Britain’s biggest and most unusual butterfly by visiting a special swallowtail site, event or by donating to a butterfly charity.
For more blog posts about what’s on in the Broads National Park check out the Visit the Broads website.