The Duke of Burgundy as actually a species of butterfly, significantly rare in the UK, dependant on very specific habitat requirements and caterpillar food plants. Over the last few years much conservation work has been undertaken in locations in West Sussex which are a stronghold for this grandly named insect, in efforts to maintain viable populations and prevent extinction. One such location is Heyshott Down and, as this is the time of year to see Dukes and the sun was shining, I could not resist a visit earlier this week. Firstly I must say a big Thank-you to Mark Colvin and his companions for their directions and assistance in finding both the site and the butterflies. When you can track them down these really are enchanting creatures, flighty and feisty with strong territorial instincts and beautifully marked and patterned in shades of glorious orange and brown.
The site was also home to Dingy and Grizzled Skippers and Small Heath butterflies to name a few.
I was lucky enough to persuade one or two individuals to pause for a photo shoot, here are a few of my shots;
Duke of Burgundy
This lovely Fly Orchid was also a welcome surprise.