Papilio machaon
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Photograph by Peter Lindsley


The adults are on the wing from mid May to the end of June, and in a good year a second brood from the end of August to mid September.
The optimum time, however, is the middle two weeks of June.


How Hill Environmental Centre: Park in the car park, TG372 190 and walk north west across the lawns, down the cart track to Toadhole Cottage, TG370 191. Opposite the cottage is a nature trail. Take the right hand fork to a meadow very close to the starting gate.
Swallowtails nectar on the Meadow Thistles, Cirsium dissectum, and Ragged Robin, Lychnis flos cuculi. A walk south along the River Ant flood bank can be very rewarding.

Catfleld Fen - Butterfly Conservation Reserve. Take the small road marked Fenside and park at the Staithe TG 367 214. Access to the reserve is difficult and a walk from the sluice gate along the bank just outside the reserve heading south is best as Swallowtails cross this bank between Barton Broad Great Fen and Catfield Fen.
Click here for detailed information. Catfiled Fen

Hickling Broad - Norfolk Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve
Approach via the A149 turning off to Hickling Green between Potter Heigham and Stalham. Walking trails start at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Warden's Office, Stubb Road TG428 222 (Sign posted from 'The Greyhound' in the village). A fee is charged to non Trust members.

South Side of Hickling Broad. Public footpath sign posted 'Weavers Way'. From Potter Heigham Church TG200 419 take route marked on information board. This path is particularly good for viewing in the late afternoon.

Martham Broad. Park in West Somerton TG469 200 and walk west along the south side of the Staithe to TG465 201. Here the public footpath heads south west and then north west around Martham Broad until eventually you reach the River Thurne. Look north for Swallowtails. It was here in 1985 the black form was seen.

Ted Ellis Nature Reserve, Wheatfen, Surlingham
Park in the car park at TG325 057. A map of the Reserve is available from the container outside the Warden’s office. Take the main path to the left of Wheatfen Cottage, then make a choice from the various paths which lead across the fen. Swallowtails can be seen throughout the Reserve, the first brood nectaring on yellow flag iris. There is no charge to visit the Reserve. Donations are welcomed and envelopes for this purpose are provided outside the Warden’s office. Dogs are not permitted.

Strumpshaw Fen - RSPB Reserve
Grid reference TG340 068. Easy parking. A fee is charged to non-RSPB members.