Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Dancing to the Chalkhill Blues

Yesterday evening we took a picnic supper with us to the Devil's Dyke, to be precise – the stretch of the high chalk defensive bank and ditch that slashes across Newmarket Racecourses, right alongside the tents and stage set up for the racing and concert nights.

On this glorious evening, I wanted to find the rare and weird Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum). We didn't find the orchids; well, I think we found the seed heads, but they look less than spectacular, so I'll reschedule that adventure for late June 2011. However, we did have a lovely walk – high above the race tracks and training gallops, striding out on a white ribbon of chalk through the waving grasses and flowers dancing with butterflies.

One of the most common wildflowers on this section of the Devil's Dyke is the Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria). The yellow flowers have mostly faded to a rich dark ochre which contrast with the grey-white downy calyxes.

The highlights of last night's walk were the butterflies and moths . . .

A male Chalkhill Blue butterfly (Lysandra coridon)
a little dishevelled but still a shimmering turquoise blue.

A pair of 6-spot Burnet Moths (Zygaena filipendulae)

Another 6-spot Burnet Moth, you can see the
green/blue/indigo irridenscence of it's wings.

This male Chalkhill Blue butterfly was one of the many
butterflies quietly resting on the Kidney Vetch.

The slightly smaller and darker coloured female
Chalkhill Blue butterfly.

Look how perfectly the patterns on the underside of her wings
echo the Hedge Parsley flowers.

And walking back along the gallops we glanced behind us to see the sky put on a cloud and light spectacular.


  1. really beautiful and inspiring photography, thank you x

  2. Lovely pictures. Blue butterflies - even the common ones we get here, are beggars for not opening their wings to pose for a photo, aren't they?

  3. Exquisite images Celia. I do love those chalkhill blues x

  4. Thank you so much, Celia, for showing me natural beauties that I have never before seen. Wow! Flowers and butterflies and moths are perfect designs, aren't they. You surely do take marvelous photos.


  5. to my eyes, moths are prettier than butterflies--fluffier, too.

  6. Such lovely images - thank you for sharing them.

  7. Just a thimbleful....

    Lovely photographs, Celia - and just look at that night sky !!! I'm out again tonight to look for my noctilucent clouds!

  8. Great photos looks like a lovely place.

  9. What a beautiful corner of the world, a landscape so different to ours. Your photographs are wonderful and reminded me of a little book I have here on my bookshelf called "Wild Flowers of the Chalk" by John Gilmour date 1947. It has the prettiest cover, you would love it.

  10. Thank you for the kind comments.

    I was really amazed how these photos came out - I could hardly see if I'd managed to focus on the butterfly! Our camera isn't anything special - a 5 year old 'point and click', but I do use the fast shutter speed option when using the macro setting - it helps a lot.

    And, Acornmoon, I just bought that gorgeous book on ebay for £3.50, a 1947 first edition. Now hunting for more King Penguins - see what you've started ;-)



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