Butterflies of Tilbury

Keith and I decided that, given the good weather forecast, we would return to Tilbury Fort to look for butterflies. The day didn’t start too well as we crossed over from Gravesend to Tilbury on the ferry. The sky was cloudy and there was a stiff breeze blowing, not ideal weather for butterflies. We stopped at the World’s end pub for a coffee in the hope of improving weather, but although it had brightened up a bit by the time we finished it was still not very promising. And so the morning proved as we walked inland and around the marsh to the north of the fort. Wild flowers were in abundance but no butterflies. Only Small and Large White were seen. We did see a few birds: Little Egret, Lapwing, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk being the most notable.

So we returned to the riverside for Lunch. Then the clouds parted and our luck changed. The bank and ditch between the fort and the riverside walk came alive with butterflies and we spent the next 3 hours trying to identify all that were present. In addition to the Whites seen in the morning, we saw Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Wall, Small Heath, Small Copper, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Essex Skipper and Peacock. 12 species in total in a area that is about 200m long!

Marbled White. Photo by Tom Lee (https://www.flickr.com/photos/68942208@N02/)
Small Copper. Photo by Pete Beard (https://www.flickr.com/photos/postmanpetecoluk/)
Essex Skipper. Photo by Pete Beard (https://www.flickr.com/photos/postmanpetecoluk/)

So although the day had not started well, we were very pleased by the time we caught the ferry back across to Gravesend. A really good days butterfly watching.

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