Tilbury…Butterflies and an unexpected sighting.

Keith and I decided to head off last week to Tilbury Fort in the hope of some early butterflies. We crossed the Thames by the ferry from Gravesend and walked inland along the west side of the fort. Scanning the vegetation for butterflies, we noticed something running across the path in front of us. All we had was an impression of something moving fast, no real idea of what it was. So we stood still and after a few moments, a Weasel ran across the path and back into the undergrowth. Too quick for us to even begin to line up our cameras. Quite an unexpected start to our walk.

Weasel (Photo by Alan Shearman – https://www.flickr.com/photos/alanshearman001/)

As we moved into the section away from the river, it becomes a bit more sheltered and we found our first Peacock butterflies. A bit further on we also saw a number of Orange-Tip and Green-veined White butterflies, some more distinctly marked than we expected.

Peacock Butterfly

Doing the loop around the marsh we returned to the river in time for lunch. We saw a few Orange tips and Green-veined Whites and we also ran into this fellow happily munching away by the roadside.

Our plan had been to search the Fort moat and ditch area where one day last July we had recorded 12 species in 200m of the ditch. However by the time we finished lunch a strong easterly breeze had arisen and was blowing straight down the ditch, not conducive to finding butterflies, so we quickly abandoned our search and headed back to Gravesend for a warming cup of tea before making our way home.

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