Thursday 12 May 2016

Sir Duke.

Every year I try to get to see the Duke of Burgundy. A rare butterfly that was actually my last Sussex species I needed until about 6 years ago. I was wondering if I would make it this year and also would it be a Sussex site or a Kent site. With the weather looking poor this week it was very much a last minute decision when Nigel suggested Kent for Wednesday. The weather all the way there was very poor with heavy rain or drizzle. On arrival though the rain had stopped and after an hour of walking around the site a hint of brighter weather started to show. Soon we even had a little bit of sun and almost immediately I spotted the first Duke of the day. 

Male Duke of Burgundy.

This was followed straight away by several more and as the weather improved yet further Nigel even found a mating pair. Whilst he was photographing these I saw a female looking as if she was going to lay eggs on the Primrose leaves. I then saw a pair of butterflies courting and these too soon mated. Unfortunately they fell to ground and I saw they were amongst some Ants. I managed to get them to crawl onto a twig where I could move them out of danger, getting a picture before I moved them onto a leaf. With these pictures the difference between the male and female was clear to see. This species is unique with the male having 4 useful legs whilst the female has use of all her 6 legs.

Mating Duke of Burgundy. (Female showing 6 legs and a broken antannae).

There were many other delights in the wood including many Lady Orchids and many types of moths but the star was without doubt the small but beautiful Duke of Burgundy. For more images including eggs on Primrose see East Sussex Wanderer blog by Nigel.

Lady Orchid.

Green Carpet.

Male Duke of Burgundy.

Male Duke of Burgundy.


  1. Hi. Stunning photographs and incredibly fine observation. Sir Duke is beautiful.

  2. A great day out after a damp start then !