I had a Camberwell Beauty fly strongly NW over Deans Lane at about 12.05 this afternoon. I had stopped off for a break and to see if there were any raptors moving… more in hope than expectation. It was sunny and warm with a few scattered clouds and a moderate SW breeze.
The insect flew over my head, so I first picked it up about 2ft above my head and about 4ft in front of me. It was clearly a large Vannessid but about 10% bigger than a Peacock. Underside was blackish with a pale broad border to the sides of fore and hind wing except the leading edges. As the butterfly flew north it followed the hillside down remaining about 6 – 8 ft off the ground so the Upperwing became visible. This was a dark maroon with the pale border being a yellowish white with two small ‘tails’ on the hind wing. A row of blue spots was also clearly noted inside the border on all wings.
The butterfly was in view for less than a minute as it powered NW interspersing glides with a series of fast wing beats.
No other butterflies were noted on this track only a few whites flitting around the grassy hill side.