The Butterfly Effect

Swallowtail on irisNicola here, talking about insects (as you do!). I’ve got to admit that I’m not a big fan of insects, especially if they sting or bite, or even if they don’t. I quite like a ladybird (ladybug) and I make an exception for butterflies and moths, and obviously I appreciate honey (thank you, bees.) But I’m not naturally drawn to beetles or other insects. (I also dislike spiders, but in the course of writing this blog piece I’ve discovered they aren’t insects but arachnids.)

Last week, however, we were away for the few days on the trail of one of the most beautiful and scarce insects in Britain. Fortunately it is a butterfly, the swallowtail. Whilst there are 550 species of the swallowtail family in the world, we only get one in Britain and then only in one relatively small area, the Norfolk Broads in the east of the country. So off we went to find them. (The photos are all by my husband who is a massive butterfly fan as well as a great photographer).

Initially we had planned to hire a small boat and cruise the Broads in search of these elusive but beautiful creatures. IMG_5176 (003) However I have a love hate relationship with boats and fell in on my last visit to the Broads as did our dog, who could swim better than me so got out more easily. We compromised on a houseboat, which was a lovely experience. Waking up on the river listening to the call of the birds and watching the moon on the water at night was very relaxing and peaceful.

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Marie Brennan & Lady Trent: An Interview with Dragons

NaturalHistoryDragonsb by Mary Jo

Though I'm a lifelong reader of both historical novels and science fiction and fantasy, I somehow managed to miss Marie Brennan's Lady Trent series until I read about the upcoming release of the fifth and last of her series of memoirs written by a distinguished dragon naturalist.

Dragons? Lady Trent? Within the Sanctuary of Wings? Clearly this was something I must investigate! So I cautiously tried the first book, A Natural History of Dragons. And was hooked, big time. I've very grateful that the series was complete when I started to read it!

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