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Rare butterfly makes first visit to Hampstead Heath

PUBLISHED: 09:54 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:14 20 July 2018

A Silver-Washed Fritillary butterfly on Hampstead Heath. Picture: Michael Hammerson

A Silver-Washed Fritillary butterfly on Hampstead Heath. Picture: Michael Hammerson

Archant

Michael Hammerson from Highgate is a keen amateur photographer, who on a weekend wander across the Heath, saw something quite remarkable.

Michael told the Ham&High: “This is an extremely interesting butterfly I saw twice over the weekend in the North End and West Heath areas.

“It’s a Silver-Washed Fritillary. It’s quite rare, only recently starting to spread into Hertfordshire and Middlesex.”

This particular kind of butterfly is often seen in woodland glades, and Michael thinks this one’s visit to Hampstead could have been a first.

“I saw one a couple of years ago in Highgate Wood, but this is, as far as I know, the first on the Heath.”

The Silver-Washed Fritillary has an odd life-cycle. It lays eggs on an oak tree in July, then a caterpillar hatches the following spring, and has to crawl down the trunk of the tree and find a violet plant to feed on.

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