Camberwell Beauty

Flamborough, 25th August 2006

Some memories don’t fade. This one is a non-avian event which is one of my best non-birding memories ever. And its anniversary is coming around so…

Rich Baines and I had been poodling around Flamborough Head, birding on a balmy day. Can’t for the life of me remember if we saw anything else. We were just arriving back at his home (almost opposite where I live now) when we both had our attention grabbed by a large dark butterfly. Now both Red Admirals and Peacocks can kind of look large and dark. What it was about this one exactly I don’t know. But my reaction was different. With rising panic there was a ‘stop the car, ‘stop the car’… wondering wondering- when suddenly it came to rest on the wall next to us. CAMBERWELL BEAUTY!!!!

It rested for not more than a few seconds- all credit to Richard for getting me winding the window down, leaning over and firing off a couple of shots. Because I was in a trance-like state!  After a few seconds it took flight and we quickly lost it. We put the word out, and several folk tried to ‘twitch’ it. Even though a nearby buddleia was burgeoning with both flowers and common butterly speces, we never saw it again. And by the way- once on the wing- it flew. I mean it seemed to fly about twice the speed of the other butterflies!

I’ve had my CAMBERWELL DAY.  No idea how you predict a ‘Camberwell Year’ or what conditions give optimum hope of seeing one, but I hope you have one some day if not already. 🙂


Camberwell Beauty DAY 1 (1 of 1)

Camberwell Beauty DAY 2 (1 of 1)


2 thoughts on “Camberwell Beauty

  1. Phil Hyde

    Caught one in a Heligoland trap at Gibraltar Pt one summer in the late 1970’s ! Nice change from juv Whitethroats and Dunnocks !


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