Scenario: Three friends go seeking rare butterflies across the border in England.
First location: Haddon Hill, in Somerset, offering superb views across the surrounding countryside and grazed by Exmoor ponies.
Support act: A Green hairstreak. This was a superb spot by Alan almost as soon as we crossed the stile into the reserve, as this gorgeous little butterfly was incredibly well camouflaged sitting on the grass.
Star attraction: Heath fritillary. What a cracking little butterfly this is, with its elaborate orange and dark brown upperwing markings, and its equally lovely and intricate underwings. Sadly, this is a rare butterfly in Britain these days but it is being helped along by the sterling efforts of Butterfly Conservation and others. Luckily, at this site, Heath fritillaries are very numerous – we must’ve seen at least 25, and they were literally fluttering in the bushes and brambles all around us. One even landed briefly on my hand – an incredibly special moment.