A Showery Day looking for Brown Hairstreaks

Article text
A rather tatty female brown hairstreak
After the wettest day of the year so far yesterday with 25mm of rainfall in 24 hours, the forecast today was better and so Roger, Dave, Ben and myself decided to go to Chambers Farm Wood to try and photograph the brown hairstreak butterflies that had begun to emerge. At 7.00 the sky was absolutely cloudless and still was when I arrived about 8.15 so I was optimistic. It wasn’t long, however, before it began to cloud over. This combined with the fact that the sun wasn’t high enough to get into the rides meant that there was little activity. I noticed though that plant life was prolific and I particularly noticed to colourful displays of scabious and fleabane. There were also large numbers of common blue and brown argus butterflies at rest on the vegetation. Light levels were low though and it was quite blustery so they were a challenge to photograph. By mid morning it began to warm up and finally the sun appeared between the clouds. Immediately large numbers of dragonflies appeared: southern hawker, migrant hawker and common darters, along with butterflies. Suddenly we spotted our first brown hairstreak fluttering high up along the ride. Unfortunately, though, they were reluctant to settle. All too soon it was time to go but as I was making my way back to the car I managed a record shot of a tatty female just to rove that I had seen one. I just made it back to the car before the heavens opened and we were treated to another torrential downpour. No worries about the garden being too dry now – our water butt is overflowing.
Tomorrow were are meeting at Whisby nature reserve. Hopefully dragonflies will be plentiful.