Thursday, 4 August 2011

Hedgerow Hairstreak.

This old wooden foot bridge on the edge of Bookham Common traverses a tiny stream that is often devoid of any water in the summer months. It has I'm sure been crossed by many, many  feet that failed to stop and wonder what wildlife may be present. In the winter it is a very barren spot with very little vegetation and sticky mud that adds pounds to the weight of your boots but now there is an abundant mixture of weeds, brambles, nettles, grasses and various wild flowers growing freely on the heavy clay soil. In the past I have regularly found a pair of Bullfinch here plus twittering Goldfinch and Greenfinch are regular inhabitants. In mid spring it is alive with the sounds of Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Garden Warbler but on a very recent visit it was much quieter so I stood for a while to see what else might be using this wild habitat.

It wasn't long before my eyes rested on the distinctive shape and colour of a Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae). For me this is a fairly elusive species that spends most of its life high in the woodland canopy feeding on aphid honeydew. The males rarely descend from their lofty perches so I'm guessing this is a female (difficult to tell the difference just by the under wing pattern) feeding in between egg-laying. Their favoured larval food plant is normally the Blackthorn.

This individual provided me with the opportunity at long last to get some decent images as she moved to a thistle head to sup the nectar.

The removal of more than half of Britain's hedgerows over the past 60 or so years has caused a dramatic and widespread loss of colonies. Single brooded this species is usually on the wing from late July until the end of September.

Hopefully the scrubby thickets and hedgerows at this particular location will ensure the continuance of this delightful species.  All shot using my Canon PowerShot S95.  FAB.

I am linking this post to NF WINGED #6 where you will find more interesting images.

23 comments:

  1. Lovely images. I just love my Canon PowerShot, too. :)

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  2. Beautiful photos, Frank. I especially like the footbridge shot - the scene holds such promise for wildlife. And the detail on the hairstreak shots is stunning.

    cheers,
    Wilma

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  3. HI Frank...Good for you to get this elusive rascal...and very nice photo's of it too!!
    Grace

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  4. What a beauty Frank.
    It's amazing what can turn up when we just stop a while.

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  5. A great find Frank, and an excellent set of images of this elusive high flyer.
    Let's hope that 'your' colony goes from strength to strength. {;o)

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  6. Stunning images Frank of a species I have not seen yet.

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  7. What a great find! As Roy, I'm yet to see this species but it's on the list of butterflies I'd like to find. Lovely images to.

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  8. Beautiful sighting with the habitat as well!
    Hope they'll survive and humankind will wake up before it's too late :/

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  9. A lovely butterfly! And thanks for the interesting info - just illustrates how all wildlife is so dependent on specific features of the environment (except house sparrows of course :-)

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  10. Lovely photos! The butterfly truly is a beauty. And thanks for the interesting info too.

    Thanks for visiting my NF Winged entry and for your comment :)

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  11. Such a nice discovery and love the photos!

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  12. Lovely photos of this butterfly, Frank! I don't think I ever seen anyone - yet! I also hope they'll survive. What a beautiful world we're living in!

    Thanks for your nice comment on my butterfly pictures! :)
    Have a nice day!
    Greetings from Pia

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  13. So many different butterflies around the world! I am amazed! Your photos are wonderful, Frank!

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  14. Thanks for all your lovely compliments ... I'll pass them onto the Hairstreak when I next encounter it. Cheers FAB.

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  15. I am stunned of the beauty in the butterfly's eyes.

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  16. this is such a beautiful butterfly. I think we sahll have it in Sweden but I have not seen it. To bad :(

    Of course you can link to the White-faced darter. :)

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  17. A lovely butterfly I've never seen here in North Wales. Wonderful close up photos - I treated myself to a Canon Powershot last winter but dropped it after only three weeks!

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  18. Hi Ann. Interestingly I bought the Powershot because my older Samsung ceased after a 'fall' and then a month later it decided to reactivate itself!

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  19. terrific shots Frank. lovely butterfly

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  20. Thanks Tony. Sorry for the delay in responding to your comments.

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