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.