Today I picked up what will probably be my last butterfly species of the year the Brown Hairstreak. Reports from Steyning Rifle Range were a bit patchy and we had already spent a couple of hours there without success so I decided to play safe and visit Alners Gorse in Dorset where Dave had seen White, Purple and Brown Hairstreaks on a visit a couple of weeks earlier.
The site looks great and we did get to see Browns and Purples even if they were not in the best of condition so this is a place I will be coming back to next year.
The weather was patchy cloud cover with a few showers and there was no sign of the Browns during the morning. We did see a few Purple Hairstreaks but they were in a very poor state. So much so that Dave had difficulty convincing me that the first one we saw was actually a purple and not the brown I was looking for.
|Purple Hairstreak - it has an eye marking on the underside of its wing.|
I did get a slightly better record shot later on, it shows a trace of purple and the eye marking is visible. I would have liked better but I will have to settle for this for now.
We saw three female Browns in the early afternoon of which two settled with open wings whilst the third just kept going into the distance. One of the two that settled flew off almost immediately, the other walked into the depths of the Blackthorn, possibly to lay an egg, then that one flew off as well, so no closed wing shots.
|Female Brown Hairstreak|
It was a two hundred mile round trip but we had seen the butterflies and I was happy. Although I have to confess that a message from Dawn and Jim, saying that there were a number of Brown Hairstreaks showing well at the Steyning site, just a few miles from home, did take the shine off the day just a bit. Click here to see what I missed.
The supporting cast on the day was quiet good. These are a few of the less tired looking ones.
|Female Common Blue|
I have't put the macro lens away yet. I have seen all the target butterflies but there is still the possibility of improving on a few of the record shots and who knows there might still be a Swallowtail, Long-tailed Blue, or Queen of Spain to come yet.