Saturday 6 July 2019

White-letter Hairstreak

White-letter Hairstreak on Elm. I wasn't expecting to have to sift through dozens and dozens of Purple Hairstreaks to find this one!
I've always heard good things about Alners Gorse, so with a bit of time on my hands I shot up there today, principally to see White-letter Hairstreak. The reserve was every bit as impressive as I'd been lead to believe and was absolutely heaving with butterflies. The White-letter Hairstreaks made me work a bit because of the multitude of Purple Hairstreaks around - all seemingly equally as happy on Elm as Oak, which I just wasn't expecting! Other species seen included Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Painted Lady, Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled White and Silver-washed Fritillary.
On the journey back - a Red Kite just south of the village of Pulham, circling over a recently cut silage field, calling loudly so clearly audible over the noise of the car (windows and sun-roof open).
Off Mudbank this morning - at least nine Mediterranean Gulls, 3 Whimbrel and a probable juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. I say probable because it had odd pale markings, mid-wing on the upper-wing, but in every other respect looked the part. It was always distant, out on Cockle Sands before flying way off over towards Haldon Hill, flashing bright white rump/tail and neat jet black tail band.

Alners Gorse butterfly reserve in north Dorset. A fabulous place but not easy, or quick, to get to. This photo was taken from the entrance gate, looking down the hill. The reserve opens out at the bottom of this track and a path forks off left. I had the W-l Hairstreak in the small Elm in the fork.

Purple Hairstreak (on Buckthorn) - never in my life have I seen such an abundance of this species. In one Buckthorn, where I photographed this individual, I estimate about 20-30 were present!

Purple Hairstreak

Purple Hairstreak

Purple Hairstreaks are master 'hiders'. They will creep around a leaf or branch, often walking upside-down, and angle themselves so that they effectively disappear. I'm not sure if this is a deliberate ploy but it works very well!

I wasn't after Silver-washed Fritillary today so this photo was grabbed whilst stood in the shade of an Elm, looking for White-lettered Hairstreak.

Polish red-ringed PPJ1 has a familiar ring to it. I may have seen this bird or one from the same ringing scheme before. Will have to check...

Second-summer Mediterranean Gull standing next to 'PPJ1'.

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