Tuesday 20 August 2019

Brown Hairstreak

A fabulous trip up the M5 to Netherclay  Community Woodland this morning, just this side of Taunton, with my good friend and neighbour Neil, for Brown Hairstreak. We had to put a bit of work in but it was well worth it, with two beautiful females on their foodplant, Blackthorn. Good to meet Dylan (who got us on to the first individual) and to see Dave Land who's knowledge and expertise is superb. After a bit of sitting this female started to creep downwards along the stem of the blackthorn, feeling with her abdomen for suitable areas on which to lay eggs.
Two Black-tailed Godwits were the highlight off Mudbank this morning. Also present on the incoming tide - 2 Turnstone, 2 Redshank, 3+ Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 1 Ringed Plover and the escaped White-cheeked Pintail in with the Mallard flock for its third day.
Yesterday - 2 Teal, 4 Turnstone, 5 Common Gull and 18 Common Tern noted.

Honeysuckle - lots of this growing at Netherclay - a fantastic reserve beside the river Tone.

Common Darter

Pearly Underwing - a scarce immigrant species that I've only trapped a couple of times before. In its company - 2 White-point, 2 Silver Y and a two or three Rusty Dot Pearl. Migrant lepidoptera on Orcombe this afternoon included Rush Veneer, Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow. One Wheatear on the dung heap.


  1. Lovely shots of the Brown Hairstreak. We went to Bookham Common in Surrey to look for them + we went round lots of Blackthorn + seemed to draw a blank on them, though a good number of other butterflies. We went to the largest pond + found c10 Willow Emerald Damselflies with a couple of pairs in cop.

    Headed back again looking for the elusive Brown Hairstreak. Again nothing but just before we got the station I spotted a female low on a bramble with hardly any Blackthorn in sight. she then flew across on one spindly blackthorn twig and appeared to lay an egg. Not far away my partner spotted a second female close to the ground that walked along various shoots.

    They have turned up in a couple of spots near where I live in the west London suburbs but haven't searched for them here yet, but amazing they are so close to home. Such exquisite butterflies!

  2. Thanks Neil - yes they're odd creatures in a way. I was fully anticipating picking them up in flight but they were picked up at rest - luckily the orange standing out against the green. The Netherclay population is possibly not as close as the Preston Down population but Taunton is much easier to get to from Exmouth. Would love to have some closer to home.
    Willow Emeralds haven't reached Devon yet, so far as I'm aware. Would love to see those!
    All the best and thanks again for getting in touch.