Sunday, 7 July 2013

High Brown Fritillaries at Aish Tor, Dartmoor

  We made a trip to Dartmoor to visit Aish Tor to see the High Brown Fritillaries. We arrived quite early but the day was already warming up and butterflies were already flying around the bracken covered slopes.

  There were plenty of Dark Green Fritillaries flying to cause confusion with the High Browns but eventually after searching the hillside we found a male High Brown sitting on a patch of brambles. 

  A little later we saw a mating pair sitting on the bracken. 

  On another part of the slopes we found a female High Brown which is shown in the photographs below. A male, the butterfly on the right,  landed next to her. As he made his advances he flew off the bracken towards her and she raised her abdomen in repsonse as you can see in the photograph. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and he flew off to look for another female!

 During the day we found over 40 High Brown Fritillaries, which makes Aish Tor one of the best places in the south-west to see this rare species of butterfly.

 We also saw several other species including this Green Hairstreak.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Black Hairstreaks at Bernwood Forest, Oxford

  The Black Hairstreak, probably one of Britain's rarest butterflies has always been a butterfly that John has wanted to see. So when he received a message from Adam Hartley saying that they had been seen at Bernwood Forest we decided to take a day trip to Oxford to see them!

  We met Adam at Bernwood Forest and he guided us through the wood to the area where they had been seen known as the M40 Compensation Area. It was not long before we spotted our first Black Hairstreak flying amongst the trees. 

  Walking around the site we and the other butterfly spotters soon started to see more hairstreaks. One of the best areas where we saw several sitting on the trees was right next to the M40 motorway. Here we were watching these beautiful little butterflies and just feet away the traffic sped past. Peace and tranquility is obviously not high on a hairstreaks list of home requirements!

  It was difficult to count how many individuals we saw during our visit but reports from other visitors noting their sightings on the local butterfly website reported at least 20. 

  The photographs below are all of Male Black Hairstreaks. In the last picture the butterfly is nectaring on honeydew on the leaves.

A male Black Hairstreak hiding in the leaves!

And finally we must say thank you to Adam for taking the time to show John and I these lovely butterflies.