Monday, 13 August 2012

Late Butterflies

With the weather continuing to be hot and sunny, we planned a trip to Oxfordshire on Saturday as it looked like a pretty good opportunity to get images of Brown Hairstreak. Research suggested they were flying in the area so we selected a few sites. Turned out to be just about the only butterfly we did not see.
 We arrived at Bernewood Meadows around 0930 to find the meadows had been cut and tractors were turning the hay and baling. One consequence of this was the constant presence of Kites scavenging the stubble. The other was the huge number of grasshoppers and crickets in the hedgerows.
 One area seemed to be pretty good as it was crawling with Roesel's Bush Crickets, but as I had obtained good images a few years ago I concentrated on some of the others, which appear to be Meadow Grasshoppers.

 Butterflies consisted of the usual browns and skippers that are to be expected, and several Silver Washed Fritillaries. One Purple Hairstreak was seen, and we also saw another hairstreak which might have been Brown, but it flew past so quickly we couldn't be sure. Lots of Migrant Hawkers and Darters too.

Leaving Bernewood, we stopped at Span Green, a wide track lined with Ash and a few clumps of Blackthorn. Saw some Blues-Common and maybe Holly, but a scan of the Ash Trees did not produce any Hairstreaks, so we did what everyone else was doing today and finished up at Whitecross Green.
 Teamed up with one of the Otmoor wardens and made our way down to the pond. Silver Washed were frequent, and we also had faded Marbled White, Purple Hairstreak and a couple of late White Admirals. The unexpected bonus though was a female Purple Emperor. With whites, Brimstone, Commas and the browns, skippers and so on we had 17 species in less than two hours.

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