Saturday, 16 August 2014

Brown Hairstreak

With birding still a bit quiet, and Sundays weather not looking all that good, we decided to try for Brown Hairstreaks which have been flying for a week or two.
The initial plan was to go to Bernwood Meadows, where we have had little success in recent years, followed by Whitecross Green. However Colin had done some research and found a number of reports from RSPB Otmoor, not far from the car park. Not having been there before it seemed worth a visit.
It was reasonably sunny and warm when we arrived, but gradually cloud built up over the course of the morning. One or two butterflies were seen on the Summer Trail-Common Blues in particular, and grasshoppers of various species seemed abundant, but without my guide book I was a bit lost. Red Kites are common in the area, but it was still nice to get an almost eye level flyby.

 We made our way up past the feeding station to the grazing meadows and pools. A Greenshank was a nice find, but we missed a Wheatear that others were trying to relocate. Heading east to the Roman road, a pair of Bullfinch were seen, and a chat-I assumed Robin, but a juvenile type Redstart was seen here by one of the reserve wardens.
Following his directions we found the Ash trees and a couple of guys, who had found a female Brown Hairstreak, high up. With the breeze picking up it proved difficult to photograph-I was attempting to digiscope with the RX100 and an adaptor that i had knocked up over the last week or so. ~I was also using a Lensmaster Gimbal for the first time and although the scope is a bit light for it, I was very pleased with the performance.

The Hairstreak briefly opened it's wings in sunny spells though my camera missed it-superb visually in the scope at 50x though, and eventually it flew to another part of the Ash. At least one, maybe two others, presumed males were also seen in flight at this time. We also picked up one Purple Hairstreak in a nearby Ash tree while trying to relocate the males.
With the wind seeming to pick up we returned to the car for a coffee and thought about where to go next. One possibility would have been Aston Rowant, but the weather did not look good for that so since it was on the way home and only a short distance away we went to Whitecross Green.
Not much sunshine, but it was warm and fairly sheltered so we made our way to the Ash trees near the pond. The most abundant species seen were Common Darters, which along with Migrant Hawkers were hunting up and down the rides. Common Blues, Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns and Small Coppers were the only butterflies noted. Silver Washed Fritillaries had been seen, and I did see a small Hairstreak sized butterfly briefly. We decided not to stay long, and on the way back found a Field Vole {only the second mammal species I've seen here, the other being a somewhat larger and more noticeable Red Deer}.  

No comments: