Dick's Pics

By RichardDonkin

Brown Hairstreak

I'd written off the chance to see this lady as there's too much on this week but I'd offered to take my son and his wife down to Gatwick for a flight, so carried on to Steyning Rifle Range, known for its colony of Brown Hairstreak.

I was there far too early as they rarely appear before 11 am. A few other people were about and there was an unseemly scrum for a picture when I found one. Surprising, because it was a tatty specimen. So I cleared off and left them to it.

The Brown Hairstreak is almost too particular for its own good, living and feeding in Ash trees, then laying its eggs in thickets of blackthorn or bullace (a relative of the plum). After emerging among the tree litter in late July/early August, the males head high in to Ash trees where they fight among themselves for a while until they're joined by females. When they're ready on warm days (upwards of 20 deg C) in mid to late August, the females will drop down on to the thickets to lay their eggs on stems, That's when there's a chance of a picture. I went back later when the throng had thinned out. All the same, I didn't get one to myself so this was the best I could do. Still, it's a handsome specimen.

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