Monday, 17 July 2017

First for me: White-letter Hairstreak Butterfly


We came back from the north a few days ago and have needed to attend to various matters (including a poetry reading) since our return. Despite the wild weather we encountered, I am looking forward to posting some photos of our holiday in due course.

Meanwhile, I am delighted to say that I believe I may have seen a new butterfly - well, new for me, at any rate. I watched it flutter into the pink Convolvulus flower above, little realising what it was. We were taking part in the Big Butterfly Count, but it was only when I uploaded my photos that I registered the distinctive hairstreak.

To the best of my knowledge I have only ever seen one other hairstreak butterfly and that was the Green Hairstreak: that butterfly was also here in Suffolk. You can read more about the White-letter Hairstreak on the Butterfly Conservation site here. Since this butterfly spends most of its tine in the tree-tops, I guess we were fortunate to see one nectaring almost at ground level. According to the Wildlife Trusts website, these butterflies have declined by 99% in the last quarter of a century: Dutch Elm Disease may be partly to blame as the eggs are deposited on these trees. I shall be reporting this sighting to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.





6 comments:

Andrea said...

Hi Caroline, i am also now into butterflies and moths! I am part of the group Philippine Lepidoptera and i sometimes join the 3 admins of the group to shoot butterflies, and it was really fun. At night i always go out the condo building here in the city to search for them in the building aisles on all 7 floors. At least i still do not go out to the other buildings. I enjoy chasing them, because butterflies in the tropics are not as docile as those in cold climates. But i still do even if they often left me disappointed.

That is a lovely one, it has cousins here too!

Conehead54 said...

Nice photos. I'm lucky to have them about a mile from where I live in west London suburbs. Purple Hairstreaks are quite common too- you should look for them now around oaks- though they do occasionally come down like your WLH.

Ragged Robin said...

Well done on the new butterfly "tick" :) Of the Hairstreaks I have only ever seen Brown and that was in Worcestershire on an organised butterfly walk!! They are such super butterflies. Look forward to the holiday photos.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Great encounter, I've never seen a hairstreak or a frittilary.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I've never seen a hairstreak of any colour! What a lucky find to see it so low down as well!

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, everyone, so much for your kind comments.