Saturday, 1 December 2012

Scouting for girls ...

Plaistow, 14 August 2012

With school summer holidays very much in full swing, I have been trying to encourage my son to come out with me for some entomological fun! A local wildlife photographic competition with a £50 first prize finally tempted him from his computer. Despite my preference for getting out early morning, it was 11.30am before we left the house. It was already quite hot and humid. A full sun shone above and the early morning still had been replaced by a refreshing breeze as we ventured to our local patch ...

Meadow Brown were everywhere; too many to count and with good numbers of pristine females nectaring on thistle. Gatekeeper were also in abundance and only second in number to their larger and equally active cousin. These were not for me, as I really couldn't be bothered with a chase of known outcome. A beautiful and very freshly emerged female Speckled Wood showed for a brief time though was sadly soon lost. Several Essex and Small Skipper were also seen along with good numbers of Small Heath. Deciding that enough was enough and that our £50 photographic prize wasn't going to be achieved today, we headed back through the meadow and along a small length of mixed hedgerow interspersed with ash and oak; my vision fixed firmly amongst the young blackthorn shoots ...

... and there she was, a beautiful female Brown Hairstreak.

Calling my son over quickly we both watched her flying and crawling amongst her larval foodplant whilst carefully selecting sites to lay her pearly white, urchin-like eggs. Occasionally she would pause and bask open-winged in the sun. She was extremely approachable and graced us with at least 20 minutes of her time before finally being lost from view ...



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