Friday, 5 June 2009

Green Hairstreaks

Five species of Hairstreak butterflies can be seen in Britain. Usefully they all have colours in their names, so they are relatively easy to remember: Brown, Purple, White-letter, Black and Green. Last year we successfully filmed the first four Hairstreaks, but managed only a few brief shots of the fifth. So we were particularly delighted to catch up recently with this gentleman and his friends.

Green Hairstreaks are annoyingly difficult to see well... let alone photograph. The general Hairstreak philosophy is to is perch invisibly pretending to be a leaf high up in a dense hawthorn, blackthorn or (in the case of Purple Hairstreak) oak trees. Being predominantly green and brown, Green Hairstreaks are rather good at this.

From time to time, generally when you are looking the other way, they may take off for a brief sortie. If you are lucky, they will be noticed by a neighboring male and a dogfight will ensue. Tracking the spiraling flight of the combatants and hopefully following one of them back to its perch may – with patience and good fortune – allow you to creep up and shoot the beast.

Anyway, many thanks to Lee Evans for guiding us to these particular Green Hairstreaks, rather late in their flight season. Although best known as a birder, Lee is also a keen lepidopterist. His directions were customarily exact: we turned up at the specified bush in Bedfordshire and there were the butterflies.


Clare said...

I was recently lucky to spot a number of Green Hairstreaks and 2 mating. Tried to take some pics however it was so windy they are all blurred.

Andy Musgrove said...

Hi Max

For future reference, I had great views of lots of Green Hairstreaks along the roadside at Salthouse Heath, north Norfolk, about a month ago. Not sure if still flying (should be a few on sunny days for another week or so) but a good spot to look for them if you're on the Norfolk coast anyway.


Andy Musgrove

JRandSue said...

Great Image,I would love to take a good Green Hairstreak shot like yours.