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News Archive for Dec 2020

28 Dec 2020

Brown Hairstreak Egg, Stockbridge Down. Popped back to Stockbridge Down on 20-Dec-20 to try for a better pic of a Brown Hairstreak egg, attached. I'm new to higher magnification macro photography and would really appreciate advice and guidance. This was taken with Pentax Auto Bellows & reversed Pentax-A 50mm f1.7 at f8, bellows at max extension, giving x 3.9 magnification. Lighting by remote flash off to the RHS. I really want to get better results, so any help or advice very much appreciated. [Posted by Iain McIntosh]

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Photo © Iain McIntosh

24 Dec 2020

More eggs at Stockbridge Down. A short visit to Stockbridge Down on a beautiful sunny winter's day included a short spell of butterfly egg-searching. We started off unsuccessfully looking for Purple Hairstreak eggs amongst oak buds of some fallen branches from the crown of a small oak tree. After this we switched our attention to searching suckering blackthorn growth for Brown Hairstreak eggs. It was not long before we found our first pin-head sized white egg with classic Hairstreak detailed surface sculpture (see image). Soon after I also found the distinctive flattened elongate oval egg of the Blue-bordered Carpet moth (Plemyria rubiginata). These eggs are smooth and have a neatly depressed upper surface (see second image). The moth lays its eggs, typically singly or sometimes pairs, at the fork between blackthorn twigs, so much the same place as the Brown Hairstreak. If you go Brown Hairstreak egg searching you're quite likely to encounter these eggs as well, so I thought I'd show images of each for comparison. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Hairstreak egg
Photo © Andy Barker
Blue-bordered Carpet egg
Photo © Andy Barker

20 Dec 2020

Red Admiral sighting in Kings Worthy. A saw a Red Admiral on 20th December, in Kings Worthy, near Winchester - my first ever (UK) December sighting of a butterfly. It was 11 degrees and sunny. Alas, no photo. [Posted by Lee Hurrell]

08 Dec 2020

Brown Hairstreak egg search. Despite the cold start to the day (-2 C), the sunny conditions gave good optimism for our Brown Hairstreak egg-search at Stockbridge Down. Meeting at 10.00am, two groups of four people, observing latest Covid-19 social distancing guidance, set out to look for Brown Hairstreak eggs in the blackthorn scrub. A little tricky at first as all the blackthorn stems were still frosted, but as time went by and the frost melted, all of the participants were able to find eggs. In approximately four hours of searching the overall tally was a respectable 26 Brown Hairstreak eggs, plus 2 Blue-bordered Carpet moth eggs. The latter, found at the fork of young growth blackthorn twigs, are off-white, smooth and more elongate than the Brown Hairstreak eggs. If you're within the range or close to known Brown Hairstreak sites it's well worth a search over the next few months. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Hairstreak egg
Photo © Andy Barker