Egg laying at Grafton Wood (thanks to clearance work)

I was very impressed with the results of the shrub clearance near the old pond area. I saw 7 Brown Hairstreaks, today, all either in the old pond area or along the path to the west of the pond. Two of the females were definitely egg laying, however, in the area cleared either last year or the year before, opposite the pond. All the low flying, egg laying females were in this cleared area.

I think I have been missing a lot of sightings by looking around the area of blackthorn next to the pond, when most of the action is opposite the pond in the cleared area on younger blackthorn plants. The female below disappeared low in the blackthorn and I found two eggs, afterwards.

Most of my sightings were between 12.30 and 14.00pm. It was very windy, but they were active during the short spells of sunshine. I photographed four different females on the day. All in all, a very good day. I did notice that there was a lot of trampling in the cleared area. There are a couple of small "paths" through this area so please try to avoid trampling on the blackthorn saplings. Many thanks.

Early days at Grafton Wood

I read on the Grafton Wood blog that the first Brown Hairstreaks (including females) were seen on August 4th. I arrived last Sunday on a warm, sunny but windy day, feeling very hopeful of early season sightings. I walked the main rides for 3 hours, seeing a particularly strong showing of Gatekeeper, Brimstone and Silver Washed Fritillary. I was surprised that, although I saw 5 Purple Hairstreak (even on the ground), I did not see a single Brown Hairstreak in flight, at all, including around the pond area. My only observations were of two females, low in blackthorn, on the west side of the wood, either basking or nectaring on bramble.
Fortunately, one of the females was very photogenic and posed in virtually all the positions I wanted :-) for two minutes; then she was gone. There is something very special about our rarer woodland species. They spend most of their brief lives high in the canopy, rarely, if ever, descending so that we can fully appreciate their beauty. It is the fruitless hours or days that we spend travelling to, and searching these sites in vain, that makes these brief glimpses so very rewarding.

Any sightings yet

Anybody seen one of these yet. As the Purple Emperor season winds down, attention turns, hopefully, to Brown Hairstreak. I noticed on the Purple Empire that Brown Hairstreak were flying at Knepp, last week. As it is a long drive to my nearest site (Grafton Wood), I wondered whether they were out anywhere else yet. Many thanks.