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.


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