A Good Couple of Hours at Grafton

Having just returned from a week in Dorset and with 1500+ photos to sort through I couldn’t help but notice that Brown Hairstreaks had been showing well during the past few days at Grafton Wood. With the weather set to stay good over the weekend, I mentioned it to my son Chris, and as he had the day off his work today (Saturday) we decided to bimble over for a look.Grafton Wood is only about 45 minutes drive from our house in Solihull and so we left just after 10.30am in glorious sunshine. Nearing Grafton, it steadily got cloudier and foggier and we looked at each other as if to say ‘where’s this come from?’ As we parked up by the church however, the sun had started to break through and we could feel it getting warmer. We had heard that the best time to see Brown Hairstreaks was for about an hour or so each side of midday, depending on the weather, so we decided to have a walk through the wood to have a look around before heading for the ‘orchard’ area which is the most reliable area.I had seen a couple of Brown Hairstreaks on the other side of the wood in 2010 so we headed for this area first which is a sort of clearing with good Blackthorn growth around the edges. After seeing a few ‘whites’, Speckled Woods, Red Admirals and Silver Y moths, I caught sight of something orangey, it was a definite Brown Hairstreak. We watched it for a while as it flew around about 15 feet up before losing sight of it behind a large Oak. Circling back around to the Orchard we found a few other people there and we all started checking the Blackthorn.At around 1.00pm the first female was sighted low down where she stayed obligingly for twenty minutes or so during which time a second female joined her so that we had two together within 10 feet or so. A few more sightings were made during the next hour but it is impossible to say how many were the same ones being seen again, although going by slight differences in wear and damage, I have photographed at least 3 different individual females.

By 2.00pm it had quietened down a bit and we did not have any more sightings after this time. This led Chris to comment ‘My kind of butterfly, they get up at lunchtime for a bit then go back to bed’. Feeling very happy with our sightings and having got some photos we decided to leave shortly afterward and head home.


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