Streaking in France

Well around about now I would usually be commencing the annual winter egg search in the Lincolnshire Limewoods, but this year for a change my first egging session took place in South Brittany during a long weekend visit to my father's house some 20 minutes north of Vannes (19th-23rd October 2012). The habitat here is a mosaic of copses, tree lines and fields, with occasional larger woods. Bracken and Gorse is common, as is heather - it has a distinctly heathy feel - and blackthorn is not particularly common, although there are scattered plants here and there. Not ideal Brown Hairstreak country in my experience, and yet a quick look on a blackthorn in my father's front garden revealed 10 eggs of betulae - most unexpected!! The area is good for Purple Emperor, Large Tortoiseshell, Map Butterfly, Sooty Copper, and a few Fritillary species, so it was nice to be able to add Brown Hairstreak to the list. Clearly French BHs have a different habitat requirement to Lincolnshire ones! Once the rain stops I will be out to begin mapping our local hairstreak eggs, but in the meantime I would be interested if anyone else has experience of BH abroad, particularly with reference to them breeding in areas of relatively low blackthorn density!


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