Today I joined the ‘End of Season Steyning Downland Scheme Brown Hairstreak Social Group’ at the Rifle Range, where annual gatherings celebrate the passing of another season and members hope to photograph one of our most beautiful and charismatic butterflies.
Brown Hairstreak watching here is very much a social event and the more eyes the better! Although it sometimes gets so busy that you will find yourself shoulder-to-shoulder with other participants, business is almost always conducted in a polite and cooperative manner, with most members returning home with close-up views and hopefully some good photographs.
Today was no exception and the butterflies performed well, both for Team A on the northern flank, captained by Colin Knight, and for Team B in the reserve area, captained by Trevor Rapley. Together a total of 12 female Brown Hairstreaks were seen. I spent most of the 11.30 am – 2.00 pm period of activity on the northern flank, where we had at least one specimen in view almost constantly throughout the day. We are now at peak season, so a visit this weekend in warm sunny weather should give every chance of some red hot hairstreaking.
I also spent a few hours here yesterday, but the weather was only sufficiently good to tempt a single female down. However, it was a case of quality over quantity and this near perfect specimen posed with open wings for more than twenty minutes.