Late start at the rifle range pays off

After a ridiculously late start by anyone's standards, I arrived at Steyning at 1pm today. I expected there to by a large number of fellow brown hairstreakers to be on site but to my amazement  there were only five others. In the Sussex contingent were Katrina Watson, Trevor Rapley and myself. There were a couple on holiday from the north of England intent on finding some Ash Brownie action too.

I made my way up to the top slope after exchanging form notes with Trevor and Katrina who between them had seen five individuals. My only reward at the top slope was to see a female making off back into the trees. After spending a good three quarters of an hour surveying the blackthorn before going back to the main group.

The weather forecast was right for once, cloud and lots of it. Then at around 2.15 the sun shone through and the wind dropped. We were rewarded with three more females between us including a really fresh one that was intent on laying.

This particular female was choosing the small saplings / suckers nearest the fence (no more than 30cm above the ground) and gave all of us a really good opportunity to watch ovipositing closely and to get some good photos of the eggs.

Although the photo of my first betulae ovum is typical in its location, Katrina and Trevor found one laid between the leaf and the stem. It will be interesting to see what the egg count is early next year.

So there you have it, between the group of us nine females were observed at Steyning today.


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