Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

White-letter Hairstreaks again

As the sun came out briefly this afternoon, I cycled quickly down to the Taff in Llandaff to check a Wych Elm tree for White-letter Hairstreaks. I've been eyeing this tree up for a while, but this is the first chance I've had to look properly during the flight season.

Wych Elm tree (arrowed). The pines on the left of the shot are in the grounds of the BBC studios.
After 5 minutes of nothing, there was suddenly a burst of activity with two individuals (presumably males) chasing each other rapidly around the tree top. A third individual was briefly involved. The spectacle continued on and off for several more minutes before they settled down again.

Predictably, all the hairstreaks stuck resolutely to the canopy and had to be viewed through binoculars. The distant shot below was the best I could do!
The black speck (arrowed) is a White-letter Hairstreak!
As Richard mentioned in a previous post, the flight season should last for several more weeks, so worth checking any Elms growing in sheltered situations - it's a very under-recorded butterfly in Glamorgan.

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