Bug concession

I almost made it to the end of the “lull” (waders back on the move now folks) without resorting to the wonderful world of mothing, butterflies and dragons.
This wholly unconscious “anti-invert” agenda was made easier by nine day weeks and ten hour days at work recently, which meant birding, much less bugging, was hardly happening.
Out this morning though, to join the “Gems In The Dunes” group for a walk at Ainsdale NNR with site manager Pete Gahan.
Cool and drizzly first, but plenty of Stock Dives still calling, Common Buzzards, Greater ‘Peckers, Siskin and Mistle Thrushes galore, but disappointing on the bug front.
Things were better on the way out when I left the group at the firebreak at lunchtime to catch up with the Purple Hairstreaks recently discovered lurking in the oak canopy there.

It was warming up by 1pm, and as I watched the butterflies with Pete Kinsella as they flitted about in the top of the canopy, one or two gradually began to drop lower.
With a bit of patience we got good views of one of these tiny butterflies through the oak leaves.
Backlit and fringed with light, the Hairstreaks were still little crackers.
They were especially obvious when they went “walkabout” along the twigs and branches high above our heads, standing out like a tiny, silvery pale shark’s fin… (good description Pete)

This is the first time I’ve seen Purple Hairstreak in Sefton, and with beasts discovered in Blundellsands and Ince Blundell as well as the NNR firebreak (surely the best butterfly spot in the borough?), my guess would be that with a bit of diligent searching, they may pop up anywhere where there are stands of their favoured oak trees – time to check the parks everyone?

Lots of other goodies in the NNR bugwise too of course – Migrant Hawker above us this morning, and I’m sure a few Ringlets etc would have emerged when it brightened up later in the day – but by then I was long gone.

2 thoughts on “Bug concession

  1. Hi John
    Found some purple hairstreaks today (Sunday) on the edge of Ince Woods. They were three telegraph poles along from the main road on the footpath between the A565 and the back lane from Thornton to Little Crosby. There seemed to be about half a dozen of them flitting around the top of one of the oaks.
    I would recommend anyone who wants to see them should do some serious work on their biceps before making an attempt. Holding up my ancient cast iron Swarovskis for nearly an hour to get a half decent view was quite an effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • According to the big boy butterfly books Ian, they come lower down after rain (honeydew is washed off the leaves) and in the early evening. The Ainsdale ones came to about 10-12ft above me yesterday.


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