Sunday, 12 July 2009

Check Those Elms

All butterfly pictures on this post (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
White-letter Hairstreak
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Elm leaf
For the next 2 weeks or so it's worth checking any local elm trees for a normally elusive species: the White-letter Hairstreak. If you have an elm which has grown from a sucker at the site of a previously fully-grown example, you may be able to find one at eye level - they do spend a lot of their time in the high canopy. If you're not sure which are elm trees an example of a typical mature leaf is given above. Look for the point where the leaf joins the stem - the leaf is asymmetrical - the sides of the leaf do not join the stem at the same point. Sometimes young leaves can look longer and thinner. A final clincher if you run your fingers over the leaf's surface it should feel rough because of the number of fine hairs - most other leaves feel smooth in comparison. For best results choose a sunny day with only light winds. This is something Maurice Gordon has done, and what follows are his own words from yesterday: This WLH discovered on a largish Elm near Raywell and Hessle Golf Club. I noticed the tree a few days ago so thought I would check it today. To my utter disbelief, what I thought was yet another Ringlet flying around then landed just above my head. Once I had established I wasn't hallucinating, I managed to pull the branch a bit lower with one hand and take some photos with the camera in the other hand. Just meant I couldn't compose as well as I would have liked, but I'm completely delighted to have found WLH locally! I then went to Willerby, as today seemed to be the day and with binoculars I did spot a WLH at the very very top of one of the elms. So, perhaps these have only just emerged as the only flutterings I have observed in the canopy over the past few days have turned out to be bees, Speckled Woods and on one occasion a Comma. I am also checking the oaks for Purple Hairstreaks which are meant to be so common, but nothing so far.

2 comments:

TanmoySarkar said...
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anamika said...
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