Monday was an eye-opener at a new reserve for me in Lincolnshire, but there was no chance to photograph White Admirals or Silver-Washed Fritillaries, plus the Hairstreaks remained inconveniently and frustratingly just out of reach. Ben and I arrived around 10 am and were rather surprised to find that the sun was obscured by cloud. However, it looked as though it would soon clear up. Monday's glade was empty of butterflies, so we decided to try the red route instead.
Thursday morning was quite different from Monday, and as the sun broke through suddenly lots of butterflies began to appear. One of the most impressive was our first White Admiral. These may be the most graceful fliers of any UK butterflies species. Their beautiful gliding actions were reminiscent of butterflies from tropical areas kept in Butterfly Houses. Ben also spotted a Small Copper on the ground.
This was at a junction and only a few feet along the new path we saw some Hairstreaks basking fairly low down. One of these was a worn and tatty Purple Hairstreak. The purple sheen appears stronger depending on the angle of your view.
"more purple" at this angle
Nearby was another Hairstreak with striking orange colouration near its back end. this is a darker butterfly than the Purple Hairstreak.
White-letter Hairstreak - the first I've ever seen
Opening its wings
Looks almost drab from this angle
Purple Hairstreak with wings closed
Another Purple Hairstreak?
On the ground
We were almost back to the car, when my attention was drawn to a small very dark butterfly, smaller than a Ringlet on the ground. It appeared to be extracting salt from various items on the ground. On checking the photos back in the car, while I was driving back, Ben was able to spot the "W" shape at 90 degrees to the vertical, so this was a White-letter Hairstreak. He also pointed out that they are hardly ever seen with open wings, which explains why this individual only opened its wings when it was flying from one spot to another, when it appeared even darker than when at rest.
Underside of White-letter Hairstreak on a blade of grass
White-letter Hairstreak - wings closed
Purple Hairstreak - wings open
Purple Hairstreak - looks paler when its wings are closed
Although the morning was successful in regard to White Admirals, Purple Hairstreaks and White-letter Hairstreaks, there was still no chance to photograph Silver-Washed Fritillaries, and there wasn't even a sniff of Purple Emperors this time. Another visit seems called for.