|Mating Silver-spotted Skippers (Hesperia comma), a national rarity, on the wing late June - early Sept|
|Silver-spotted Skipper. Larval foodplant: Sheep's-fescue (Festuca ovina)|
After the sun-loving Skippers (they don't bother flying on overcast days - very sensible!), it was on to Otmoor RSPB for another butterfly rarity, the Brown Hairstreaks (Thecla betulae). We were as jammy as Jammie Dodgers and walked straight up to a chap who was watching 3 of them! Last weekend this same chap had spent more than 3 hours waiting for a sighting without success, a scenario I know all too well.
The views were far better than I had ever hoped for. The icing on the cake would have been a fresh female but I was truly content with the 3 males, one of which was in pristine condition.
|Male Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae). The UK's largest hairstreak species. Primary foodplant is Blackthorn|
|Brown Hairstreak, open-winged (male)|
|Two males. Fresh v Worn|
|Nothing like standing on your rival's head to get the message across!|
A couple of final pictures: a female Southern Hawker dragonfly (Aeshna cyanea) and a female Roesel’s Bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii). I’d only ever seen the latter in photographs and didn’t really think my ID was correct. I fired off a burst of 3 shots with a view to checking when I got home. Kicked myself when I realised I was right and really should have made the most of the opportunity. Ah well, another place, another time...I hope. Incidentally, the rather large (and lethal-looking!) sickle-shaped protrusion at the rear of the Bush-cricket is the ovipositor, and the reason I know it's a female...