I knew where to look this time, so made my way down towards the orchard area, the blackthorn hedgerows on the main path before the old orchard are where i saw them last time.
It was a bit early and still quite cloudy as i walked the main path and there was no sign of any butterflies,so i continued around and into the orchard to see if there were any migrant hawker dragonflies perched up, i saw quite a few in this area the previous week but could not get any shots. this time there was no sign of any, after walking around all the apple trees i suddenly spotted a brown hairstreak flying across the open ground! i quickly followed and she settled under one of the apple trees, i just managed to shoot 4 frames quickly before she took flight, i managed to keep her in sight untill she landed in the hedge surrounding the area before she flew over the hedge! Wonderful!
The sun was now breaking through the cloud, a Brimstone gonepteryx rhamni few past me and landed to feed on a thistle flower, as i got close i noticed there was carder bee also feeding!
As it was now getting very sunny , i made my way back to the main hedge hoping the hairstreaks would make an appearance, as soon as i got there i spotted 2 females working along the hedge and soon noticed that they where both laying eggs, here is a shot of one high up in the hedge.
You can see a small piece missing from the wing where she has been crawling into the blackthorn to lay her eggs on the main stems, usually near a fork in the branch on one or two year old stems.
I followed her over to the hedge, just to the right of the water trough and actually watched her lay an egg on a blackthorn stem only about eight inches off the ground!
Here is the egg, shot at x5 magnification with canon mpe-65 macro lens, it is focus stacked to increase depth of field. the eggs are approx 0.7 mm diameter!
and a cropped shot of above , isn't the structure amazing?
I then spotted a third female in the same area a few minutes later , that was the fourth sighting of the day!
Having shot the brown hairstreaks i decided to make my way into the wood to see if any thing else to shoot, i soon found a beautiful Red Admiral, vanessa atalanta
And a few dark bush crickets
I walked around to the southern edge of the wood and found along the bridleway a few common darter dragonflies perching on the barbed wire fence, shooting from a low angle managed to keep a nice blue sky in the framing!
Then i saw another brown hairstreak and managed a few shots before she flew off, light was very bright but it does show a lot of textures on the wings!
Walking back towards the woods and back down the main path through the woods , i then found a very old looking male brown hairstreak feeding on angelica, at appeared to have very few scales left on the wings!
and finally a large white pieris brassicae
in total, i saw nine brown hairstreaks this day, which is exceptional! and i was extremely lucky, the following day i had intended to go back and meet Gill , but there was a bad holdup on the motorway and could not get there, as it turned out not a single hairstreak was seen that day even though conditions were perfect! someone did say i must have seen everyone else's share on my trip ! lol
ALL SHOTS TAKEN WITH CANON 5DMK2, 100MM L MACRO & MPE -65