Purple Hairstreak

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Purple Hairstreak

Postby ChrisStamp » Sat 05 Jun 2021 17:12

I managed to raise some Purple Hairstreaks from the eggs I found last year. Photos attached, but I hope to improve on these as more emerge.
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ChrisStamp
 
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Re: Purple Hairstreak

Postby KJE » Fri 23 Jul 2021 21:36

It looks like being another good year for Purple Hairstreaks; numbers are building up very well in Dundee. I saw 11 in Balgay Park and the adjacent cemetery this afternoon. It was the first time I had looked for them in the cemetery, which has a few mature oaks, but I checked three trees that I was able to get a good view of, and saw at least one hairstreak in all three of them.

It is very hard to believe that they are not also present in Edinburgh and other urban areas in the east of Scotland. Staring at the tops of a small group of mature oaks (or even a single oak) in the late afternoon sunshine is likely to produce one almost anywhere.

Keith
KJE
 
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Re: Purple Hairstreak

Postby ChrisStamp » Sun 25 Jul 2021 14:11

We haven’t yet been able to find them in Edinburgh despite some excellent habitat and ideal conditions. Not sure why. Someone is surveying the 900 year old oaks at Dalkeith this evening which should add more data.

We have had good new colonies discovered at Loch Leven, Murthly, east Falkirk and central Fife already though, so the survey season has got off to a good start.

I checked Camperdown but was slightly too early so I need to try again.
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Re: Purple Hairstreak

Postby KJE » Mon 26 Jul 2021 20:46

I also tried Camperdown Park on Saturday and to my surprise couldn't find any, although I'm sure they must be there. I wonder if in places with lots of mature oaks they concentrate on some favoured trees. I'll try again when the weather is suitable.

Over the weekend I did however find Purple Hairstreaks in two places which don't have any mature oaks. The first was a piece of uncultivated ground behind my garden (in Dundee), which has just a single small oak among some other trees. There were two in the oak on Saturday; I also saw one today. The second site was Riverside Nature Park in Dundee, which has a few small to medium-sized oaks. There were at least two there yesterday. So it certainly isn't necessary to have large mature oaks, in fact they are much easier to see in smaller trees because they are not so high up.

Keith
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Re: Purple Hairstreak

Postby ChrisStamp » Tue 27 Jul 2021 10:19

That's interesting Keith. Still a lot to understand about these butterflies.

The females do use smaller trees for egg laying but I always thought that males use large trees for their territories, but as you say, finding exceptions is handy for getting closer views.

The Riverside Nature Park site will be a new 10k square I think as it is just across the square boundary from your other records. Do you send records to Butterfly Conservation or use any recording scheme like iRecord?
I keep an unofficial map of the latest 10k square sightings, but longer term we'll rely on the data being recorded officially.

This map shows Butterfly Conservation data up to 2016 in Purple, then more recent records in Orange, then new 2021 10k squares in red.

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ChrisStamp
 
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Re: Purple Hairstreak

Postby KJE » Tue 27 Jul 2021 12:09

Yes, all of my PH records, from the first one at Barry Buddon in 2009, have been submitted to Butterfly Conservation. I'm now using BNM Online.

Keith
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Re: Purple Hairstreak

Postby KJE » Wed 28 Jul 2021 21:21

5 Purple Hairstreaks this evening at the Scotscraig Estate in Fife, between Newport-on-Tay and Tayport.

Keith
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Re: Purple Hairstreak

Postby ChrisStamp » Thu 29 Jul 2021 09:25

Ah, that's good - I had created a target map for Fife with a candidate site per 10k square, but I had left that square off as I didn't see any especially likely habitat in my aerial photos surveys.

I am due to do a presentation on Purple Hairstreak discoveries at the end of the season at the BC Autumn gathering, so this is also useful stuff. If you get any habitat photos when finding them, I could potentially use them in the presentation (with credits of course).

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We are hopefully having a field meeting in Fife near Ladybank between 9th - 11th August to help train some new Fife recorders. You'd be very welcome to join!

Chris
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Re: Purple Hairstreak

Postby KJE » Fri 30 Jul 2021 12:41

I don't have a photo of the site, I'm afraid. But it is a group of about ten oaks at the north-west of Craig Law at NO438281, below some cliffs. I've been meaning to check it for a long time, but haven't had time until now. I also saw what was almost certainly a Purple Hairstreak the previous day beside the Newport-Tayport road at NO437290, but I only saw it briefly flying high in a tree and I didn't think it was sufficiently certain.

I'm sure there are similar groups of oaks all over Fife, so I'd be surprised if there are not hairstreaks throughout the county.

I may be able to come to the field meeting. I assume that this will be advertised on the website?

Keith
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Re: Purple Hairstreak

Postby KJE » Sun 01 Aug 2021 16:38

Yesterday we went for a walk in St. Andrews, parking at the Petheram Bridge car park near the bus station. I noticed that there were a couple of largish oaks beside the car park, so when we got back from the walk at about 5pm I went over to check them. Conditions were not particularly good, with the sky overcast and not much brightness coming through. However, after scanning unsuccessfully for anything flying, I moved closer to the better of the two trees (NO50311679) and scanned the foliage, and there was a Purple Hairstreak sitting on a leaf! It wandered around over several leaves for quite a while, but I never saw it fly. It was really too distant for my camera, but I did take some very poor record shots.

They really do seem to be exceptionally numerous at the moment. Up to 2019 I had never seen more than 4 on a single visit to Balgay Park, but on Friday I saw 25. Until the weather deteriorated around 6pm, I only needed to watch each oak for a few minutes before I saw one, or usually several. I've been waiting 10 years for a year like this, as it makes finding new sites so much easier. I don't think there will ever be a much better time to fill in all those blanks on the map.

Keith
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