First off, let me just say I have not started blogging about hairstyling: the Hairstreaks are a group of butterflies, so named because of the thin streak of white across their underwings, that usually live their whole lives in the upper canopies of various trees. This year, due to the extremely hot dry weather, their tree-top food sources have dried up, forcing them to come down to ground level for sustenance.
I spotted this lovely little butterfly purely by chance. I was wandering along the Glamorgan Canal in Forest Farm Nature Reserve, north of Cardiff, taking photos of the Demoiselle damselflies, when something small and brown fluttered down to water level, settled briefly on a leaf, then was chased off by one of the Demoiselles (hence the poor images). The White-letter hairstreak (Satyrium w-album) can usually be found in the tops of Elm trees and suffered a severe decline in numbers due to Dutch Elm disease killing off so many Elm trees in the 1970s but it seems slowly to be recovering. Its name comes from the shape of the letter W on its lower underwing.
I can’t take the credit for spotting this Purple hairstreak (Favonius quercus) – my friend Jill noticed it sitting on the woodland trail as we explored Abbot’s Wood in East Sussex last week. (This was my third new butterfly of the week!) Purple hairstreaks usually live in the tops of Oak trees, mostly in southern areas of Britain. Unfortunately, I only managed a couple of quick photos and didn’t get to see its purple-coloured upper wings.