Record shots only! Have you heard that term? Well, these photos are extremely good examples of what it means – really lousy photos, sometimes taken at long distance and then heavily cropped, often blurry, possibly adjusted in Photoshop or similar image processing software to try to enhance the features, but really only retained as proof that you did actually see what you say you saw. (So you can actually see what lovely butterflies these are, I’ve linked their names to the relevant pages on the Butterfly Conservation website.)
Luckily, with this shot of a White-letter hairstreak, I was with another person, who actually showed me the location, so I have a witness to the sighting. From my ‘record shot’ you probably can’t even tell that the small blob in the sky is a butterfly flitting around in the top canopy of this Wych elm.
I did a little better with the Purple hairstreak. Again, this is a known location, where other people have seen and photographed these lovely little butterflies in recent days. The first time I visited, all I could see were small flutterings at the very top of the tall old oak trees where the Purple hairstreaks live. Luckily, on my second visit, some of the butterflies were moving around further down the tree. I just needed to be patient and wait for one to fly, then try to follow where it went – believe me, that’s not easy as they almost seem to disappear amongst the leaves and they really are quite small (a wing span of 37-39mm).