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Saturday’s walk to my local woodlands started with a magical experience when I spotted these mating hairstreaks sitting, almost hidden, on a leaf of a small sapling. The tree was a young Oak, so I assumed the butterflies were Purple hairstreaks but a closer look showed these were actually White-letter hairstreaks, though there were no Wych elms, their usual habitat, anywhere in sight. The lessons for me were twofold: I should always check rather than make assumptions, and butterflies don’t always do what you expect them to. And, though I felt a little like a voyeur, the butterflies were a joy to see so close, and they stayed quite still while I took this series of photographs.

220714 mating white-letter hairstreaks