Tag Archives: Brown Hairstreak

view of a Brown Hairstreak resting with wings half closed

Brown Hairstreak. Photo: Mark Hardacre

Mark paid his first visit to Alners Gorse on 17/08/18 after moving to Dorset and was delighted to find this Brown Hairstreak.

This species is not always easy to find much less photograph so he must have been very happy that day.

This is the largest hairstreak found in the British Isles. It is a local species that lives in self-contained colonies that breed in the same area year after year. This species can also prove elusive, since it spends much of its time resting and basking high up in tall shrubs and trees.

view of Brown Hairstreak nectaring on small yellow flowers

Brown Hairstreak. Photo: Caroline Stringer

view of Brown Hairstreak nectaring on flowers in bud

Brown Hairstreak. Photo: Caroline Stringer

Caroline visited BC ‘s Alner’s Gorse reserve on 4/08/18 and took these lovely photographs of a Brown Hairstreak.

The female is particularly beautiful, with forewings that contain large orange patches, and was once considered to be a separate species known as the “Golden Hairstreak”.

Females spend most of their time in Ash trees after mating and then stay there until their eggs mature and they are ready to lay .They then disperse and alternate between basking in the warm sunshine, feeding from nectar sources, and egg-laying.

view of a Brown Hairstreak resting on a leaf shoing under hind-wing and a little under fore-wing

Brown Hairstreak. Photo: Brian Arnold

Brian visited Alners Gorse on 31/07/18 and we can feel his excitement at the number of butterflies he recorded  when we read what he says:

I went to Alners Gorse yesterday with 2 of my friends (Derek and David) who I have been butterfly hunting with since we were about 12 years old.
We counted 21 species – more than we expected – They were Small Skipper 3, Clouded Yellow 6, Large White 6, Small White 25+, Green-veined White 15+, Brimstone 6, Wall 1 (that was a surprise – near to what is known as the Purple hairstreak bush), Speckled Wood 10, Meadow Brown 25+, Gatekeeper 50+, Ringlet 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 20+, Red Admiral 7, Small Tortoiseshell (just one, and the only one I have seen anywhere this year), Comma 3, Small Copper 3, Purple Hairstreak 3, Brown Hairstreak 3, Holly Blue 1, Brown Argus 12, Common Blue 50+.

The Brown Hairstreak shown here is one of four species of Hairstreaks found at Alners Gorse.

viw of a Brown Hairstreak with wings closed showing the markings og under hindwing and a little of fore-wing, nectaring on a bramble flower

Brown Hairstreak. Photo: Mark Pike

Pale brown and orange butterfly on the end of a leaf

Brown Hairstreak. Photo: Mark Pike

Mark Pike saw his first Brown Hairstreaks of the year at Alners Gorse on 23/07/18.

This is the largest hairstreak found in the British Isles. It is a local species that lives in self-contained colonies that breed in the same area year after year. This species can also prove elusive, since it spends much of its time resting and basking high up in tall shrubs and trees.

Photo one is of a female Brown Hairstreak and photo two is of a male.

view of a Brown Hairstreak with closed wings resting on a purple flower

Brown Hairstreak: Photo. Rose Ouston

Rose spotted this Brown Hairstreak at Alners Gorse on 4/08/17.

This individual looks to have escaped predation by a bird or maybe even a large dragonfly as there is a sizeable chunk missing from its hind wings.

The flight period for this species is late July- early September and as with other Hairstreaks it spends prolonged periods resting on leaves high in trees and large bushes.

The caterpillar foodplant is Blackthorn and at Alners Gorse in early December each year searches of these desiduous bushes are made for the pinhead size white eggs. These are counted and the records then give a rough idea of  the number of adult butterflies that may emerge the following July.

Brown Hairstreak with open wings, showing bright orange markings

Brown Hairstreak. Photo: Gerry Traves

Gerry and Lyn are members of the Ringwood Natural History Society: the group were shown round  our Alners Gorse Butterfly Reserve by our Reserves Manager, Nigel Spring, on 27/07/2017. They write that they enjoyed the morning very much, and sent us the full list of butterfly and other species they recorded on the visit, which you can see here.

Brown Hairstreak on a leaf looking straight at the camera

Brown Hairstreak. Photo: David Simmonds

Brown Hairstreak on some red fruit, showing the underwing and some of an upperwing

Brown Hairstreak. Photo: David Simmonds

Two very ‘real’ shots, taken on 24/07/2017 at Alners Gorse feeding on buckthorn. David says:

I have found them on or around Buckthorn several times lately. The weather was slightly overcast with occasional sunshine, which appears to be the ideal conditions for both the Purple and Brown Hairstreaks to open their wings.