Tuesday, 12 May 2009
A Butterfly Encounter
Yesterday being my last day at large before NigeCorp reclaimed me, and the weather sunny but windy, I went walking on Epsom Downs. Sunny but windy - indeed a fierce east wind - so I wasn't expecting anything much in the way of butterfly action. But, to my great delight and excitement, I saw the first Green Hairstreak I have come across in several years. I was taking a look at a sunny sheltered corner of nothing very much - brambles, nettles, ground elder, Queen Anne lace, hawthorn - when a lively Speckled Wood flushed and briefly chased... what? When it settled again on a hawthorn leaf, I realised immediately that it was the beautiful and unmistakable Green Hairstreak. I stood staring, and no doubt grinning like an idiot, for several minutes, until it took off and disappeared (the flight is very fast and darting, green/brown against green/brown), then, wonderfully, alighted again, much closer to where I was standing, affording me several more minutes of gazing. Then it was off again, and lost, but I'm sure I'll never forget this encounter... No photograph, by the way, does full justice to the brilliance and sheen of the Green Hairstreak's emerald underwings.