The plan was to head out to Hesketh Out Marsh RSPB but just before we left a text came through from Mike saying the Purple Hairstreak were showing at Brockholes Nature Reserve so off we went. Walking towards the Oak tree where they had been spotted at the edge of Boilton Wood we spotted several other species of Butterflies some being a first time for Reece. I've always had a mild interest in butterflies and could probably have named a dozen or so species but this year as you can probably tell by the increased postings on the blog I've increased my knowledge and the amount of species I've seen. The one thing that has amazed me though is the size of some of the butterflies as shown in the photograph of the Small Copper below. I spotted it when passing some Ragwort and Reece was shocked at both how I'd picked it out and how small it was.
ABOVE SMALL COPPER BELOW WORN FEMALE COMMON BLUE BOTH ON RAGWORT
There were 5 or 6 people observing the Oak tree where the Purple Hairstreak had been seen but as we arived none had shown for 20 minutes but it wasn't long before one made an appearance. They were quite distant and being a small butterfly with a wingspan up to 40mm I couldn't get in close as I usually do. Unlike most species they feed on the honeydew of Oak trees so they are hard to spot as they spend most of the time in the tops of the trees.
They fly between the begining of July to the first week in September and I'm hoping we have another sunny day so I get the chance to try and photograph them again. Other species on the wing included Common Blue, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Comma, Small White and Green Veined White.
TOP SMALL TORTOISESHELL BELOW COMMA BOTTOM SPECKLED WOOD
Dragonflies were also flying and none more than the Common Darter. Both the males and females were showing well across the reserve and were quite happy to remain perched as we both photographed them. No such luck with the Brown Hawker which never seems to land though a female was seen oviposting on the fishing pond but none of my photographs were any good to show. We also saw a Southern Hawker and a Migrant Hawker but again with them being on the wing photos were near imposible. Not forgeting birds we saw a Green Sandpiper fly from one of the smaller pools and a Little Egret was seen on pool No 1 but not by ourselves.
ABOVE FEMALE COMMON DARTER BELOW MALE COMMON DARTER