21st of June. Patience and optimism, key words for the day. Making the most of my holiday I decided to pay an afternoon visit to Glapthorn Cow Pastures near Oundle in Northants. The hope was to see the rare black hairstreak which can only be found in a few woods in a band from Oxford to Peterborough. A notice on the gate stated that they had emerged early in small numbers and the flight season (which only lasts 2-3 weeks) was probably over.
Undeterred I wandered into the woods seeing many large skippers, ringlets, meadow browns and a smart silver washed fritillary. It was breathless in the high temperature. Soon found the area where the hairstreaks are most often seen and joined a few others from around the country to chat and wait.
After two hours with a slight drop in the heat I spotted our target as it descended from a tall ash tree where they spend the day out of sight. Shame it looks as though it had survived a bird attack but it is my first ever sighting.
Half an hour later another came down, this one was immaculate. Photographs were slightly difficult as it spent most of the time deep in the bush only appearing briefly on top before heading back up its tree. We left for home elated!