After last weekend’s glorious weather things have gone downhill, rapidly, here in north Norfolk. So much so that a warning is in place for possible flooding, up to 70mm (nearly 3 inches) of rain and gale force northerly winds overnight and into tomorrow, it is also cold! I have decided to do a post on what was a popular butterfly from last weeks post, the Green Hairstreak ( Callophrys rubi).
If Walt Disney was to use a butterfly for a cartoon what better candidate. Just look at those big innocent eyes and cute striped legs and antenna, but this fellow has a vicious temper! It is a small butterfly, wingspan 27 – 34mm 1 to 1 1/2 inches. It can be found in small colonies of up to 12 individuals (sometimes more) in a variety of scrubby habitat like gorse commons, moorland, embankments and valley bottoms. In Europe the range is from Lapland to the Med.
This is the UK’s only true green butterfly and because of the colour is very hard to spot, the upperwing is dark brown but they always rest with the wings closed. When you do locate Green Hairsreaks they are very easy to approach and photograph. The males sit on favorite perches waiting for a female, if another male passes a battle ensues! They also attack other butterflies and insects, last week it was the Holly Blues that were chased away, because of this their wings soon become battle scarred.
These butterflies start to appear in mid-April and can be found into June. They are great fun to watch, last week I spent over an hour amused by the antics of the one I found and was able to photograph it from only a few inches.