Skippers & Hairstreak (may 2017)

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Dingy Skipper at Foulden Common

I had set myself a target at the start of the year to photograph four spring butterflies I missed last year.  Having snapped Orange Tip and Grizzled Skipper this left two, Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak.



May 5th 2017, and after two weeks of cloud and cold northerly winds a day of sun!  the wind was still a fresh north-east but the places I had chosen to visit would be nicely sheltered.



First up Foulden Common.  Situated in the Brecks south west of Swaffham, this is a lovely site.  It is home to Grizzled Skippers, one of only two remaining locations in Norfolk where this charming little butterfly can be found.



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Grizzled Skipper on cowslip

Today the common was alive with butterflies taking advantage of the lovely sunshine.  Well over 20 Dingies were seen and 2 Grizzles.  There was big numbers of Brimstone and Orange Tip, a few whites, several Holly Blue and 2 Small Copper.



I think the name Dingy Skipper is unfortunate.  As you can see from the top image when fresh they are quite beautiful.  I much prefer the French name of la Grisette or little grey one.



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Orange Tip nectaring on gorse, Foulden
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Female Orange Tip, Wiveton Downs

After several very pleasant hours I decided to move to a new site for me Wiveton Downs.  This is a lovely spot near Blakeney on the Norfolk coast.



There was less activity here, but being close to the sea it was cooler.  However vast areas of gorse were well shetered.  I searched in vain for my prize, Green Hairstreak, but it was my lucky day as a fellow enthusiast had located one.  We spent a long time taking photos of this beauty and generally talking all things butterflies.



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Green Hairstreak on bluebell sheer beauty of nature
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Green Hairstreak keeping watch, Wiveton

Having achieved my target of four spring butterflies there was still time for a bonus.  The sun had brought out two Wall Browns who were fighting for the right to sunbathe near the steps at the eastern side of the downs.



This butterfly used to be quite common when I was a child, we often caught them in the garden.  Now their numbers have crashed, which is such a shame as they are really attractive.



I returned to Wiveton a few days later and was pleased to find a small group of about six Green Hairstreaks around a rowan tree.  These were obviously all males and they spent some time fighting, for their size they are quite aggressive.  The walls were still present by the steps.


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Wall Brown at Wiveton
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Wall at Wiveton Downs
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Green Hairstreak, ready to fight the world
Cley church from the top of Wiveton Downs

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