Chris K texted to say he had had some Purple Hairstreaks at a regular site near his village. There is an avenue of oaks down Greenhills Lane that I have always fancied for this species but despite walking there literally hundreds of times I have never seen them.
Encouraged by a glorious warm evening on Tuesday I decided to try again.
It was nice to see a pair of Yellow Wagtails and Grey Partridge down here as well as good numbers of butterflies including two Small Skippers, a Wall and at least six 'territorial' Red Admirals.
Because they are so hard to spot they must be massively under-reported. As if to prove this point our neighbours Jim and Sue showed me some video this evening they had taken of the Spotted Flycatcher nesting in their courtyard. Guess what it was feeding to its nestlings? Yes, Purple Hairstreak! It certainly isn't travelling to Greenhills for those so they must also be in the oaks in the centre of the village.
Incidentally butterflies are a regular part of these birds offerings to their chicks, although a Red Admiral proved too much and the parent ending up having to eat it. Interestingly Jim hasn't seen them bring any white butterflies to the nest.
This is some film Jim took of the pair, in this case forcing down a Small Tortoiseshell