By audave2505, Oct 20 2020 07:08PM
A week or two ago I continued my butterfly surveys around northern Bergerac with a birdwatching friend Claude. He knows the area well - all the small roads tracks and paths - which makes it easier to find good butterfly habitat! This time we went across to Montagnac-la-Crempse, a couple of villages from Maurens. It was a sunny lunchtime and the temperature was just starting to get a little warmer after a fresh start. We parked in the pretty village centre and spoke to some of the staff who run an environmental centre here mainly for school groups but they also created and maintain an interesting "eco-garden" on the hillside. We set out along the valley path not expecting too much. A couple of Brown Argus in the "eco-garden" were nice and by the stream a Comma glided past, whilst on the hillside were plenty of Adonis Blues.
A little further on I noticed out of the corner of my eye a little golden brown butterfly fluttering amongst the bushes. As it settled on a Dogwood leaf I immediately recognised it as a recently emerged female Brown Hairstreak - a rather scarce and special late summer-autumn butterfly. We were fortunate as she was intent on egg-laying and not moving far. Amongst the Dogwood were young branches of Blackthorn, the caterpillar food plant of this species. Eggs are generally laid at the junction of branches. I clicked away with the camera whilst Claude watched the butterfly through his binoculars. She was very kind to us settling with wings open and closed, and allowing close approach for macro-photography. The photos show her golden underwing with subtle patterns and secondly with brown wings open showing large orange patches on the forewing (which the male lacks). It was only when I looked at the photo of the female with wings closed that I noticed the tiny white egg she had recently laid, adjacent to her head on the thin stem.
When we first moved to our former home in Mauzac I remember planting fruit trees on the terrace lawn one autumn (2nd November 2007 to be exact) when a rather tatty brown female Brown Hairstreak fluttered down to lay eggs on the Apricot tree whilst I was arranging the soil around the roots!
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