Have a Purple Hairstreak on us!

Have a Purple Hairstreak on us!

One butterfly that also needs some extra recording effort for our atlas is the Purple Hairstreak. Unlike all our other butterflies it is most active very late in the day (after 6pm!) and we’ve found an enjoyable way to get out and help us record this elusive butterfly.

Pick a sunny evening in late July, August or early September and then tell your wife / husband / partner / budgie that you’re popping out for a little early evening butterfly recording. Sneak down to your local pub, grab a pint of your favourite tipple and stand in the beer garden. The best time to look is around 6-8pm There’s bound to be an oak tree somewhere nearby – try and find one that’s getting a nice bit of evening sun and face it. Then raise your glass to take a drink and scan the oak tops. By the end of your pint you should have seen some small, silvery butterflies flitting around the canopy.

If you haven’t, go back to the bar and repeat. Please note we will not except any records of butterflies seen after your third pint as these may well be unreliable. For those of you that don’t want to hang around in a beer garden, consider taking an early evening stroll through your local area and find yourself a sunny oak tree.

Purple Hairstreak distribution in Sussex

So far our survey work has show us that nearly every oak tree in Sussex has a Purple Hairstreak on it. The map shows distribution for the years 2010 and 2011. The large black square in East Sussex was the result of targetted work over a few nights where recorders drove into each square, scanned the oaks and moved on. In most cases you only need to look into the trees for a few seconds to confirm that there is a Purple Hairstreak in residence.