The first precious jewels of spring – 5th May

It is that time of year when my heart is gladdened by the re-appearance of Green Hairstreak, one of my favourite British butterflies. The northerly air flows of the latter part of April held up the emergence of this most precious of all lepidopteron jewels, along with other early-season specialities such as Dingy and Grizzled Skipper, Duke of Burgundy and Pearl-bordered Fritillary. But with fair weather forecast for the early part of May the new butterfly season should be well and truly under way.

I have been checking out Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon on both sides of the M40 on sunny days since mid-April. Yesterday afternoon I found a season’s first Green Hairstreak on the noisy northern hillside above the motorway, then this morning there were three more sightings and I captured these images (below).

In two days time I head for the south of France again for a fortnight’s serious butterflying during which I hope to add many new species to my life list. Having presented almost a full English butterfly season in this journal in 2015 I do not intend to repeat that exercise this year. But Green Hairstreak is the one butterfly that I wanted to blog before my departure abroad. Thank heaven for the beautiful, intricate and fascinating creatures that butterflies are, and for this little gem in particular. I just love ’em!

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