Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

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Vince Massimo
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Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby Vince Massimo » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:39 pm

Week 14.

Here is the opportunity to post your favourite photo(s) of a particular species taken in 2013 (or the last time you saw one!).

This is part of a series of topics which will grow over 20 weeks throughout the winter, eventually covering all 59 species which are regularly found in the British Isles. The intention is to showcase three species per week (in alphabetical order), so please wait until a topic has been opened by me for a particular species before posting photos. Our overseas members are very welcome to fill in the obvious gaps relating to rare UK migrants.

Details of locations, dates, times and circumstances would be welcome and please feel free to contribute observations of behaviour, stories of personal encounters, anecdotes or other interesting points.

Vince

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby Wurzel » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:41 pm

Purple Hairstreak

This is m favourite shot from this year but not my favourite sighting. Things seemed a bit better for Purps this year and Bentley Wood seemed to hold reasonable numbers. This one was taken at the end of the July while looking with Philzoid for another purple butterfly – His Nibbs himself.
Purple Haistreak (Bentley 21-07).JPG

However my favourite sighting was on a trip to Legoland with the girls. Having “done” the rides in the morning, eaten lunch and had a look at some of the models we headed over to the Duplo area and Drench Towers. The girls changed and were let into the area for their allotted 20 minutes of splashtastic mayhem. There are three or four water slides arranged around a centre tower over which hangs an enormous hollow Lego brick. Periodically this tips emptying down all of its water over the children below drenching them in a deluge.
While I was supervising (basically standing at the edge, holding towels and trying to avoid getting soaked) I saw a small, greyish butterfly drift down to the deck. It landed right next to the bottom of one of the slides. I quickly collected it on the palm of my hand and removed myself back to the safe zone. Five seconds late a child came tearing down the slide displacing a massive wave of water over the sides of the and almost instantaneously the area was hit by a torrent falling from the big block tipping. If I hadn’t have stepped in the Purp would have perished in a micro tsunami. As I tried to get my iPod out of my pocket with one hand so I could take a quick snap it flew off – there gratitude for you!
Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby millerd » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:27 pm

This actually would qualify for one of the worst photos taken all year - but it was the only Purple Hairstreak caught on camera all year. I spotted this one at the York Maize Maze attraction on quite a windy day (9th August). It was fluttering close to the ground and I initially took it to be a Common, or even a Holly Blue. When I got closer, it clearly wasn't, but this was the only shot I got before it decided to head back to the nearby oaks. Typically, the camera hadn't seen it at all and focussed on the background.
PH.JPG

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby downland boy » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:04 pm

If I was pushed to name a favourite species then this little jewel would be very near the top of my list. I failed to get close to it in 2013 and so my favourite shots are of a female in 2012 and a mating pair in 2011.
Attachments
(03) Purple Hairstreak (mating; female on left) 10.7.11 East Sussex. Downland boy.JPG
(02) Purple Hairstreak (f) 19.7.12 East Sussex. Downland boy.JPG
(01) Purple Hairstreak (f) 19.7.12 East Sussex. Downland boy.JPG

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby David M » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:10 pm

Stunning images of a very elusive species, Downland Boy! You've done a great job there!

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby CFB » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:33 am

These photos were taken on September 5 when, for some unknown reason, Purple Hairstreaks, Silver-washed Fritillaries and Tree Graylings were all attracted by the surface of a lane ("Chemin du Bruguet"), on which fortunately there was virtually no traffic. I still haven't managed to take a photo of a bright blue female upper-side. Those of downland boy are magnificent :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:.

IMG_9727.JPG

IMG_9753.JPG

--
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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby downland boy » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:23 pm

My thanks to David M and CFB for their appreciation. They were certainly two memorable occasions and I could easily have left the car at the woods and floated home! The crepuscular inclinations of the Purple Hairstreak are well known and I spotted the mating pair about 10 feet up in a small oak tree at about 8pm....luckily I had my step ladder with me!
I found the female on one of those warm, still, humid and lightly overcast mornings when butterflies tend to rest with wings open. She was most obliging and gave me an hour of her time for photos, rather than the usual few seconds accorded by most Purple Hairstreaks.

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby Neil Freeman » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:29 pm

Fantastic photos downland boy, great stuff :D

I saw fair numbers of Purple Hairstreaks during 2013, usually doing their usual flitting about high up around Oak trees. On only one occasion did one come close enough to photograph, a female that I found circling around a small 10-12 feet high Oak at Castle Hills near Solihull. Even so she stayed almost out of reach and it was only the articulated screen on my FZ150 that enabled me to grab a few shots at full stretch.

Solihull 30.07.2013 068resize2.JPG
Purple Hairstreak - Castle Hills 30.07.2013


Solihull 30.07.2013 070resize2.JPG
Purple Hairstreak - Castle Hills 30.07.2013


Solihull 30.07.2013 075resize2.JPG
Purple Hairstreak - Castle Hills 30.07.2013


Cheers,

Neil.

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby David M » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:30 pm

There are two Purple Hairstreaks that are memorable from 2013. The first was seen at shoulder level at the Alun Valley High Brown site on 3rd August and is the nearest I've ever been to a PH in good condition:

APH5(1).jpg


The second is an awful photo, but to my knowledge it is the first ever image of a Purple Hairstreak taken at the West Williamston Brown Hairstreak site in Pembrokeshire.

There had been rumours of possible quercus after an intense study of the betulae population, but when I took this photo I'd assumed that the latter was the likely subject. I was delighted when I was proved wrong:

1PH.jpg

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby Philzoid » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:45 pm

My favourite shot, or should shot or say only shot of a Purple Hairstreak in 2013 was of the same female Insect Wurzel has posted and not as good a picture to boot. I have to disagree with Wurzel and say my impression was of a poor year for this species.
2013.07.21 IMG_3739 Purple Hairstreak (female), Bentley Wood.jpg

I have always found this one a difficult one to capture on camera despite it being the very numerous at times, due to its basic nature of flying around up in the trees. Occasionally they do come to ground but it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time. Some time ago I remember one year finding one mud-puddling on the gravel floor in the Wyevale garden centre in Ascot. I wasn't able to sex the insect (back then) and it kept taking off when approached but would always return to the gravel. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me just a couple of unruly kids to keep my eye on :roll: :wink: .

I've also seen them nectaring on Bramble flowers in Bookham Commons in 2010 which I remember as being a good year for them in Surrey. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4275&p=35485#p35485

The best moment in relation to photography was in Straits Inclosure in 2011 where this rather moribund but other wise perfect male posed on the ground like his larger cousin the Purple Emperor.
2011.07.10 DSCN3661 Purple Hairstreak male; Straits Inclosure.jpg
Will I ever get another shot like this?
So motionless was he that after everyone had grabbed their opportunity to fire off dozens of shots, he was moved to a safer spot to avoid the risk of him being trodden on. Though we came for his Majesty that little gem stole the show that day :) . All I need now is a shot of a perfect female to match ...could be a long wait
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=5439&p=48376#p48376

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby David M » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:48 pm

Wow! You've posted what is almost the Holy Grail of UK butterflies there, Philzoid - a male Purple Hairstreak in good condition at close quarters!

I salute you.

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby Philzoid » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:19 pm

Thanks David :) . That sighting really made my day, perhaps my best sighting of the year even.

Because of its good condition I suspect it may have emerged from a ground cocoon soon before and wandered onto the path. I mentioned it was somewhat moribund in a way that I've seen in butterflies before when they get cold although it was by no means cold. He would walk no more than a couple of inches at a time and certainly didn't make any attempt to fly :o . :?

There are some fabulous pictures of this hairstreak on the species pages. Interestingly around 70% of them are on oak leaves or other herbage, (presumably low down enough to get the picture, (or are their enthusiasts out there dedicated enough to wait up in a tree :?: :wink: …. Purple Emperor aficionados would do in days gone by)). The remainder are sited on the ground perhaps reflecting the ratio one is likely to chance encounter. My hope now is for an open-winged female on leaves, like the ones in the stunning pictures that occasionally appear on this website.

As Purple hairstreaks are honeydew feeders has anyone ever experimented with using sugar 'bait' to get them down from the treetops :?:

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby David M » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:20 pm

Philzoid wrote:
As Purple hairstreaks are honeydew feeders has anyone ever experimented with using sugar 'bait' to get them down from the treetops :?:


That's an interesting point you make there.

Usually, people are more prone to use bait for the rarer and most elusive species such as Purple Emperor and Black Hairstreak. There are plenty of magnificent images of both those species on here but male Purple Hairstreaks are conspicuous by their virtual absence.

Perhaps because they're actually not that rare people may tend to pay less serious attention to them. As a result, good quality open wing images are thin on the ground.

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby Wurzel » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:46 pm

That is a cracking shot Philzoid I'd forgotten that you had it snaffled away :mrgreen: :D I did say "a bit better" rather than "well" when talking how they've fared this year "better but still bad" would have been more accurate. :(
Interestingly my close up open wing male and female and my close up of a closed wing female are all sitting on Bracken so I might try spraying that with sugar water next year...

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby Maximus » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:13 am

This was the best I could do in the UK in 2013!


P1050033 copy.jpg



However I had a close encounter in the Dordogne in 2012.


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IMG_7632 copy.jpg



IMG_7633 copy.jpg

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby David M » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:35 pm

Don't you just love the orange antennal tips? :D

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Re: Purple Hairstreak - Favourite Photo of 2013

Postby Philzoid » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:28 pm

David M wrote:Don't you just love the orange antennal tips?
And the razor sharp focus :mrgreen: :!: . I Must get my photography sorted out :roll:

Wurzel wrote: did say "a bit better" rather than "well" when talking how they've fared this year "better but still bad" would have been more accurate.
Sorry Wurzel I see your point :oops: I must've been hankering back to 2011 and before :? . I have no Purple Hairstreak pictures taken in 2012 but have the one from Bentley in 2013 so that's a 100% improvement :lol: .


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