Friday 1st July 2011 - Oversley Wood (Warks)

Today I had what I can only describe as my best butterfly day in a long time.  Myself and TS had popped across the county boundary into Warwickshire to visit Oversley Wood near Alcester.  I visited here just under a year ago as it is one of the few places in the Midlands where Purple Emperor butterflies occur.  In total were recorded 16 species of butterfly on this visit.

A short way along the track from the car park we came across a stunning White-letter Hairstreak that although in pristine condition seemed to have very little energy left.  Also along this section we had our first White Admiral and first Silver Washed Fritillary of the visit.  The target species was Purple Emperor and we managed to see 3 chasing around the tops of the pines along the ridge.  One Purple Emperor kept returning to the same area to perch whilst waiting for a passing female to hijack. This allowed for some good scope views.  At times we were able to see the purple iridescence on the wings when they were blown by the breeze.

Other species recorded on the walk were Purple Hairstreak, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Red Admiral.  The 3 Red Admirals we saw were all crisp individuals and most likely part of the large numbers of migrant Red Admirals that join the overwintering residents this time of year.  Talking of migrants, I also saw my first Silver Y moth of the year.

All in all it was an enjoyable day at an excellent area of woodland.  I'm looking forward to returning there in the future.

White-Letter  Hairstreak

Purple Hairstreak

Small Skipper

Silver-washed Fritillary

Purple Emperor 

Click on photo to enlarge


  1. Wow, the butterfly man. I have never see or been talked about the White-Letter Hairstreak.

  2. Ha...I will have to change the name of my blog this time of year to the Shenstone Lepidopterist during the summer months!

  3. Wow! What a great visit you had Jason, apart from the Skipper I haven't seen any of the ones in the photos, lovely photos they are too!

    I have just looked the place up (I'd never heard of it) and it seems it is only about an hour from me so I will put it on my list :)

  4. Thanks Shy. Its well worth a visit if you get chance over the next few weeks. I cannot recommend this reserve enough!

  5. Fantastic images,love the White-Letter Hairstreak.