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.
Click on photo to enlarge