Amourobius ferox

Amourobius ferox
By Peter Byles

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Help needed with Brown Hairstreak photography at West Williamston SSSI

Wanted - good photographs of male Brown Hairstreak butterflies taken at West Williamston – a unique Wildlife Trust Reserve half a mile west of the hamlet.

We are looking for help with photographing and/or recording male Brown Hairstreak butterflies at West Williamston.  For over three years now surveys have been carried out to learn more about behaviour of this stunning little butterfly, and to try and establish where the assembly trees are, and the extent of the population there. 

Females have been regularly photographed with excellent results.  However – photographing males is a completely different story:- results consist mostly of small dots high in trees!   

Males were thought to be on the wing in the earlier weeks of their life cycle, but it is quite possible that they are around just as long as females (12th October was the last sighting at West Williamston last year – possibly a UK record – she was battered but flying among bramble on the foreshore there).  They remain mostly in trees, often Ash, basking on leaves even in weak sunshine or making short flights lower down. Being less obvious and with all the focus on egg-laying females they are definitely under-recorded.

So – if you fancy a visit to somewhere new, or a photographic challenge, please make a visit to West Williamston.  All records would be valuable, including negative data of trees observed with dates and times.
On Bank Holiday Monday seventeen keen enthusiasts from all over South Wales helped survey the whole reserve, and despite poor weather six Brown Hairstreak were photographed with at least a further 3 seen briefly on the wing.  There were, however, no males seen!

Nikki Anderson

For any further information please contact Nikki Anderson on 01646 686469 or via email  and Jean Hambly on 01834 871701 or email

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