Simon and the gang have started counting Brown Hairstreak eggs. The good news is that they have found eggs in new areas away from the Grafton core site. However the egg count in the Orchards adjacent to Grafton Wood showed the lowest count since 2000. This is consistent with our observation of adults seen in the summer being extremely low.
We can only speculate as the reasons:
The orchard management has changed in recent years – July grass cutting which also removes Blackthorn sucker favoured for egg laying. A considerable amount of the hedges have been flailed. The Management of the Blackthorn Block in the orchard is no longer being done.
The other factor is high summer temperatures and lack of rain.
Simon will be checking the eggs in the wood next week – so watch this space.
The weather was perfect today and the last Transect of the year. With the sunshine Brimstone came out of hibernation and for the first time this year we recorded the only Transect Brown Hairstreak of the season. ( Also reports of Clouded Yellows at Grafton today)