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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
White-letter Hairstreak Project 2007-2009
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2010 Archive White-letter Hairstreak news

Up to date news from recorders will be posted here

Archive news from 2010
Archive news from 2009
Archive news from 2008
Archive news from 2007

Progress chart
Progress - 17th March 2010

Wednesday 28th July 2010
Most branch news websites, continue to report sightings including many nectaring. A trip to mid Wales was very damp and unproductive although a new season egg was found on the Welsh/English border (no longer green!)

Monday 19th July 2010
Trentham Staffordshire SJ8539 5pm sunny 10/7/2010 Watched WLH clashing and perched from motorway bridge five seen flying at same time also single WLH spotted in SJ8540 Near Maer Hills Staffordshire SJ7740 4.15pm overcast sunny periods 11/7/2010 visited very old elm spotted single WLH spotted, trees altitude measured at 179m Gavin Woodman

Just an update - I found 3 new colonies of WLH early on the morning of 6 July, in squares ST65 and ST76. At one of the sites the butterflies had descended to nectar on creeping thistle, and could eventually be located amongst much larger numbers of Meadow Browns and Ringlets. They were highly cryptic. I'll see if I can try the ST64 elms this weekend, but the weather forecast does not look favourable. Chris Iles

Monday 12th July 2010
Latest news from up North! Friday JULY 9TH Hindley Cemetery at least 4 adults 10 km square SD 60 Grid Ref SD 627 052 - Ken and Jill.

Thursday 8th July 2010
SJ8231 Hazy sun light winds 10.10am 6/7/10 near Slindon Staffordshire, WLH x9 clashing and perched adults on two Wych Elms SJ7930 after several cloudy hours, sun returned occasional movement near the top, clash with 4 WLH 1pm, very large Wych Elm 6/7/10 Sugnall Staffordshire Gavin Woodman

Monday 5th July 2010
2/7/10 Looked at locations in SJ73 none seen, returned to area near home SJ8128 watched clashing adults and perched individuals. afternoon Clashing pairs watched at Loynton Moss NR 3/7/10 watched adults clashing and perched in SJ9223 they were already active when i arrived at 8.50am lots of activity from 3 -4 individuals upto 3 seen in air together, one regularly perching a few feet about my viewing point, stayed for more than 30 minutes watching activity, in this 30 minutes observed what I think must have been male and female interaction was different to the male spiralling. (will describe when I have more time). And none seen in locations in SJ83. SJ8128 WLH x4 10am 2/7/10 near Eccleshall Staffordshire, SJ7824 WLH x3 3.50pm 2/7/10 Loynton Moss NR Staffordshire, SJ9223 WLH x4 8.50am 3/7/10 Stafford. None SJ83 SJ73 - Gavin Woodman

Just to let you know we had our first White Letter Hsk adult on June 30th at SD 59055 15613 on some recently discovered elms near the Yarrow Bridge in Chorley. Yesterday, Ken visited other elms near there and had 2 adults in flight. He then went to our '' local '' elm and saw 3 more active butterflies mid afternoon - Ken and Jill (in Lancashire)

Thursday 1st July 2010
I have been watching the Wych Elms close to my home since your email. Yesterday after work 30/06 having walked around several different trees and groups of trees with out spotting any movement, stopped again to watch the last tree, sun was out and the wind had dropped, watched two White-letters repeatedly darting around the tree top between periods of inactivity, turned around and spotted a third one in the small ash tree above my head, this activity was in SJ8228 a rural location near Eccleshall Staffordshire at about 5.30pm - Gavin Woodman

Four days spent searching initially in the West Country proved that white-letter were not flying or absent from areas. Continued to watch the Ottery elms but still no sightings, also found nice elm in Exeter which deserves further visits (SX914925 and near university). Then drove across Severn into Wales and checked known sites but nothing flying, found lovely elm at the head of the Neath Canal but it started to rain so carried on driving. Ended up on the Pembrokeshire penisula where the last record in the 100k square of SM was in 1983! Over two days we found 4 new 10km squares and were able to see adults flying around elm in SM90 on the road into Pembroke (last record 1979). Where we couldn't find adults were able to find hatched eggs and a failed/collapsed egg - Liz Goodyear and Andrew Middleton

Tuesday 29th June 2010
Kent news from Alan Cooper is on the Kent branch website Search for White-letter

Saturday 26th June 2010
On the wing yesterday in Somerset - 3 at a site in ST75 where I recorded the butterfly last year - Chris Iles

Thursday 24th June 2010
Ware town (Hertfordshire) elm tree, instant white-letter activity at 8.45am this morning of two individuals clashing. As I was already late for work I didn't stay. On returning past the tree at 6pm despite sunshine no activity was observed in several minutes of watching - Liz Goodyear

16 individual white-letter hairstreaks at the Weald (Essex) this morning - news from Colin Jupp

Wednesday 23rd June 2010
WLH finally on the wing on the NNR at Temple Ewell (Kent). 2 seperate individuals in an hour Weds. early evening. None at all in 1.5 hours on Tues. Have been watching for the past 10 days or so around the general area, also 14/5 visited the Warehorne Elm but far to windy. More of the North Easterlies that have blighted Kent this year! Of note sheltered Wych Elms still around the Temple Ewell area still have some quantity of seed on them.

Success! 2+ White-letter Hairstreak on Horsenden (Middx) this evening 5.15-5.30pm. Saw two cavorting around elms and ash alongside the cycle track/footpath adjacent Horsenden Lane and then another (or one of the same) about 100 yards further down the path towards the farm gate. - Andy Culshaw

White-letter Hairstreak seen at 3 sites in Enfield today, first 3 at Durrants Park, 1 at the elm by the A10 in Edmonton and 2 clashing as we talked to a lady enquiring about what we were looking for in Enfield Town (she also saw them!) - Liz Goodyear and Andrew Middleton

Tuesday 22nd June 2010
News from Barry Prater on the 20th June "Just a quick update following my last email - 2 no White Letter Hairstreaks were seen by me today at 10.30 am flying around the top of the elm tree alongside the inner ring round in Derby. This was one of the few places in South Derbyshire that this species was recorded in 2009 so it is pleasing to note that, notwithstanding the adjoining roadworks,and,despite all the continuing pollution from standing traffic, this rare species survives in a most unlikely habitat. - Ken Orpe"

At last two white-letter hairstreaks over the park elms in Ponders End this evening at 5.35pm - Andrew Middleton

Monday 21st June 2010
Despite regular watches of the local elms in North London and Ware no adults have been recorded. (Plenty of bees though) Please be on alert and report the first sightings as soon as possible after seeing them.

Wednesday 17th March 2010
Due to unfinished 'business' in Wales, we felt we had to revisit parts of Wales so a short trip was planned. Results were that we have at last found white-letter in SN96 where in November we had got as close as 200 metres to the edge of the 10km square. We also revisited SN74 where there was an old record, and despite still having no luck we now know that the River Towy is sprinkled with wych elm along its length from SN73 where we found hatched eggs 1.5km south of the 10km line. A large elm was found in the target but it was far too high was anyone to find eggs but is worthy of a flight period visit this summer. Day 1: We looked at the elm in SH65 where there is a report of white-letter in 2006 but no eggs were found. From SH65 we drove down the valley to Porthmadog and along the coast from Dolgellau to Machynlleth. No eggs were found on the sampled elms. Day 2: We drove from Oswestry through to Machynlleth finding eggs north and west of Newtown, but unable to find anything close to the target of SN89. From SN89 we drove to Machynlleth and then along the coast to Aberystwyth but found little elm and no eggs. In Aberystwyth we found some large elm trees on the road up to the golf course, but again eggs eluded us but these elms must be watched during the flight period although we believe that the butterfly might not be present in this area despite some really high levels of elm in the landscape. Day 3: Involved a drive from Ludlow to Brecon and eggs (including hatched eggs were found along the A439 near Llowes. We then looked at elm in the Brecon area and visited SN74. We now feel that the project can be concluded although summer flight period visits to Wales will without doubt be untaken! There are only three targets with old records outstanding (all before 1995) [SY19 close to Honiton and Ottery St Mary, SN91 in the Brecon Beacons and SN74 Towy Valley] and in all these we have now found white-letter hairstreak within a short distance of the 10km line. This is very frustrating but the two in valleys are high-altitude and restricted access to the river valleys makes finding elm and the butterfly very difficult. We are now satisfied with the results.

Thursday 4th February 2010
Despite the official ending of the project, we couldn't resist checking out the area of the Wash to the east of TF32 (Holbeach) on the 2nd February. An earlier visit in December had found eggs south of Wisbech although we were unsuccessful north of Wisbech and to the west of the target despite some reasonable elm. We started in TF62 and found an elm rich wood close to the old Middleton Towers station, a few small trees in TF63 and then just near the Hospital in Kings Lynn, a small quantity of budded elm trees. The entire landscape had very low levels of elm, which would explain the lack of records from this area. There are large areas of heathland, a large private 'estate' and an the urban landscape of Kings Lynn but we still found eggs on elm were found. To the west of Kings Lynn, it is fenland leading out to the Wash but to our surprise it was quite wooded and the elm levels were remarkably good but this is the landscape of TF32 where we can not find white-letter despite numerous visits! However, in the village of Clenchwarton (TF52), a lovely line of good elm produced an egg! We believe the result was three new 10km squares and one where the last record was 1907! We are still working on the data and hope to have some preliminary results in the next few months.

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