White Letter Day

9th Jul 2020

White-letter Hairstreak © Nigel Sawyer

Nigel Sawyer sent us this piece a couple of days ago. It all proves that if you keep searching your local patch you never know what you’ll find.

Nigel’s patch being Richmond Park. Here’s what he said “Was going to the Ham Lands near Teddington Lock but instead of going out of Ham Gate I decided on a whim really to investigate the masses of Ragwort and Thistles going up the hill. What a good decision (for once!). Saw lots of new insects and a nice conopid fly (Sicus sp) – note the hooked abdomen that it uses to lay an egg into a bee! Better still and this was a real wow moment for me was to see a Hairstreak on the Ragwort which I convinced myself must be another Purple Hairstreak (now seen several in the Park and on Ham Common which is adjacent to the Park) but there was this niggling doubt due to the orange band being a band and not dots and there being a clear white W marking on the underwing. Looking at the photos it is clearly a White Letter Hairstreak, the first I have ever seen in the UK! Not sure of its status in the Park so need to try to check up on it. Not even sure there are Elm trees (the food plant) around.”

Sicus sp © Nigel Sawyer