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A treasure hunt

Ever wondered what our Directors get up to in their spare time? This weekend saw two of our number out and about on the flood plain on a very special treasure hunt.

The local flood plain is a haven for different species, and new Director Simon had spotted that the mix of tree species at nearby Hogacre Eco-park make it a possible location for one of the UK’s rarer butterflies, the Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae.

A brown hairstreak butterfly

The best way to track down a local colony is to look for eggs on black hawthorn in the winter, when the branches are bare of leaves.

On a very frosty Saturday a group of volunteers met at the park and spent a chilly couple of hours searching for the tiny eggs. Despite the challenge of looking for small white eggs on frost-speckled branches, we had two possible sitings.

Photographic evidence was submitted for verification to Butterfly UK and confirmed.

Our treasure hunt will continue into 2024 as we will be undertaking training so we can help continue to monitor the butterfly species used in the Western Oxford flood plain.

A tiny white egg on a bare blackthorn branch
The egg has a distinctive patterning.

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