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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 floodplain on a special treasure hunt.

The local floodplain is a haven for different species, and new director Simon had spotted that the mix of tree species at nearby Hogacre Common 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 blackthorn in the winter, when the branches are bare of leaves.

On a 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 sightings.

Photographic evidence was submitted for verification to iRecord and confirmed.

Our treasure hunt will continue into 2024 as we will be undertaking training to help monitor the butterfly species in the western Oxford floodplain.

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

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