Summer has turned to autumn and the habitat where I was photographing Hairstreaks two months ago has something new to offer. Twigs of the old oaks have fallen from the trees. On these twigs one may find a special surprise: Tiny eggs.
The Purple Hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus) is a wonderful butterfly but also a challenging species. It spends almost its entire life high up in the crown of old oaks. It is difficult to see them fly, or catch them with the camera. However, there’s a trick to get a close-up on this creature. When a twig falls down from a tree it may contain a precious egg of the Purple Hairstreak. This may often be the only, or at least the easiest way to obtain a specimen for raising.
Originally I intended to wait until winter, then have a look if a storm would have brought down branches from the old oaks. Nevertheless, one day I realized oaks were dropping twigs at this time of the year. I’m not sure if it’s due to squirrels. I started to browse through these twigs and eventually got lucky.
There is not that much more advice or tips I could give on how to find these tiny, but well recognizable ova. I rather want to focus on posting some guiding photos that show what to search for, and what the habitat look like.
I’ve managed to gather about a dozen eggs. These are waiting now until spring. There will certainly be more to write about once these hatch. For interesting and detailed information about the Purple Hairstreak have a look at http://www.quercus2.co.uk/index.php.
And one last tip: I’ve been able to confirm that even a single-standing oak may be a source of eggs. I was on a walk with our daughter when I spotted an oak (and again, twigs on the ground below). I had a quick look and found an egg almost immediately. While our girl was playing with the leafs, I had a good moment to find some more. So keep your eyes open.