The State of the UK Butterflies Report for 2015 shows that the Green Hairstreak has suffered a 40% decline nationally since 1976. We would like to ascertain the status of this delightful butterfly in the county in 2016 and request your help in recording its whereabouts and highlighting any potential new sites where it could be found. Last year the butterfly was recorded in Charnwood Lodge (Timberwood Hill and Colony reservoir), Warren Hills, Ullesthorpe Stewardship Farm, Bittesby Wood, Ketton Quarry and Asfordby Hill. It was also seen on the Butterfly Transect in Sence Valley. It is hoped that the Green Hairstreak will be seen again at these locations this season, but it is highly probable that the butterfly is present elsewhere in the county.
This is where you come in. On your walks, cycle rides and butterfly treks could you please look out for sites that could potentially host populations of Green Hairstreak. It is a butterfly of various habitats, but look out for its larval food plants which include Bilberry, Gorse, Rockrose, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, and even Dogwood and Buckthorn. The adults can be found nectaring on Thistles and Knapweeds. Any butterfly sightings during the flight period, which is usually throughout May and June, but can be earlier, should be reported either directly to my email address at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Facebook group, Butterflies and Moths of Leicestershire and Rutland, where any photographs you may have can be shared too. The first reported sighting in 2015 was on the 18th of April at Warren Hills (SK45821519), so, depending on weather conditions, we may shortly see our first Green Hairstreak for this year. Results will be collated throughout the summer months and will be reported in the East Midland Butterfly Conservation Autumn Newsletter, and also on these pages.
This will be one of our key projects for 2016 and any information you can provide, however great or small, will be greatly appreciated, will be instrumental in helping to monitor this delightful butterfly and in planning for its future requirements by determining whether any conservation actions are necessary.