Sometimes, we can all be forgiven for focusing on the birds at Otmoor, however, the site is important for a number of other things aswell...

Here on Otmoor we are lucky enough to have one of Britain's rarest butterflies in resident, the Black hairstreak.

Black hairstreak © Peter Barker

This tiny butterfly, only recently discovered as a separate species in 1828 (recent in entomological terms!) is mainly confined to a strip of clay soils that run roughly from Oxfordshire and North East into Cambridgeshire so we really are lucky that they thrive on our site.

The Black hairstreak only has one generation of adults and they have such a small flight period, sometimes lasting only a couple of weeks from around the middle of June to the start of July so you have to plan ahead if you want to catch a glimpse of these fantastic butterflies. However, they are on the wing now!

On Otmoor, their main food source for the adults is Honeydew and Bramble while the foodplant of the larvae is Blackthorn, something there is no shortage of here!

These butterflies are very difficult to pick up in flight as they tend to stay high up at the tops of hedgerows, flitting around quite erratically and don't seem to settle for long periods so if you want to increase your chance of seeing them, focus on the roman road that runs up the East side of Moorleys and the path that runs just from the outside of the car park that heads West along the back of Closes. If you aren't familiar with Otmoor, check out our trail map, here, or pick one up in the car park. Look out for large Blackthorns down these tracks on a warm sunny day and you should be rewarded, but be quick, their flight period is fast diminishing. Good luck!

Black hairstreak © Peter Barker

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