Rare purple hairstreak butterfly found in Derry wood

Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland encourages public to record sightings

The purple hairstreak butterfly.

The purple hairstreak butterfly.

 

A rare butterfly known as the purple hairstreak has been recorded in the Faughan Valley in Derry.

The valley is managed by conservation charity Woodland Trust Northern Ireland which uses transects to investigate changes in habitats rather than simply estimating the number of organisms within it.

Pam Hardeman, a volunteer with the Trust, found the elusive butterfly and recorded the sighting.

“I was over the moon to find a purple hairstreak. I was actually photographing a speckled wood that had landed close by when it flew in and landed on a bramble leaf,” she said.

“It was quite a breezy but sunny afternoon so perhaps it was sheltering. I found it at the entrance to Killaloo woods right at end of my survey and I was so excited to find it.”

The Woodland Trust aims to provide “havens for wildlife” and protect ancient and create new native woodlands.

The charity said finding the purple hairstreak in the Faughan Valley reinforces “how vital it is to protect our green spaces so that biodiversity continues to thrive”.

Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland are currently encouraging the public to record any sightings of butterflies during the annual Butterfly Count which runs from July 17th to August 9th.

Bronagh Gallagher, site manager for the Faughan Valley said: “The Woodland Trust manages 50 sites across Northern Ireland so there are plenty of outdoor spaces to go and look for wildlife; you can even look for butterflies in your own garden.”