Early Hairstreak is among the Maritimes’ rarest butterfly species. Larvae of Early Hairstreak feed on the nuts of American Beech, and as a result the species is only found in hardwood stands with mature beech trees. Within these habitats Early Hairstreak is seldom encountered, though it is possible that adults spend most of their time in the forest canopy, resulting in very low levels of detection. Though it has been found in the past at sites in all three Maritimes provinces, the species hadn’t been found in during the Atlas period until now.
On June 8, Roy LaPointe photographed the above butterfly just north of Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, near Edmundston. Early Hairstreak typically flies mid May to mid June, though with this year’s delayed season it might be on the wing until late June. If you can get into some mature hardwoods with beech keep your eyes peeled! When it is encountered it is typically at wet patches on roads (this is where Roy found his) or visiting flowers.
Now that Early Hairstreak has been found the only regularly occurring species not recorded during the Atlas period is Greenish Blue. In the past this species has been fairly common in northern New Brunswick on roadsides and other weedy habitats with lots of clovers. It should be flying now or very soon, so be sure to double check your blues and azures.