woodland butterfly is in decline in most of Europe,
including Switzerland, where all these woodland browns were
photographed. It frequents shady woods in June and July, often resting
quite out of the sun in leafy nooks and crannies. When disturbed it
flies a long way and is a difficult insect to photograph, though at
favoured spots - like the sap run in my video - it can be surprsingly
easy to approach. Although
generally regarded as rare it may be widely present in a region and
locally common. I know of three quite distinct and separated colonies
in my corner of Switzerland alone.
A settled butterfly cannot be confused with anything else, whether the
upperside or the underside is seen. In flight, it might be mistaken for
a large wall, with which it often shares habitats. The woodland brown
flies with a rather bouncy, restless motion, often disappearing into
the trees and rarely checking out nectar sources. It appears dark in
flight, unrelieved by richer tones or by the silver grey visible on a
large wall hindwing when it passes close by.
The larval hostplants are tor grass and false brome. The caterpillars
hibernate and the adults fly in a single, rather short generation that
is usually finished by the end of July.