Over the last 10 weeks or so the hunt has been on for Long-tailed Blues. Although I have been out of action for the last 4 weeks due to the bad back my fellow hunters, Neil, James and Mark have continued the hunt with countless hours spent in the field with very little success. This followed excellent early signs with several migrant butterflies and many eggs found in various sites. With it now being late October it was very much looking like the weather had killed the early stages off and we were going to be disappointed. However, on Friday Neil found his 3rd newly emerged Long-tailed Blue of the year, this one a female at Beeding. The weather was cool for the next couple of days and the butterfly hardly moved. I was eventually tempted to go over today with James as better weather was forecast. On arrival there was already several people looking at the butterfly and we all took a few pictures of her. Eventually the sun heated her up and she opened her wings to warm up before she flew high into the bushes. Shortly after this James and I decided to call it a day, especially as there were now more people arriving.
Female Long-tailed Blue with dew drops.
Female Long-tailed Blue.
We had just about made it back to Lewes when James received a message to say that a newly emerged male had been found at the site. James was really keen to see a fresh male so at the next roundabout, the Kingston roundabout, we turned round and headed back. Mark Johnson, who came down from Lincolnshire for the butterfly, had found the male on the pea plant whilst walking back to his car. With the sun now shining it was very soon before the wings opened to show the beautiful blue colours and after warming up he flew up into a bush and landed on some Wild Clematis. A terrific specimen and well worth returning to Beeding to see it. I later heard that Neil had found another 2 butterflies at another West Sussex site. Great to get back out after 4 weeks of being stuck at home and also good to see that the season still has some delights for us, despite it being only 2 months to Christmas!!
Male Long-tailed Blue.
Male Long-tailed Blue on Wild Clematis.