Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus)
Further to the freshly emerged female, discovered at Beeding Cement Works on Friday, 23rd October, a male joined the party on Sunday, 25th - the female still present - much to the pleasure of the gathered crowd. A short distance away, two females, including a rather nice aberrant specimen (pictured above) showing a boldly marked post-median fascia and a strong reduction in the violet colouration typically found around the tonal black spots, were discovered by Neil Hulme near Lancing Railway Station.
Despite the overcast and windy conditions, Monday, 26th produced a freshly emerged male at Newhaven Tidemills. It was still present on the morning of the 27th until the weather warmed and it was lost to the small group of observers - small butterflies and the wind really not making a good combination!
Tuesday, 27th found me heading back to Brighton Racecourse. Having found 82 boeticus ova at this site back in September, I have been keeping a very close eye on this location - and especially as Neil discovered late October specimens during the 2013 season. Due to the constant easterly breeze - how many times have we complained about the wind this year - I found myself heading towards the leeward side of the allotments and it was here that I bumped into a local birder. After the usual pleasantries were exchanged he informed me that he had seen what he believed to be a Long-tailed Blue along the side of the gravel road which runs approximately north-south to the west of the allotments. This area is fortunately sheltered from the wind. The ambient temperature was very pleasant at around 18°C. It wasn’t long before I found a pristine male (pictured above) and probable female within close proximity. Neil and I both believe that the sheltered allotments, rich in leguminous produce, are likely to be playing an equally important role, alongside the open grassland where feral pea plants grow, in attracting boeticus to this area.
So will they appear in November?
I'm not a betting man but watch this space …