Tuesday, 22 July 2014

blues and brown blues Portsdown Hill Compartment 1

I was almost / I was (?) caught out this morning, undertaking the transect in Compartments 1 and 2 when a new butterfly species appeared on the wing.

Expecting small blue (Cupido minimus) - as per the last transect - I watched as a small flashing silver blue / brown butterfly launched an airborne assault on a passing common blue (Polyommatus coridon) - plucky small blue - I thought. And then it landed, and I stalled as the underwing was completely wrong - resembling superficially at best a small female common blue?

Hasty photographs were taken and I consulted Richard Lewington, (2003) "Pocket Guide to the butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland", British Wildlife Publishing.

".. specimens are best confirmed from the underside, where the lack of a spot in the cell of the forewing, near the body, and the almost vertical twin spots on the top edge of the hindwing are conclusive." (Lewington, R. 2003)

I found that the noticeable lack of spot on the forewing was very obvious - but the almost vertical twin spots on the hindwing, were very subjective in the photo given the angle of the wings at rest. Still I was pretty sure that I had now successfully recorded brown argus (Aricia agestis).

A second similar individual was also seen, and small blue were also seen in flight alongside them.

The record was later confirmed when I submitted the photo to scrutiny on the "Butterfly Conservation in Hampshire" FB page.

This record is the 24th butterfly species that I have recorded in Compartments 1 and 2 so far in 2014, and the 25th (possibly 26th) that I have recorded on the whole of the hill this year.

brown argus

small blue

brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

Robin's pincushion gall -  gall on rose spp
produced by Diplolepis rosae
Compartment 2

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