My first ever sighting of a Long-tailed Blue in the UK and it's not a migrant. This one was born and bred in Sussex.
There had been a number of sightings of the Long-tailed Blue earlier in the year. This had led to a strong belief that eggs had been laid and that these would developed to the imago stage by around the end of September.
The caterpillar food plant is the everlasting pea and I had spent a couple of days, at the end of last month, searching locations where the plant grew in the hope of seeing the butterfly. It was warm and conditions were ideal but I saw nothing and had given up hope catching up with them for this year. The last thing I expected, was to see reports of a newly emerged female, in relatively cool conditions, at the end of October.
Still, reports there were, so we made our way up to Shoreham cement works Saturday morning and spent a fruitless couple of hours searching for the butterfly. With no one else turning up to look and with rain coming in we left about eleven o'clock thinking we were wasting our time. Bad mistake, the butterfly appeared just after eleven and gave good views to a few people that arrived just after we left.
Back we went this morning and this time we were in luck. The butterfly had been located in a thick bank of ivy. It was covered in dew and views were restricted but at least I had my record shot.
Fortunately it gradually dried out and as it warmed up and became more active we managed to get some better shots.
and eventually it opened its wings
October has been a quiet month. There have been a lot of good birds reported around the country but most of them seem to be avoiding Sussex. Today made up for all the missed birds, a great sighting and another first for my UK butterfly list.
Even better a fresh male has now been reported at the same site. Looks as though I might be going back there tomorrow.