Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A Small Blue in Hertfordshire & Grass Rivulets

Hemel (BMT): Living in Hertfordshire, if I want to see a Small Blue (Cupido minimus) butterfly, I hop over the border into Buckinghamshire (as I did last week). Sites like College Lake and the chalk scrub at Pitstone are perfect and reliable.

Butterfly Transect Survey results for 2014 reveal that 78 Small Blues were recorded at Chiswell Green’s Butterfly World, 1 at Heartwood Forest, near St Albans, and 3 near Pirton. That was it for Hertfordshire! It’s not difficult to imagine then my shock when I found one fluttering along the edge of Dellfield meadow at Westbrook Hay in Hemel Hempstead on Box Moor Trust land yesterday!?! I was very glad I wasn’t alone and had a corroborating witness to reassure me that I wasn’t hallucinating. I’m hoping to have the energy to get out again later this week to see if I can find the all important larval foodplant, Kidney Vetch, somewhere nearby (thanks to a tip-off from Liz Goodyear - Herts Butterfly Society). Yesterday's sighting was my first Small Blue in Hertfordshire and also the 30th species of butterfly recorded on Trust land.

 Small Blue, Hertfordshire
 Grass Rivulet 1
 Grass Rivulet 2

Along with the Small Blue, I also caught up with 2 Grass Rivulet (Perizoma albulata) moths, found at the weekend by another keen local lepidopterist. This is a rarity in the County and I first located the colony at Dellfield meadow last year. It was very encouraging to know that the species is still at home amongst the vast swathes of irresistible Yellow Rattle. A female Small Yellow Underwing (Panemeria tenebrata) moth was ovipositing on Common Mouse-ear. And, a quick check at the NE end of Bovingdon Reach meadow was rewarded with seeing the first flowers on the returning Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera). All in all, a fantastic morning!

1 comment:

  1. Great find! Pirton seems to be a hot spot - thought it was Beds, but is right on the border I think. The name cropped up on a beds list of sightings for a moth I found at ML last week. Amazing to have these in Hemel, great work!

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