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
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!