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Nine days ago, when I was staying with my friend Jill in East Sussex, we decided to re-enact a walk we had done on 12 May 2017, a wildlife walk led by Michael Blencowe of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, an expert lepidopterist and co-author of The Butterflies of Sussex.

180727 May 2017

May 2017, looking from Hope Bottom on Seaford Head towards the Seven Sisters

On that previous occasion the day was cool, windy and sometimes wet so we didn’t see any butterflies. This time Britain was in the grip of a scorching heatwave so it was almost too hot and dry for butterflies….

180727 July 2018

I didn’t quite match the framing but this is the same view in July 2017

Almost, but not quite. As luck would have it, I managed to spot two more new butterflies this day, and I almost missed the first as it was so tiny. This is the very appropriately named Small blue (Cupido minimus), Britain’s smallest butterfly and one that is becoming increasingly scarce.

180727 Small blue (2)

These lovelies are often found in small colonies, in areas of scrub and grassland near where their food plant grows. I don’t recall seeing any Kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) during our walk through the Seaford Head Local Nature Reserve but, luckily for the Small blue and for me, it must have been there.

180727 Small blue (1)