I was really keen to see and photograph Silver-studded blues (Plebejus argus) – they’re a rare butterfly in UK with just a few colonies on some specific heathland and coastal sites, mostly in Southern England.
So I got up at the crack of dawn and drove to Iping Common in W Sussex – Iping is beautiful heath that I visited a few times a couple of years ago to watch a winter Great Grey Shrike. I walked for a good hour and was beginning to give up hope when I saw a male on the heather – then dozens of individuals. I was hoping to get a shot of the beautiful underwings, but it was tricky because they all opened their wings at the first sign of any sunshine.
They look a lot like the common blue (Polyommatus icarus) but to my mind they are slightly more strikingly marked. They get their name from the blue “studs” on the outer edge of the hind underwing – unfortunately this isn’t so common in the Sussex colonies. Location is a pretty good clue though.