Sunday 31 August 2014

Week 32, Brown Argus Extra: Who's Who!

Spurred on by the calm sunny conditions this morning, I thought I’d have another go at assessing the size of the Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) colony at Bovingdon Brickworks. It’s been something of a painstaking task but also surprisingly satisfying, especially given the results.

OK, so we have the original 6 specimens from Thursday. For ease of identifying the individuals, I've named them after their damage/appearance as best I could. The gender pronouns are randomly chosen rather than indicative of the butterflies sex.

    1. Mr Perfect
    2. Right Nick
    3. Left Dink

    4. Mr Not Bad
    5. Double Damage
    6. Rear Right

And, today, I added a further 7 specimens to the count, producing a total of at least 13 individuals* on site. I only re-photographed (if that’s even a word!?) one of Thursday’s specimens today.

    7. Rear Left
    8. Ms Subtle
    9. Left Nick

   10. Right Little Dinks
    11. Worn
    12. Big Notch

    13. Worn Too

To put this total of 13+ into perspective, in 2013, the total number of Brown Argus recorded at other monitored sites nearby (excluding Aldbury Nowers, Tring, which is a Brown Argus stronghold) were as follows:


Tring Park, Tring
Miswell Lane, Tring
Lakeside Nature Reserve, Finchley
Heartwood Forrest, St Albans
Stocker’s Lake, Rickmansworth
Sherrards Park Wood, Welwyn Garden City      
Roughdown Common, Hemel Hempstead
Shrubhill Common, Hemel Hempstead
Harpenden Common, Harpenden  

There are more in the one small area at Bovingdon Brickworks than at all 9 sites combined last year! Moreover, it's a species which occurs in small, compact colonies and is "not a great wanderer, only travelling a couple of hundred metres, at most, from where it emerged.” It'll be great to see how this colony develops next year.

I will try to prise myself away from Brown Argus counting next week, I promise!

*NOTE 05 Sept 2014: I found a 14th individual on the 2 Sept 2014.

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