Daneway Banks, Gloucestershire Cotswolds
A conservation success story! Extinct in the UK since the 1970s, and on this particular site since the 1950s (over-collecting, and misunderstood habitat requirements – grass of the right length to promote both the food-plant and the ant-species whose grubs it also feeds on as an overwintering larva), a reintroduction programme has borne considerable fruit and several good-sized colonies of this beautiful Lycaenid now thrive.
This is still one of the UK’s rarest butterflies, and one of the most beautiful. Luckily I live just over an hour’s drive from one of the colonies, so I had to get out there the other week to search for them – happily a handful of individuals were seen. I’m still looking to get a top-side view, but side-on they’re not half bad.
(steep banks and flightiness put paid to very much successful tripod work)
The blog for the most well-known site for this species, at Collard Hill in Somerset, can be seen here. The flight-season is still ongoing – if you have an opportunity, they’re well worth a day out.