THE HOLLY BLUE. Celastrina (Cyaniris) Argiolus. RICHARD S O U T H , at that time the editor of " T h e Entomologist," drew attention in his classic " T h e Butterflies of the British Isles " (Frederick Warne, 1906) to the fluctuation in numbers of this species from year to year, but did not go so far as to say that, in some parts of the country at least, it seemed to disappear altogcther for several years in succession ; that has been the case here.
I lived in Southtown, Great Yarmouth, from April 1 Ith, 1905, to Nov. 1 Ith, 1908, on which latter date I took up residence at Beccles. Düring the Yarmouth residence the obvious direction for handy countryside exploration was Burgh Castle, and its possibilities were fully investigated ; no trace whatever of Argiolus was ever evident, nor was there any elsewhere in or around Yarmouth. It was, therefore, with considerable delight that during my first spring in Beccles, in 1909, I discovered Argiolus to be strongly entrenched in the town itself; there seemed hardly a garden, from the largest to the smallest, which it did not haunt, and I particularly observed it in Fair Close, Station Road, London Road, and in the Churchyard of the Parish Church. It was in Fair Close, however, that I considered the key was provided to the uncertain nature of the appearance of this species in various parts of the country, for the butterflies were out in numbers füll early—towards the end of March. T h e spell of fair weather which brought them out did not, however, continue ; they were caught in a cool period, and I found them sitting about in roads, on footpaths and doorsteps, benumbed, and offering no resistance to being picked up in the fingers. T h e effect of such a disaster for Argiolus is evident; caught in the cold in this way, it is unable to breed, and in July there are hardly any or no butterflies and in the spring following none likewise ; the butterfly suffers another of its periodic eclipses which may last for years until fresh colonisation takes place from some favoured sheltered spot. As far as the neighbourhood of Beccles is concerned, the headquarters of the species in which possibly always a few butterflies succeed in breeding is in Barsham and it is from there that renewed colonisation would seem to take place. Thus, towards the end of July, 1911, the summer brood was evident in incredible numbers over the low meadows towards Shipmeadow, and the females in particular were of over average size—a sign that the species had Struck an ideal patch for breeding ; but it never happened again in this spot.
THE HOLLY BLUE
T h e butterfly was found to be favouring the Rigbone district of Beccles at the end of July and beginning of August, 1941, but was then unobserved until 1944. Since then it has occurred in the district but in very sparse numbers up to last year when, however, only one example was met with on 16th May, in the town. 58 F a i r Close,
ERNEST T . GOLDSMITH.
T h e butterfly seems well established in the interior (away from the coast) in suitable places in both Norfolk and Suffolk with occasional unexpected appearances. Among other places in which it has been observed over the period 1909 - 1952 are : Cromer, St. Olaves, Worlingham, Kenninghall, Hockwold, Stockton, Ubbeston, Fritton (ovipositing on ling), Tunstall and Halvergate, Stokesby and Runham, Yaxley, Stowmarket and Little Glemham. E.T.G.
MAMMALS WATER SHREW, Neomys fodiens bicolor, Shaw. I trapped the enclosed water shrew in my garden, a hundred yards or more from the nearest stream (Mrs. F. Rivis, Farnham). [Water shrews seem to wander some way from water : this is the second one that Mrs. Rivis has sent me from her garden and I have trapped them in a wood at Gt. Glemham, 5 0 - 100 yards away from the nearest pond. C.] PINE MARTEN, Maries martes, Linn. In July, 1952, in the early evening on a lane between Westhall and Brampton Station I saw an animal which I think must have been a pine marten spring on to the road about 20 yards ahead and cross the road with a squirrel-like jerky motion. It is difficult to be sure of its size, but it was certainly over 2 f e e t ; but nearer 3 feet I should say and the tail at least one-third of its length. T h i s was very bushy, there was some white on its rounded muzzle but for the rest it seemed very dark grey or brown. Its ears were not noticeably pricked u p ' a s with a fox. I wrote to Dr. Harrison Mathews, Director of the Zoological Gardens, who replied : " I think you are correct in dentifying this as a Pine Marten. Your careful