Saturday 2nd July – A lovely larva!

Hello everyone, Christine here. Saturday at Collard Hill started off in some very welcome warm sunshine and very little wind, and the first Large Blues appeared at around 10am, around the main track. The morning continued to be fine and the morning transect recorded 4 Large Blues, including my first sighting in the Quarry area for days. We also saw this beautiful crisp Ringlet sunning itself on a thistle.

A fresh morning Ringlet - Christine Tansey July 2011

The fine weather continued through the morning and sightings were most frequent along the main track and Eastern glade areas. Most visitors to the site had success spotting Large Blues, until it clouded over post lunch, when they became much more elusive, the afternoon transect only picking up one individual. Hummingbird Hawkmoth sightings have also continued at Collard with several reports of egg-laying on the miniature yellow forests of Lady’s Bedstraw found in our meadows.

The big excitement of the day was a visit from Sarah Meredith, the Large Blue warden from last year, who managed to spot the first Large Blue caterpillar at Collard this year… And here is it, yes really, looking almost the same as the Thyme, perfectly camouflaged against the flowers.What a beauty! Who will hopefully turn into a adult butterfly, emerging in 2012. With egg counts due to start on Collard soon, we should soon have an estimate of how successful our Blues have been in this rather challenging flight season.

First Large Blue larva of the season! - Christine Tansey July 2011

Sightings tailed off this afternoon, and with some cloudy spells forecast over the next few days, Large Blues are likely to become increasingly infrequently seen at Collard. If you are lucky and happen to visit when the sun is shining then you may still get to see a Large Blue on the hill in 2011! If you can’t make it, make sure you catch Collard and the Cotswolds on Countryfile, tonight on BBC1 at 8pm.

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