Hi nature enthusiasts,
Today the Large Blue sightings continued in good numbers with an impressive 29 sightings! There were a variety of moths some which looked to have weathered storm while other newly emerged specimens! It looks like when the sun came out last night the Large Blues were busy as there was a large number of egg laying females this morning!
Here are some of the Large Blues I captured today!
This Large Blue has weathered the storm!
Look how deep that blue is!
I was treated to a bonanza of butterflies today!
The first Gatekeepers of the season emerged today favoring the brambles!
I was treated to both Large and Small Skippers!
There were numerous Large Whites out today also! Truly Large in comparison to the Large Blue!
Ringlets, Small Tortoiseshells, Painted Ladies, Small Heaths, Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns! Slowly more and more butterflies are being added into the mix!
I finally managed to grab a picture of the pesky Green Woodpecker- a productive day!
I also have some more moths ready for I.D if anyone would like to message in suggestions!
Come to Collard to enjoy the Large Blues continuing progress!
Although the skies decided to open its doors right across Collard there were still 2 sightings of the Large Blue in the breaks of the pouring rain. The coming forecast looks promising for all the Large Blues that roosted away today from the grizzly weather! After a day in the rain it is now bright with clear blue skies so I expect the Large Blues will be drying their wings ready for us tomorrow!
I enjoyed my time inside the clouds of Collard
Here are some of the fantastic Large Blues captured by some of visitors in the past few days!
This visitor captured an extremely impressive shot of one of the Hummingbird Hawk Moths!
I had glimpses of the Marbled Whites and the Meadow Browns, the hardier ones briefly putting in appearances today!
Marbled White and the famous Thyme
Hope to see you all to enjoy the 2015 Large Blue season
The Large Blues make it into July! Today I had a rather successful 22 sightings including more egg laying and more mating. More emergent Large Blues were brought out by this phenomenal heat wave so we can expect sightings to continue over the next few days at least! These sightings took place even though it has been over cast all day with some intervals of rain so don’t let the clouds put you off! There is still a chance for the Large Blue to greet you in 2015.
This Large Blue was caught in the act minutes before!
I was also treated to a Comma today from the second brood, obviously enjoying the heat wave! They were once rare in the UK but now they are on the rise again!
A Ringlet absorbing the heat this morning on the brambles!
The Small Heaths continue to flit close to the ground!
There is still a chance to enjoy the Pyramidal orchid and the wonderful view of Somerset!
I also came across this Common Red Solider Beetle enjoying its acrobats on this grass stem!
Common Red Solider Beetle
This Cinnabar moth caterpillar continues to munch on the Ragwort, it’s really gone to town on this particular plant!
Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar
Hope to see you all in the next few days! If I do get the pleasure of meeting you in the coming days make sure you come armed with plenty of water and sun cream!
As promised here is a video filmed by one of our visitors of a female egg laying! Enjoy!
Here is a photo by another of our visitors of an egg laying female… We can be glad to see the next generation is upon the slopes!
There have been numerous sightings of Emperor Dragonflies right across Collard, their size and colour never cease to be impressive!
This photo of an underside of a Red Admiral I thought was a truly impressive shot by Rupert our visitor. This one of the Largest of the British species and although not as vivid on the underside is still leaves a stunning impression, they often land with their winds wide open!
One of our kind readers, wrote in and we believe the left is a Ghost Moth and most likely female due to its yellowness marked with orange while the males are white!
The right seems to be a very interesting find of a Mecyna Flavalis, a micro moth species that is quite rare in the UK, but it does favor chalky downland and grassland slopes so fits with Collards environment but is usually found on the South Coast, and in South Wales! They have been found away from the coast indicating smaller colonies inland so we could well have one here… do write in if you think any differently!
Hope to see you soon
The sun came out and so did the Large Blues and wonderful Visitors! As well as a selection of others of Collards treats and a record of the season of 38 Large Blue recordings on and on off transect! There were multiple mating pairs, and a lot of egg laying females! With the current weather forecast it looks like a promising week ahead!
I am currently working on how to upload a video onto the blog captured by one of visitors of an egg laying female! You will notice the abdomen curving round into the thyme. They will lay their eggs on the thyme before it has flowered as you will see in the video. This is to ensure there is enough of the stamen and sepal of the thyme flower to sustain the larvae until it’s time to drop down in the fourth instar ready for Myrmica sabuleti to come and pick them up! So look out for this kind of activity on your visit! Hopefully the video will be up soon!
Here is why a Woolly Thistle is Woolly…
Woolly Thistle – this is why!
Another Six Spotted Burnet Moth, there are caterpillars and pupae on site so you can see them at all staged!
6 Spotted Burnet Moth
A Small Tortoiseshell showing off its true beauty and a Marbled White on a Field Scabious. Just for fun let’s just enjoy the Marbled White and Small Tortoiseshell hanging out together!
Marbled White on Field Scabious
Nectaring in Harmony
I captured this little rabbit also, you see their little cotton tails running across the meadows!
Peter making a dash for the bush!
Here is a couple of moths that I could do with a hand in identifying 100 points for both!
See you soon
Hope you are all having a lovely Friday night!
This morning there were 14 sightings of Large Blues while the wind was blowing and the Collard was covered by clouds, but breaks in the clouds allowed for the blues to break out in activity! A bit of bad weather won’t stop the innate need to mate within the males! Late afternoon Collard received a much needed watering! Here is a couple of images capturing the clouds setting in! The weather on Collard can change so quickly, and even in over cast conditions the Large Blues continue their daily lives!
This is a Large Blue I found this morning defying the odds – out in the rain, on a yellow flower!
Large Blue defying the odds!
When identifying to differentiate it from a Common Blue, is looking at the colour of the plant it lands on. Common Blues favour yellow plants such as Birds Foot Trefoil, whereas you are likely to see a Large Blue on pink, purple and blue plants. Necataring or laying on Thyme or nectaring on plants like the Common Centaury or Selfheal.
This Small Skipper seems to be favoring Self-heal as they continue to thrive upon Collard!
Small Skipper on Selfheal
Other butterfly treats is the first 2 ringlets I have seen upon Collard as well as another Small Tortoiseshell sighting.
Small Tortoiseshell and you can see how much the rain is needed!
I was lucky enough to come across a Common Darter.
One must see on Collard is the nationally scarce Woolly Thistle, it is another limestone species and equally a great attraction not only for people but for the insects of Collard!
The famous Woolly Thistle
You can see here in Geoff Eatons photo the female Marbled White I spoke of yesterday as she trying to balloon her wings before this young man had his wicked way!
Evening Large Blue enthusiasts!
Today upon Collard the sun was shining and the blues were out! I was surprised today to have 29 sightings!! The majority of the Large Blues were seen in the shrubbery areas above the main track in the middle of the site. There were 3 sightings on the Eastern Glade and 3 within the Quarry, highlighting the middle ground area as the place to be!
It has to be admired!
Small Skipper sightings continue. Meadow Brown airspace is still off limits for other butterflies, if an unsuspecting Large Blue flies to close to a Meadow Brown it will be soon seen off their property!
The Marble Whites continue to flutter around! A few visitors experienced 2 males pounce on a newly emerged female still trying to balloon her wings, seems she was just too irresistible!
Success at last !
A little botanical treat, the Lesser Centaury seems to be thriving upon Collard, this is a calcareous grassland species!
I thought some of you may be interested to see Myrmica sabuleti, the Large Blues underground host! This little guy wanted to enter my clipboard!
Here is a little treat to share with you from Matthew Oates, this was captured when he visited Collard last week. Matthew was lucky enough to see a Hummingbird Hawk Moth lay an egg and here is the wonderful egg!
Hummingbird egg Collard 19.6.15 – Matthew Oates
Here is the perfect selection of Large Blue shots captured by one of Collards Visitors!
Let me give you another reason to visit Collard…. this view…
See you soon
Today 24 Large Blues were sited upon Collard, a variety of sightings from egg laying females, to rather battered males. The tables have turned on site, with the majority of sightings occurring on the Eastern Glade and along the main track in comparison to the previous trends in the Quarry. The weather looks similar tomorrow so we can hope for some more successful sightings!
My one true
The Marbled Whites did the dance of love against a fantastic back drop captured by one of the fantastic National Trust Volunteers Mike.
Mike Hinde – Marbled Whites
Something rather different I came across on Collard alongside a fantastic volunteer Julien was a, Rose bedeguar gall! This is caused by a small gall wasp larvae, the female wasp usually lays it on a rose shoot and the plant reaction is to produce this gall!
Rose bedeguar gall
Another interesting find is this Restharrow, this is a limestone grassland species of a creeping plant and the very first flowers have begun to flower on Collard. It belongs to the pea family.
Here is a Meadow Brown nectaring on some Thyme.
Meadow Brown nectaring
This is a rather hungry 6 Spotted Burnet Moth caterpillar smiling for the camera.
6 Spotted Burnet Moth caterpillar
Visitor images, who knew the beauty of the Large Blue could be captured in so many different ways!
Hope to see you soon
Although the morning began cloudy and rather windy, Large Blues were still found on the wings of Collard. Those of you who came I hope you had a wonderful day and enjoyed the National Trust North Somerset team out in force also with our wonderful volunteers! I would like to thank David Simcox and Sarah Meredith for their time on Collard! Also special thanks to Will again who many of you will have seen today at my side and best of luck to you!
The majority of the sightings occurred this afternoon as the blue skies drew in and engulfed Collard in warmth allowing the flight of the Large Blues. Sightings shot from 6 this morning to 21 this afternoon! The sun can truly work wonders! The Quarry was again full of activity as well as the Eastern Glade as the winds began to drop! I hope just as much success occurred over at Green Down.
This one had been attacked on one side, but must have narrowly escaped the mouth of a bird.
Stunned in the wind.
A rather battered male clinging on
Check out some more of the visitor photos from the past few days!
The first sightings of the Small Skippers this season have now appeared on Collard in the Quarry- a honeypot for the butterflies it seems!
The Marbled Whites continue to fly with sightings also of the Common Blue, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and once again a Painted Lady!
Marbled White under wing!
Just a quick warning on the Orchids, the Bee and the Wasp Orchids are about to go over so if you would like to see them in all their glory head down quick!
Collards delights never end!
Here’s to my 13th blog post, unlucky for some, but not here on Collard! Today with 27 sightings you can call that a successful day, even under the cloudy conditions the Large Blues prevail on the sheltered areas of the site!
Come see me tomorrow for the open day!
Woolly Thistle with a lovely adition
Look out for the flags tomorrow on top of Collard, this is where we shall be based! There will an opportunity for foot-painting for the kids! Myself will be onsite alongside the the North Somerset National Trust Ranger team as well as David Simcox and Sarah Meredith sharing their fantastic expertise with us!
Those of you who visit will get to see this spectacular view….
There are a number of visitor photos that are a must see, any I don’t put on today that have been sent in will be up in the coming days!
Other butterfly goodies I managed to capture today include, a basking Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral. As well as all this a Dark Green Fritillary flew overhead as well as still the Marbled Whites, fluttering… away from my camera!
A male Flower beetle caught my eye today…
I was also treated to a group of Cinnabar Moths feeding on Ragwort leaves.
Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar
Does anyone want to help me identify this damselfly….
Help with I.D please…
Hope to see you all tomorrow