Every now and again I remember how annoying technology is. I have just written you all a lovely blog when the website crashed and lost everything I had written. So I will try again.
This morning was definitely warmer than yesterday morning, I started out wearing shorts so it must of been. Anyway to the Large Blue. As I arrived on the hill a few visitors were already on site in the eastern glade awaiting the first signs of the Large Blue. I wandered down the slopes to see if they had had any sightings but no nothing about. I had a check of neighbouring scrub areas, checking for perching Large Blue’s but nothing was to be found apart from a Small Eggar moth caterpillar, lovely to see but not the right thing.
I decided to have a little wander towards the western side of site to gain and idea of what was on the wing over the whole site, as I walked down the main track from our bench I came across a Large Blue perching in the Ragwort, he flew off towards a visitor giving him good views of the Large Blue. As I walked west I encountered visitors arriving with high anticipation and eagerly awaiting their first sighting.
A Large Blue grabbed my attention and as I followed it down the hillside I encountered another Large Blue basking with his wings open. WOW this was turning into a good morning, I was feeling like a magnet for Large Blue’s and that I am really starting to understand the site dynamics. This individual flew and then landed again and then flew up, up and up over the hill. I decided to walk back to the eastern side so I could greet the increasing number of visitors. I encountered another Large Blue at the bottom of the main track, by this point most people were leaving the eastern glade and realised that I had found a Large Blue.
The sight of 4 men running down the track towards me, cameras and binoculars swinging around, made me smile but I also worried for their safety and the respect they might show the butterfly. But all was well, the butterfly stayed still and they got a good view through binoculars. This individual was photogenic and happy to please, as it flew and landed a few metres away opening his wings and staying like that for all to get photos.
I left them to it, heading back to the eastern glade knowing that they would get good sightings of a few individuals, as I entered the eastern glade 3 or 4 individuals were on the wing. They had warmed up so were only landing and perching for a few seconds and then on the wing again. All visitors were getting good sightings of Large Blue’s though, seeing the darker appearance of the butterfly compared with the Common Blue.
The day continued well until around 1.30pm when the cloud started the develop and cover the sun, so the weather forecast was right. NOT GOOD. By 2.30 the blue sky had vanished and by the 3pm the clouds had turned from white to black. I knew deep down that that was it for the day, by 4pm the rain arrived and stayed!!!
On site today we think there are around 15 individuals on the wing, and with the weather staying fine (after the rain this evening)through the coming week numbers will continue to increase. The more I see the Large Blue the more I feel the privilege I have working at Collard Hill.