Yesterday I was away from the hill having a rest and avoiding the Glastonbury festival traffic, walking was the best option if I wanted to go out. Today saw me back on hill with the butterflies and when I arrived I looked at yesterday’s transect data which showed that numbers were still good which was pleasing.
Overnight and first thing this morning Collard Hill saw something that it hasn’t seen for a good 10 days!! RAIN, I have forgotten how greasy and slippery the slopes become with rain, flailing arms and bodies sliding around the hill side could be seen from early on, and that was just me!! When I arrived on site, two visitors were already on the eastern slope, I found out that they had been on site since 5am and at 9,15am they still hadn’t seen any sign of a Large Blue. Marbled White’s were on the wing, but with heavy cloud and rain looking imminent I was not that hopeful of finding any Large Blue’s for a while, I checked on the western slope around the gorse bushes and I flushed out 3 individuals. I trotted off to tell the visitors that their best chance was there, they duly followed and we soon found a couple of Large Blue’s again.
After a good shower of rain the sun started to emerge around 11.15am, I decided to walk the transect to see what was happening across the site and recorded good numbers (13) considering the weather. By the time I finished my walk I was wishing I had packed my shorts it was very humid and hot once again. Time to find the sun cream and water.
It is amazing how a tiny bit of sun can suddenly cause a mass emergence of butterflies, that you couldn’t find 10 minutes before. 43 Marbled White’s were recorded on the transect, I think that is the most this year so far, they are not as affected by the dull weather as Large Blue’s are.
The Large Blue’s continued to fly well during the breaks of sun and egg laying females could be found although even they were moving around quickly taking advantage of the breaks in the weather, at one point we had one female being chased around a nettle patch by 2 Large Blue’s and a Meadow Brown. The afternoon, from around 2.30pm, slowed down with individuals being found if you walked searching the slopes, checking the Wild Thyme patches was a good ploy.
The site is still feeling alive not only with butterflies but floristically as well, the Field Scabious are looking great, the Clustered Bell flowers are still fresh and there are lovely big patches of pink Wild Thyme dotted around, along with a good showing of yellow in the form of Rock Rose, Hawkweeds, Hawkbits and Bird’s Foot Trefoil.
So when you visit Collard Hill there are many delights for you to see, I hope to greet you in the near future.