Evening everyone, Christine here after a very quiet day at Collard. I arrived equipped with full waterproofs in anticipation of the forecast rain. The hill was offered an unexpected respite however, as after a morning shower it remained dry until about 2.30pm. Nevertheless it was a very windy and cool day and I saw no butterfly until well after 11am. A rather windswept Cinnabar did pass me first thing this morning, clinging desperately to various grasses and twigs as it blew rather than flew between perches.
The inclement weather meant no transects were walked today, and I saw a grand total of six butterflies, only one of which was a Large Blue. It was found roosting amongst the bramble and nettles of the top ride by the Eastern Glade, along with a Common Blue. Another roosting Common Blue at the bottom of the Eastern Glade and three hardy fluttering Meadow Browns completed my list for the day. The Small Heath was notably absent, and I found I rather missed the ubiquitous flashes of marigold wings as I walked about the site. Few visitors ventured to the hill, but most of them saw the lone Large Blue rooster, and some even braved an hour or so of rain at the end of the day!
I checked the Wasp Orchids today, and counted seven spikes, most in reasonable condition, so do have a quick look if you are visiting Collard soon. One visitor also spotted a spectacularly hairy caterpillar in one of the rides this afternoon, which may belong to the Brown Tail Moth, can anybody confirm this?
The weather for Saturday is predicted to remain unsettled, with some heavy showers, however it looks like the sun might come out on Sunday, for our Large Blue Butterfly Day at Collard. Well, you may say every day is a Large Blue Butterfly Day here, but on Sunday 19th there will be extra rangers on site, all waiting to be helpful and answer questions and hear about your experience of Collard Hill. It should be a great day, made even better in the sun, as it should be around peak numbers for the Large Blue this weekend. We hope to see you there!
In the absence of Large Blue activity today, here are some stunning shots of them during this year’s flight season, this time from Tony Rogers, thanks for sending them in.