Evening all, Christine here, reporting back after the great, annual Large Blue Butterfly Day at Collard Hill. From an inauspicious start it turned out to be a good afternoon, and all the ranger team were on site to meet and greet over 100 visitors who made it to Collard. The morning brought some cloud and heavy showers, but considerably less wind than the last couple of days. Consequently it was a slow start to Large Blue sightings, with a handful of reports from visitors of Large Blues near the entrance gate and across some of the upper slopes. It was great to see so many people on site, and we all enjoyed chatting with visitors throughout the day. The Wasp orchids are still looking good and continued to receive many visits today, do go and see them when you come to Collard!
The showers this morning meant no transect was walked, but they dissipated after lunch and the site started to warm up. We continued to get reports of Large Blues seen across the site, a handful in the Eastern glade, several off and above the main track and the star of the show today; dozens in the Quarry. We walked the transect amongst some sunny spells, and saw 5 Large Blues as we reached the Quarry and the sun came out. One individual very happily perched with open wings after the cool morning gave way to warmth.
Throughout the afternoon the Quarry continued to offer the best Blue views, with visitors reporting up to 20 sightings in the area; including ovipositing females and mating pairs. On a late afternoon walk about 5pm above the main Quarry area and along ‘Butterfly alley’ I saw at least four Blues, and they likely continued to be active in the evening sun. We expect to Large Blue numbers to be around their peak over the next few days, and there is plenty of activity during the sunny spells of this changeable weather. It looks set to continue this week, and we look forward to seeing you on site with a waterproof and suncream, as you may need both!