Saturday 25th June – Blues and burnt noses

Evening everyone, Christine here, feeling a little windburnt after a great afternoon at Collard. Today started with heavy cloud that meant a quiet morning on the hill. I had a wander along the scrub above the main track, which was again being blown about by a strong breeze and didn’t spot any Large Blues. When I tried the Eastern Glade, it lived up to its recent reputation for morning sightings. I saw three individuals fluttering about the long grass in the overcast conditions about 10.15am.

A Blue wakes up in the Eastern glade - Christine Tansey June 2011

By 11ish the cloud had turned to some light but persistent rain and I was unable to complete a transect. Sunny spells started to appear around lunchtime, and another visit down the Eastern glade saw 4-5 sightings for myself and several visitors. After a spot of lunch, it had really warmed up and we saw 8 individuals on the transect, five in the Eastern glade and none in the Quarry! This was rather unusual and it may be because I failed to hum my usual refrain from the Beatles ‘Don’t let me down’ as I arrived, or we could have just hit a quiet spot.

A very flighty Large Blue - Christine Tansey June 2011

By mid afternoon the sun had really come out and was very warm. Flashes of blue were being seen across the site, and towards the end of the day the wind dropped somewhat and there was greater activity on the upper slopes, with four or five sightings of some speedy individuals on areas above the Quarry. I had upwards of 20 sightings today, and visitors were very successful in getting views of the Blues. Several commented on seeing some fairly tatty individuals, and there are certainly quite a range about, from battered to beautiful.

Tomorrow is forecast to be a great day, and hopefully will give us a better idea of how many Large Blues are still around at Collard. The next few days could be the best time to come and do some spotting, before all the butterflies start looking a bit tired. The Wasp orchids are certainly fading as June progresses, but the flowers of the slopes are looking lovely. Keep an eye out for Field and Small Scabious’ lilac heads, which are starting to wave in the wind. Do remember to bring plenty of water and suncream if you’re heading to Collard in the fine weather, as it is rather exposed up on the hill.

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