Sunday 26th June – Sun and speedy butterflies

Hello all, Christine here after a busy and very warm day up at Collard yesterday. The sun brought out Large Blues that zipped around the site amongst the many visitors. In fact it was such a busy day, and the butterflies were so active I didn’t manage to get a single picture of a Large Blue today! By the time we arrived at 9am, the sun was already very warm, the wind light, and more butterflies than I’d seen in ages were flying across Collard’s slopes. My first Large Blues of the day were three or four individuals flitting around the bottom of the Eastern Glade before ten. Meeting visitors this morning who had been on site for some time, they had seen Large Blue activity across the hill, including the higher slopes in the early morning.

Scouring the Eastern Glade for Large Blues

By the morning transect, the wind had picked up somewhat and of the 11 Large Blues recorded, only 2 were on the upper slopes. The Eastern glade, main track and Quarry continued to get more sightings, with a mating pair perched on some self-heal in the Quarry. It continued to get hotter for the middle of the day and as a Buzzard wheeled overhead we retreated to a spot of shade.

Large Blue activity did seem to fall somewhat for their post lunch siesta, and we recorded seven individuals, with three in the Eastern glade on the afternoon transect. Other butterfly activity continued, with Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns flying even in the more windy areas. The number of Ringlets is increasing and they are looking very crisp at the moment, several Painted Ladies were also spotted today. It certainly was a day for very speedy Blue sightings, as in the warm weather they did not settle much, and open wing views were nigh impossible to come by!

Marbled White at Collard - Christine Tansey June 2011

Despite the very hot afternoon, visitors continued to have success seeing the Blues, as they flew up to the top of the Eastern Glade and along the main track. On my final wander along to the Quarry, four or five were still flying around, and visitors were just starting to disappear when I left at 7pm. Throughout the day I had upwards of 30 sightings. Nevertheless, given the great conditions, the numbers we recorded do indicate that Large Blue peak flight was probably reached some time last week. We expect numbers to tail off during the coming week, so do visit soon to ensure the best chance of a sighting. Updates can also be found on the Large Blue hotline: 07824 820193.

Mouse-ear Hawkweed and friend - Christine Tansey June 2011


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