Wednesday 29th June – Moth visitations

Hi all, Christine here. It was an enjoyable day at Collard Hill yesterday, starting off in sunshine but with a cool breeze blowing. I arrived on the hill to find a few visitors already Large Blue hunting, and my usual morning spot at the bottom of the Eastern glade failed to turn up any butterflies. A further wander above the main track came across two Blues, one tatty and one fresh individual. This is typical of the sightings visitors can expect now; as the season progresses, more older butterflies, with wings in varying degrees of shabbiness will be seen.

First Blue of the transect - Christine Tansey June 2011

Visitors continued to have sightings of Large Blues throughout the morning, mainly in the Eastern Glade and vicinity of the main track. Both transects only picked up 2 Large Blues today, reflecting the cooler conditions and fewer butterflies on the wing. On the morning transect I finally managed a picture of a Marbled White nectaring on Scabious, we also got a sighting of a lovely Silver Y moth, disturbed in grass near the Wasp Orchids.

The afternoon transect also recorded an interesting visitor to Collard, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth flying through the lower of the two rides by the Eastern glade. The afternoon had clouded over by lunchtime, and Large Blue activity declined somewhat. More butterflies started to appear after the transect, but today barely any sightings were reported from the Quarry, instead being focussed on the Eastern end of the site. My final sightings of the day were on the main track, where a nice male opened his wings in a spot of sunshine around 5pm, after which myself and a visitor watched a female oviposit on some Thyme next to the track.

Marbled White nectaring on Scabious - Christine Tansey June 2011

My fellow volunteer ranger Chris and I enjoyed chatting with visitors this afternoon, and were very pleased to point several people who had not seen Large Blues at Collard hill on previous visits towards areas where they had successful sightings. Numbers flying are decreasing and sightings are becoming a little more infrequent at Collard, so getting a good view of a Large Blue may require a little more patience over the coming week.

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