Sarah here, I was lucky enough to be the Large Blue warden in 2010 and am now working on the Large Blue project for another summer. I am not only looking at Collard Hill but a number of other sites within the Polden Hills and two sites in the Cotswolds where we carried out an experimental re-introduction in 2010. Collard Hill along with a Somerset Wildlife Trust site were donor sites for this re-introduction.
I was on the hill yesterday (Monday) in the afternoon (I am normally on site every 4 days), I was predominately there to look at the progress on the Wild Thyme across the site. I was expecting to see very little due to the overcast cool conditions and constant drizzle. But as always the Meadow Browns and Small Heaths defy the weather and continue to fly adding a flash of orange and brown to the dull landscape.
As I walked around the site my eye was caught by a flash of blue flying past. Was it? Could it be? I turned on my heels and followed the blue that was moving fast across the hill. It landed and as I got closer YES it was.
I found myself as I always do saying hello and asking how he was! He seemed very happy despite the drizzle, spent a little while basking and then headed up the hill disappearing over the grassy horizon. I continued on my way with a smile on my face, I entered the eastern glade from the bottom of the site and ended up carrying around another stone of weight due to the mud on my shoes. I walked along the bottom of the eastern glade with hope of seeing another Large Blue. It was warm and sheltered and the rain was easing, as I reached half way along I was giving up hope but then suddenly to my right a flash of silvery grey caught my eye. Well hello Large Blue, and how are you?
So despite the poor weather I still got to see a few Large Blues plus Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and flora wise Bee Orchids, Wasp Orchid and Rock rose which is covering the slopes in its full glory. Yellow wort and Common Century are not far from flowering and I discovered a Bee Orchid in the quarry today which was new to me.
Also the Six Spot Burnet moth caterpillars are widely distributed across the site with many now entering in chrysalis on grass stems so soon the hill will have flashes of red and black going across.
So even if the weather is looking overcast there is still a big chance that you will get to see some Large Blues plus a whole array of other species. So please come and visit Lottie on the hill over the next month.