23rd and 24th June- A weekend of more sunshine than usual plus a few confused Large Blues.

Evening all, Lottie here.

I am going to wrap up the weekend a bit.

So yesterday, a Large blue was not only seen attempting to lay eggs on self heal but also drinking nectar from a pink pyramidal orchid. Therefore, they are either utilising the other purplish plants nearby or being very confused I assume. Now that much of the grass around the Wild thyme has been pulled (thanks all you took part in that activity), they should be finding it ok to lay eggs on.

A seemingly confused Large Blue feeding on a Pink pyramidal orchid. (Taken by Charlotte Faulkner 2012)

Today was indeed a glorious day for butterflies as the sun was shining from roughly 11am onwards. Thankfully this meant that the muddy paths were dry by this afternoon although I did increase by about 1cm in height from mud on my shoes this morning on my way down the Eastern glade!

Throughout the weekend, I saw around 4 very tatty individuals, more brown than blue. This may be because they emerged earlier in the week and are now nearing the end of their lives, having completed a successful lifecycle I hope. In the “Quarry” area, a mating pair of Large blues actually flew together up the slope very briefly which was amazing to see. I also saw a female egg laying in the Eastern glade. These and some others were not too tatty in appearance so chances are that more emerged today and the season will elongate for a few weeks yet. Certainly today Hayley and I counted 14 on the afternoon survey.

Yesterday, a visitor wrote that there was a cream spot tiger moth on site which I did not see unfortunately. Today, a large dragonfly (unsure of the species) and lots of Marbled whites were flying out in the open. The Meadow browns appear to still be going strong but the Small heaths appear to be reducing in number, but 6-spot burnet adult moths are out now and some cinnabar moth caterpillars.

Adult 6 spot burnet moth (Taken by Charlotte Faulkner 2012)

Cinnaber moth caterpillars on ragwort (Taken by Charlotte Faulkner 2012)

Although I shall be on site briefly tomorrow to give a talk to some students from Strode College, I shall be away for most of the next two days on my time off. I intend to return to Shapwick heath as I have been going there to see barn owls, marsh harriers, bitterns amongst others in the last few weeks. I am not sure if I will see the great white egrets again but I did see them a few weeks back so not to worry. The only bird news at Collard today were the resounding calls of the Long tailed tits. The swallows and swifts were a little less numerous at Collard today but no doubt this is because the stormy skies are a bit clearer for a change!


2 thoughts on “23rd and 24th June- A weekend of more sunshine than usual plus a few confused Large Blues.

  1. I like the comments about the various birds seen at Shapwick Heath and it would be good if this encourages visitors to include this in their itinery and expand their interests.

    • Thats good to hear. In that case you may be interested to hear that today I also saw Great White Egrets at Shapwick heath and a Scarlet Tiger Moth (my first seen since being inundated by them during my 2nd year revision period at university in 2011, in Reading).

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