Our new Large Blue ranger!

Hi everyone!

So, I’m Jono and this is just a little post to introduce myself and let you know what I’ve been up to. I’ll try to keep it brief and not too boring! I’ve spent the last 3 years working towards my bachelor’s degree in ‘Countryside Conservation’ from Aberystwyth University, which was a healthy mix of pure ecology and practical land management. I really enjoyed my study but the really important thing is that it’s led me to where I am right now – working with a fantastic organization to conserve a fascinating species. I absolutely could not be more excited to be here.

To those of you who don’t know, the role of the Large Blue ranger comprises of three main parts; monitoring the site and its populations, meeting & talking with visitors, and communicating what’s going on at Collard Hill through this blog! I’ll be the friendly face there to answer any questions you have about the site at all, to give you advice on where to see the best specimens, or anything else at all!

I was around the hill today, but the weather has continued to prove dreary the past few days. Although there’s little to see in the way of butterflies, there are still many points of interest around the site.

The wet weather is fantastic for showing up the often invisible dens of spiders:

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The grasslands just outside Collard are absolutely carpeted with the Common Spotted Orchid (below), Butterfly Orchid and Yellow Rattle at the moment, which makes for a spectacular sight.

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Whilst out on the site I came across something which caught my eye…

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And upon closer inspection saw…

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As you can see, it seems as though some of the ants here thought the base of a Wooly Thistle would be the perfect place to start building a nest! Ants really are an impressive species, so small yet so ecologically significant. Seeing them slowly building their nests piece by piece is a magnificent sight.

There were also plenty of bees ready to emerge from the undergrowth and begin their foraging amongst the Bird’s-foot Trefoil as soon as the sun broke out from the cloud. There’s little more enjoyable than running around after these charming fellows trying to get good picture.

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It’s an extremely exciting time here at Collard Hill right now, we could see the Large Blues begin to emerge any day… Currently we’re just waiting for the weather to pick up! I’ll try to update the blog on a daily basis so you don’t miss a thing.

Stay tuned! And thanks for reading!

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