First and foremost I feel it is key to get the news out of the FIRST SIGHTINGS of the summer of the Large Blue at a site near Collard Hill. Today we were treated to 4 lovely early emerged adults, so the good news is that in previous years this sites emergence has been around 3-4 days earlier than Collard. This means in the coming days we can hope for news of the Collards population!
Here is a lovely image captured by Hayley Dorrington
Today began with a group of us attending the training day for the Large Blue with David Simcox and Sarah Meredith! It began with walking up Collard Hill with some exceptional demonstrations of how large blues fly by Sarah and incredible information of the life cycle and key tips for spotting and telling the difference between male and female Large Blues. So here are a few key facts that I picked up today:
– We can expect to see the Large Blue on pink, blue or purple plants which allows us to distinguish it away from the Common blue usually found on Yellow flowers.
– Males can be seen to zig zag up and down the this allows them to meet any unmated females at the bottom of the slope, as this is where the females instinctively congregate, while to maximise their chances with the ladies they zig zag back up to pick up any newly emerged unclaimed females!
– A key fact for the day is that 10% of emerging Large Blues are predated on by spiders.
Following these talks we walked parts of the transect and were lucky enough to see a Grizzled Skipper, Common Blue, Speckled Wood and a Brimstone!
As well as this we were treated to the opportunity of seeing a Bee Orchid and some Horseshoe Vetch which is a key food source for Chalkhill Blue which we can potentially see later in the season as they move closer and closer to colonising Collard Hill- exciting times ahead!
As well as a currently unidentified moth, which I shall get onto identifying or any suggestions are indeed welcome.
I shall keep you posted on the progress of Collards populations over the next few days!