Today I got in to another day of south westerly winds strong enough that it’s a struggle to walk in a straight line on the hilltop. Straight to the shelter of the lower areas I go!
Wildflowers have really come in to bloom these last few days and the difference in floral diversity from when I started my post June 1st is remarkable. Much of the Thyme is still in its early stages but is also becoming more obvious in discrete purple patches, so if you visit please make sure you look out for it when walking off path or across ant hills!
The quarry is particularly diverse right now, especially as the Yellow Wort has begun to flower. The Bird’s Foot Trefoil is a particular favourite of mine as the flowers range from red to orange to yellow in colour as they mature. Today I knelt down to photograph a patch of it poking out of an ant’s nest and found a very fat- looking caterpillar clinging (very successfully) to the delicate flower stems! Some very knowledgeable visitors identified it as a Burnet moth caterpillar.
The clouds were fairly dense around the time of my morning butterfly transect, so the only butterfly life about were a couple of Small Heaths in the hay meadow. But, by the beginning of the afternoon the sun came out in full stead and, despite the ongoing windy conditions, out came 3 more Small Heaths, 5 Meadow Browns (2 doing a mating dance), 2 Speckled Woods and a gorgeous Small Tortoiseshell (which lives in the sheltered quarry near the pine trees) that I’m determined get a decent photograph of by the end of my post.
Despite the fact that there were four sightings of LBs yesterday (but who’s counting?) it is still early in the season and the high wind speeds continue, so if you plan on travelling from afar to visit Collard Hill I would definitely recommend checking the forecast first or waiting until a little later in June when historically the flight season is truly under way. Of course, any sightings will be recorded daily on this blog, but you can also contact me- the Large Blue Ranger- on 07824820193.
Thanks for reading!
Gabrielle – Volunteer Ranger