The Large Blue hunt!

Hello all,

Another glorious day, this time blessed with sunshine throughout. On the Large Blue front, the downward trend in Large Blue sightings carried on today, and only 4 were to be seen in total. Most of them were again slightly faded with age, but still keeping their rich, unmistakable Royal Blue colour when in flight. We did experience relatively high winds today which aren’t favourable for Large Blue watching, so here’s to hoping that these guys will stick around for the next week or so if the wind dies down. I will be carrying on with my transects twice daily; as luck would have it, 2 of the 4 seen today were during transect times. What do you know!

The first LB was spotted in the Eastern Glade around 11.00 and was appreciated by a number of visitors before flying up slope to greet those waiting for it on the oak bench! The other 3 sightings then consisted of the LBs fluttering quickly around the slope for some time before disappearing into the grass, as they have been known to do! These were dotted around various points in the site around bottom footpath and then in the quarry- near the pine trees. When visitors asked where the best place to search was, I said, ‘They’re surprising us everywhere!’.

As numbers of Large Blues decrease, new species come in to the butterfly scene, and in the last week we have been able to include Large Whites, Green- veined Whites, Small Skippers and Gatekeepers in the Collard Hill community.

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Small skipper

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Large White

In our species mix we also had a glorious Buzzard monitoring Collard Hill from above, Green Woodpeckers flying around the pine trees, and multiple Red Admirals and Painted Ladies re- visiting the site again!

In the photo below, we have a very hungry -Cinnabar- caterpillar munching away on a bright Common Ragwort plant. Though Ragwort can be poisonous to livestock and must be regularly removed in the conservation management of the site, the odd plants still remain to host all sorts of wildlife.

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Common Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris)

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Cinnabar moth caterpillar on Ragwort

I hope that our remaining Large Blue friends will be showing themselves tomorrow… and sticking around for a little while longer!

Thanks for reading,

Gabrielle, Large Blue ranger

 

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