Egg Laying Video – The next generation!

Hi all,

As promised here is a video filmed by one of our visitors of a female egg laying! Enjoy!

Here is a photo by another of our visitors of an egg laying female… We can be glad to see the next generation is upon the slopes!

Rupert Perkins

Rupert Perkins

There have been numerous sightings of Emperor Dragonflies right across Collard, their size and colour never cease to be impressive!

Rupert Perkins

Rupert Perkins

This photo of an underside of a Red Admiral I thought was a truly impressive shot by Rupert our visitor. This one of the Largest of the British species and although not as vivid on the underside is still leaves a stunning impression, they often land with their winds wide open!

Rupert Perkins

Rupert Perkins

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One of our kind readers, wrote in and we believe the left is a Ghost Moth and most likely female due to its yellowness marked with orange while the males are white!

The right seems to be a very interesting find of a Mecyna Flavalis,  a micro moth species that is quite rare in the UK, but it does favor chalky downland and grassland slopes so fits with Collards environment but is usually found on the South Coast, and in South Wales! They have been found away from the coast indicating smaller colonies inland so we could well have one here… do write in if you think any differently!

Hope to see you soon

 

Rosie

A season record!

Hi all,

The sun came out and so did the Large Blues and wonderful Visitors! As well as a selection of others of Collards treats and a record of the season of 38 Large Blue recordings on and on off transect! There were multiple mating pairs, and a lot of egg laying females! With the current weather forecast it looks like a promising week ahead!

Looking fresh

Looking fresh

Mating Pair

Mating Pair

Large Blue

Large Blue

Nick Edge

Nick Edge

I am currently working on how to upload a video onto the blog captured by one of visitors of an egg laying female! You will notice the abdomen curving round into the thyme. They will lay their eggs on the thyme before it has flowered as you will see in the video. This is to ensure there is enough of the stamen and sepal of the thyme flower to sustain the larvae until it’s time to drop down in the fourth instar ready for Myrmica sabuleti to come and pick them up! So look out for this kind of activity on your visit! Hopefully the video will be up soon!

Here is why a Woolly Thistle is Woolly…

Woolly Thistle - this is why!

Woolly Thistle – this is why!

Another Six Spotted Burnet Moth, there are caterpillars and pupae on site so you can see them at all staged!

6 Spotted Burnet Moth

6 Spotted Burnet Moth

A Small Tortoiseshell showing off its true beauty and a Marbled White on a Field Scabious. Just for fun let’s just enjoy the Marbled White and Small Tortoiseshell hanging out together!

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Marbled White on Field Scabious

Marbled White on Field Scabious

Nectaring in Harmony

Nectaring in Harmony

I captured this little rabbit also, you see their little cotton tails running across the meadows!

Peter making a dash for the bush!

Peter making a dash for the bush!

Here is a couple of moths that I could do with a hand in identifying 100 points for both!

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See you soon

Rosie

A Large Blue, In the Quarry, on a yellow flower, in the Rain!

Hope you are all having a lovely Friday night!

This morning there were 14 sightings of Large Blues while the wind was blowing and the Collard was covered by clouds, but breaks in the clouds allowed for the blues to break out in activity! A bit of bad weather won’t stop the innate need to mate within the males! Late afternoon Collard received a much needed watering! Here is a couple of images capturing the clouds setting in! The weather on Collard can change so quickly, and even in over cast conditions the Large Blues continue their daily lives!

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This is a Large Blue I found this morning defying the odds – out in the rain, on a yellow flower!

Large Blue defying the odds!

Large Blue defying the odds!

 

When identifying to differentiate it from a Common Blue, is looking at the colour of the plant it lands on. Common Blues favour yellow plants such as Birds Foot Trefoil, whereas you are likely to see a Large Blue on pink, purple and blue plants. Necataring or laying on Thyme or nectaring on plants like the Common Centaury or Selfheal.

This Small Skipper seems to be favoring Self-heal as they continue to thrive upon Collard!

Small Skipper on Selfheal

Small Skipper on Selfheal

Small Skipper

Small Skipper

 

Other butterfly treats is the first 2 ringlets I have seen upon Collard as well as another Small Tortoiseshell sighting.

Ringlet!

Ringlet!

Small Tortoiseshell and you can see how much the rain is needed!

Small Tortoiseshell and you can see how much the rain is needed!

I was lucky enough to come across a Common Darter.

Common Darter

Common Darter

One must see on Collard is the nationally scarce Woolly Thistle, it is another limestone species and equally a great attraction not only for people but for the insects of Collard!

The famous Woolly Thistle

The famous Woolly Thistle

You can see here in Geoff Eatons photo the female Marbled White I spoke of yesterday as she trying to balloon her wings before this young man had his wicked way!

Geoff Eaton

Geoff Eaton

Rosie

The middle ground.

Evening Large Blue enthusiasts!

Today upon Collard the sun was shining and the blues were out! I was surprised today to have 29 sightings!! The majority of the Large Blues were seen in the shrubbery areas above the main track in the middle of the site. There were 3 sightings on the Eastern Glade and 3 within the Quarry, highlighting the middle ground area as the place to be!

Feeding 'Thyme'

Feeding ‘Thyme’

It has to be admired!

It has to be admired!

Small Skipper sightings continue. Meadow Brown airspace is still off limits for other butterflies, if an unsuspecting Large Blue flies to close to a Meadow Brown it will be soon seen off their property!

Small Skipper

Small Skipper

The Marble Whites continue to flutter around! A few visitors experienced 2 males pounce on a newly emerged female still trying to balloon her wings, seems she was just too irresistible!

Success at last !

Success at last !

A little botanical treat, the Lesser Centaury seems to be thriving upon Collard, this is a calcareous grassland species!

Lesser Centaury

Lesser Centaury

I thought some of you may be interested to see Myrmica sabuleti, the Large Blues underground host! This little guy wanted to enter my clipboard!

Myrmica sabuleti

Myrmica sabuleti

Here is a little treat to share with you from Matthew Oates, this was captured when he visited Collard last week. Matthew was lucky enough to see a Hummingbird Hawk Moth lay an egg and here is the wonderful egg!

Hummingbird egg Collard 19.6.15 - Mattew Oates

Hummingbird egg Collard 19.6.15 – Matthew Oates

Here is the perfect selection of Large Blue shots captured by one of Collards Visitors!

Adrian Dowling

Adrian Dowling

Adrian Dowling

Adrian Dowling

Adrian Dowling

Adrian Dowling

Let me give you another reason to visit Collard…. this view…

Perspective.

Perspective

See you soon

Rosie

 

The tables have turned…

Evening Everyone,

Today 24 Large Blues were sited upon Collard, a variety of sightings from egg laying females, to rather battered males. The tables have turned on site, with the majority of sightings occurring on the Eastern Glade and along the main track in comparison to the previous trends in the Quarry. The weather looks similar tomorrow so we can hope for some more successful sightings!

My one true

My one true

Lets lay

Lets lay

The Marbled Whites did the dance of love against a fantastic back drop captured by one of the fantastic National Trust Volunteers Mike.

Mike Hinde - Marbled Whites

Mike Hinde – Marbled Whites

 

Something rather different I came across on Collard alongside a fantastic volunteer Julien was a, Rose bedeguar gall! This is caused by a small gall wasp larvae, the female wasp usually lays it on a rose shoot and the plant reaction is to produce this gall!

Rose bedeguar gall

Rose bedeguar gall

Another interesting find is this Restharrow, this is a limestone grassland species of a creeping plant and the very first flowers have begun to flower on Collard. It belongs to the pea family.

Restharrow

Restharrow

Here is a Meadow Brown nectaring on some Thyme.

Meadow Brown nectaring

Meadow Brown nectaring

This is a rather hungry 6 Spotted Burnet Moth caterpillar smiling for the camera.

6 Spotted Burnet Moth caterpillar

6 Spotted Burnet Moth caterpillar

Visitor images, who knew the beauty of the Large Blue could be captured in so many different ways!

Will Langdon

Will Langdon

Tony Cox

Tony Cox

Stephen Schonhut

Stephen Schonhut

Simon Chidwick

Simon Chidwick

John Cuthburt

John Cuthburt

Francis Kinsella

Francis Kinsella

Debbie Bowers

Debbie Bowers

 

Hope to see you soon

 

Rosie

Large Blue Open day

Hi all,

Although the morning began cloudy and rather windy, Large Blues were still found on the wings of Collard. Those of you who came I hope you had a wonderful day and enjoyed the National Trust North Somerset team out in force also with our wonderful volunteers! I would like to thank David Simcox and Sarah Meredith for their time on Collard! Also special thanks to Will again who many of you will have seen today at my side and best of luck to you!

The majority of the sightings occurred this afternoon as the blue skies drew in and engulfed Collard in warmth allowing the flight of the Large Blues. Sightings shot from 6 this morning to 21 this afternoon! The sun can truly work wonders! The Quarry was again full of activity as well as the Eastern Glade as the winds began to drop! I hope just as much success occurred over at Green Down.

This one had been attacked on one side, but must have narrowly escaped the mouth of a bird.

This one had been attacked on one side, but must have narrowly escaped the mouth of a bird.

Stunned in the wind.

Stunned in the wind.

a rather battered male clinging on

A rather battered male clinging on

Check out some more of the visitor photos from the past few days!

Chris Roughley

Chris Roughley

Chris Roughley

Chris Roughley

Laurie Jenkins

Laurie Jenkins

Robert Bridge

Robert Bridge

Deborah Philips

Deborah Philips

Julie Rogers

Julie Rogers

The first sightings of the Small Skippers this season have now appeared on Collard in the Quarry- a honeypot for the butterflies it seems!

Small Skipper

Small Skipper

The Marbled Whites continue to fly with sightings also of the Common Blue, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and once again a Painted Lady!

Marbled White under wing!

Marbled White under wing!

Just a quick warning on the Orchids, the Bee and the Wasp Orchids are about to go over so if you would like to see them in all their glory head down quick!

Rikki Harrington

Rikki Harrington

Collards delights never end!

 

Rosie

Blue is the new Black

Evening All,

Here’s to my 13th blog post, unlucky for some, but not here on Collard! Today with 27 sightings you can call that a successful day, even under the cloudy conditions the Large Blues prevail on the sheltered areas of the site!

Come see me tomorrow for the open day!

Come see me tomorrow for the open day!

Woolly Thistle with a lovely adition

Woolly Thistle with a lovely adition

Look out for the flags tomorrow on top of Collard, this is where we shall be based! There will an opportunity for foot-painting for the kids! Myself will be onsite alongside the the North Somerset National Trust Ranger team as well as David Simcox and Sarah Meredith sharing their fantastic expertise with us!

Open Day!!!

Open Day!!!

Those of you who visit will get to see this spectacular view….

The view.

The view.

There are a number of visitor photos that are a must see, any I don’t put on today that have been sent in will be up in the coming days!

Allan Ward

Allan Ward

Tim Field

Tim Field

Bernard Rogers

Bernard Rogers

Andrew Hickson

Andrew Hickson

Other butterfly goodies I managed to capture today include, a basking Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral. As well as all this a Dark Green Fritillary flew overhead as well as still the Marbled Whites, fluttering… away from my camera!

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

A male Flower beetle caught my eye today…

Flower Beetles

Flower Beetles

I was also treated to a group of Cinnabar Moths feeding on Ragwort leaves.

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Does anyone want to help me identify this damselfly….

Help with I.D please...

Help with I.D please…

Hope to see you all tomorrow

 

Rosie

Large Blue Extravaganza

Evening,

From mating to egg laying the Large Blue daily activities are in full swing. Today I had 21 sightings, largely off the main track, above the meadow and the Quarry. The warming up of the ground has meant wonders for the Large Blue, even with a slight breeze sightings still occurred, although they largely (but not all) occurred from 10:00-14:00.

I think today we can allow the pictures to speak for themselves!

Open Wing

Open Wing

Egg Laying

Egg Laying

Mating Pair

Mating Pair

Egg Laying if you look closely you can see the abdomen action!

Egg Laying if you look closely you can see the abdomen action!

Matthew Oates also decided to swing by and was lucky enough to see a Hummingbird Hawk moth lay an egg and saw the wealth of Large Blues on a walk of the site! Why not do the same and join us on Collard!

Don’t forget the open day this Sunday 10 am at Collard, there will even be opportunities for Foot painting for anyone who fancies a bit of family fun… say hello to the Kestrel!

Kestrel

Kestrel

I shall look forward to meeting lots of you over the coming days

 

Rosie

P.S anyone who wants to email pictures from their visit whether it be a Large Blue or not, please email me at collardhill@gmail.com

 

We have lift off… take two!

Evening Friends!

The sun comes out so do the Large Blues…in numbers! Today all together I had 29 sightings on and off transect! Which is the most signigficant so far this season. The visitors today were treated to males patrolling, females egg laying and mating pairs! The Large Blues really stole the show! The warming of the ground meant many new emergences occurred, if the weather continues I am sure we will see more!

So where did the sightings occur you ask…

  • The Quarry
  • Eastern Glade
  • Grassland slope and shrubbery above the meadow!

Here are some of my snap shots of the day, but anyone who visited today do share your pictures!

Now that's just showing off!

Now that’s just showing off!

 

Large Blue on Self-heal

Large Blue on Self-heal

 

Just wow

Just wow

It takes two to Tango

It takes two to Tango

Not only are the Large Blues numbers rising the Marbled Whites numbers rose significantly and we are still seeing influxes of painted ladies!

Join us in our enjoyment of seeing the Large Blue

Join us in our enjoyment of seeing the Large Blue and Collards delights!

The Wasp orchid has decided to put an appearance and come into flower!

Wasp Orchid! better shot required!

Wasp Orchid! better shot required!

As pointed out by a visitor The Quarry is nicely dotted with “Nit Grass” as you can see from my image the flowers imitate a nit! This grass can be seen mainly in the South of England, but an intriguing find!

Nit Grass

Nit Grass

I was also lucky enough to come across a Burnet Companion Moth!

Burnet Companion

Burnet Companion

Let’s hope the good news continues!

 

Rosie

 

Who needs blue skies for the Large Blue.

Evening Large Blue supporters!

Although today was blighted with cloud cover and winds there has been significant sightings over the last few days of the Large Blue. The quarry has been a favourite haunt in the overcast weather while the meadow seems to be preferential during sunny spells! Today accompanied by David Simcox and two incredible National Trust Volunteers, we were treated to a newly emerged female, unfortunately due to the cloudy conditions her true beauty was hidden from the men! However as we continued our travels a male was spotted!

Newly emerged female Large Blue, any takers men?

Newly emerged female Large Blue, any takers men?

The Thyme on site appears ideal with various flowers at numerous stages and plenty at prime for egg laying females. Due to the strong phenology between the Thyme and the Large Blue eggs can be expected anytime now if not already!

Thyme!

Thyme!

A few more days of sunshine we can then hope for some further Large Blue activity!

Why not join a group like this enjoying the company of the Large Blue in the coming days!

Visitors enjoying a Large Blue on a grass stem!

Visitors enjoying a Large Blue on a grass stem!

Or even better come to the Large Blue Open day on this Sunday 21st June spending the morning from 10:30 – 13:00 at Collard Hill followed by the Wildlife Trusts Green Down 13:30 – 16:00, keep looking and more details will be posted about the day later this week!

Here are some of our visitor pictures of the past week!

Rosina Robinson captured this amazing action shot!

Rosina Robinson captured this amazing action shot!

Lee Gardiners Stunning Large Blue image!

Lee Gardiners Stunning Large Blue image!

Besides the Large Blue treats, visitors and I were treated to more of Collards life. Marble Whites are now dancing around the shrubbery, we can be sure more will appear!

Here is some of the Mothy Madness we experience on Collard..

6 Spotted Burnet Moth

6 Spotted Burnet Moth

A migrant Bordered Straw Moth, although not the best shot the plant variety of Collard is captured!

A migrant Bordered Straw Moth, although not the best shot but the plant variety of Collard is captured!

There are a number of Stinking Iris now in flower!

Stinking Iris below the Eastern Glade

Stinking Iris below the Eastern Glade

 

Look forward to seeing you all soon,

Rosie