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

 

The Enigmatic Large Blue

Hi All,

A much-needed watering occurred on Collard yesterday! In contrast although overcast today was a hive of activity. Today I was accompanied by Will, who has a wide wealth of knowledge and a fantastic asset to work with! We had a stroke of luck today where following our instincts we were able to have various sightings of the Large Blue. Between ourselves and the various visitors on site there were 6 sightings of the enigmatic beauty!

Male Large Blue

Male Large Blue

Male Large Blue

Male Large Blue

The sightings seem to span the enclosed shrubbery areas, with numerous along the bottom of the Eastern Glade. Two sightings within the shrubbery that splits the Eastern Glade from the Lynchets. As well as this there was a newly emerged male travelling up from the shrubs above meadow to the transect section 2, which is the first sighting for this area of the site! Most exciting of all a visitor managed to capture a photograph of an egg laying female in the neighbouring field, which I will hope to share with you in due course!

Here is one of our visitor photos of this week by John Heys!

John Heys shot of a Large Blue on his visit to Collard on the 11th June

John Heys shot of a Large Blue on his visit to Collard on the 11th June

As we can see the day was packed with exciting sightings!

But the fun does not end their… The next generation are on their way!

After completing the morning transect Will spotted a Painted Lady laying this egg on a Woolly Thistle! I shall try to keep an eye on its progress over the coming weeks.

Painted Lady egg... Can you spot it?

Painted Lady egg… Can you spot it?

A Yellow tail moth larva, which can be expected to fly in July to August

Yellow-tail Moth larva

Yellow-tail Moth larva

We were treated to the flight of Small Tortoiseshell, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Heath, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and Large Skippers. The first of the Marbled Whites have been spotted on Collard.

Large Skipper in all its glory

Large Skipper in all its glory

Excited to bring you the next instalment of the Large Blues story of 2015

Rosie

Woodland Wildlife!

Hi good people,

This woodland was the hive of activity for the Large Blue this morning, but the sightings ended following 1 pm, the weather 1, Large Blue 0!

The first Large Blue of the day, during a slight shower, was sheltering on a thistle at the end of the transect route. During warm spells there were another 4 sightings within the wooded area, it seems they were favouring the sheltered conditions, a fair weather butterfly! Today has been a much needed watering for the life at Collard!

Lee Gardiner visited today and got this fantastic image of the Large Blue. 3rd time lucky for Lee!

Lee Gardiner visited today and got this fantastic image of the Large Blue. 3rd time lucky for Lee!

Newly Emerged Female Large Blue

Newly Emerged Female Large Blue

Despite the weather the site has been fruitful in many other aspects!

The few days of warm weather has led to the shoots of Pyramidal orchids to come into flower right across the meadow. These orchids naturally occur in Limestone grasslands and will come into flower over the next month!

Pyramidal Orchid John Cuthbert close to the National Trust car park to reach Collard!

Pyramidal Orchid John Cuthbert close to the National Trust car park to reach Collard!

Pyramidal Orchid beginning to flower

Pyramidal Orchid beginning to flower on Collard

Two Tiger Craneflies mating on a bramble they fly from April to August and are relatively widespread across the UK.

Tiger Crane flies mating

Tiger Crane flies mating

Late afternoon I was lucky enough to stumble across an Elephant Hawk moth.

Elephant Hawk Moth

Elephant Hawk Moth

Also within the wooded area I came across this caterpillar and on the Eastern Glade a cocoon! These are just a few of the clues of the rich life we can experience as the summer goes on!

Caterpillar in the woodland area... any ideas?

Six Spot Burnet Moth Caterpillar

Cocoon

Cocoon

 

Fingers crossed the weekend weather doesn’t deter the Large Blues,

 

Rosie

 

Creatures of Collard

Good evening all,

There was another successful day on Collard with 8 wonderful sightings of the Large Blue. As a result of the warm temperatures of the past few days they are appearing in more areas of the site. Late morning there was a rather placid specimen which flew from the top by the Hawthorn trees down into the woodland area where it sat almost glued to this spot for some time!

Large Blue in the Woodland Area

Large Blue in the Woodland Area

The Eastern Glade currently seems to be a hub with some fantastic sightings along the bottom footpath where there were numerous dancing around each other looking like there could be a possibility of mating! Although the temperatures seem a little a warm so none were basking today. A surprise sighting was made at the top in the central area slightly lower than the Oak bench! We can hope such sightings to continue over the next few days!

Large Blue on the shrubbery at the bottom of the Eastern Glade

Large Blue on the shrubbery at the bottom of the Eastern Glade

 

Not only were the Large Blues out on mass today but there has been numerous sightings of the Hummingbird Hawk Moth. More moth madness was involved in a number of sightings across the sight of Cinnabar moths. This is not the best picture but there is still time for more!

Cinnabar

Cinnabar

I managed to photograph a rather old Painted Lady, that seems to have made it to Collard!

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

 

I was also lucky enough to see this Four-Spotted Chaser around the brambles on the slope above the woodland! This was quite a show, do look out for dragonflies of Collard they are impressive sizes!

Four-Spotted Chaser

Scarce Chaser

Now onto the plants of Collard!

The first of the Yellow-wort has come into flower, which is common to Limestone grasslands. Its waxy leaves are good at retaining water so are well adapted to arid conditions!

Yellow-wort

Yellow-wort

Yellow-wort

Yellow-wort

One of our visitors has also sent in images of the on site wasp orchid! It is important to make the most of all the treasures on Collard when coming to see the majestic Large Blue.

Gill Sapsed kindly sent in this wonderful photo of our resident Orchid

Gill Sapsed kindly sent in this wonderful photo of our resident Orchid

Just a note also, as it has been getting increasing hot on the hill it is important to bring plenty of water and food to fuel your walk round the site! Plus don’t forget the sun cream! We as a nation need to be prepared for such rarities in the weather!

 

Look forward to seeing you all soon

 

Rosie

 

 

Three’s a crowd?

Hi Everyone!

Three certainly isn’t a crowd for the Large Blue. The sightings continue on Collard! This morning at 11:05 a freshly emerged male Large Blue entered the arena! I first spotted at the very top of the eastern glade and then followed it down the hill to the left down into the open field. There was a second sighting by a visitor on sight around the gauze and shrubbery at the entrance to the open field. So it looks as if the season begins! Let’s hope that Collard remains a sunshine paradise tomorrow to provide this gent with some ladies to entice!

Newly emerged Large Blue Male

Newly emerged Large Blue Male

These are the black spots we look forward to of the Large Blue

These are the black spots we look forward to of the Large Blue

The Common blues are somewhat ageing past their prime! However, I was lucky enough to capture this mating pair making the next generation! Now is time to begin to look forward to the second brood of the season of this species!

20120108_125424

During the transect today I found that the Meadow Browns, Small Heaths, Small White, Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood! It will be interesting to see as the season goes on how the species composition will change so watch this space!

Here is a very well camouflaged Emperor Dragonfly caught me by surprise in the woodland area of the transect allowing me to get this photo!

Southern Hawker

Emperor Dragonfly

In the last few days I was also delighted to be given the opportunity to see this Hummingbird Hawk moth! Although not the clearest picture it gives you an idea what to look out for on your visit to Collard!

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Also managed to capture this shot of this cheeky little damselfly, any thoughts of what this may be ?

Damselfly....

Damselfly….

Cheers to another wonderful day upon Collard,

 

Rosie

We have lift off!

Hi Everyone!

We have had lift off! Today I was graced with the presence of the first Large Blue of Collard Hill. It appeared on the bottom of the eastern glade from the shrubbery and continued to fly up the hill and fluttering along in the true beauty of the Large Blue. It appeared about 1:35 this afternoon when clear skies were present! A few lucky visitors were blessed with its view. Lets hope it isn’t the only butterfly present on Collard Hill. May we all give a moment to think of the ant family that lost this year’s brood, to grant us the opportunity of seeing the Large Blue fly in the English countryside once again!

With a few clear days predicted ahead it’s time to sit tight and see when the next will emerge!

Her or His ? majesty the Large Blue

Her or His ? majesty the Large Blue

 

LARGE BLUE

LARGE BLUE

Eastern Glade- the sight of Large Blue

Eastern Glade- the sight of Large Blue

This morning I began the day impressed by this fortress of a spider’s web with an orchid among it!

Spiders Fortress

Spiders Fortress

This Common Blue enjoying its lunch!

Common Blue enjoying the sunshine and the presence of its large cousin

Common Blue enjoying the sunshine and the presence of its large cousin

Sorry todays blog has to be a short one as my place of residence currently has a power cut just wanted to put the news out there of the Large Blues emergence on Collard, it will live another year! Fingers crossed for a second and a third sighting!

Hope to see you visiting soon!

 

Rosie