I have watched the crops grow golden, the Large Blues come and go and the sun rising and falling in Somerset since the 30th of May. What a wonderful experience it has been, but all good things must come to an end. Therefore, it is time to say goodbye to Collard Hill and all of it’s inhabitants. A new chapter of adventure awaits me.


Here are a few images I have taken over the course of my time on Collard Hill which I did not manage to put on the blog posts:

Goodluck to the 2017 Large Blue Butterfly Volunteer Ranger. May the Large Blues be another success in your presence!






Sunny Collard Hill

What a great day today turned out to be. There was sunshine, there were new butterflies and there were visitors to keep me company. But there were no Large Blue butterfly appearances, instead I was graced with the presence of another beautiful butterfly; a Peacock butterfly.

Peacock butterfly.JPG

Peacock Butterfly

It was also a great day for Cloud Busting! Can anyone else see a Poodle in the clouds?

cloud poodle

Cloud Busting

I also saw these, but wasn’t sure on what they were exactly, can anyone help?

Silver Y moth

Silver Y Moth again?

bee or wasp

Bee or Wasp?

It is getting closer and closer for the end of my time at Collard Hill, even with the extra week I still do not want to leave. It is a gorgeous site and no-one should under-appreciate it for a moment.


Mid-Week Wonder

We are nearing the end of the second week of July now and sadly there have not been any more sightings of Large Blues. I believe there to still be some on site but with compromising weather conditions they just don’t want to show themselves.

I will still be walking the transect route twice a day for this week, when the weather conditions feel right and I will still be updating the blog, until further notice, with photographs I have taken from each day when searching for the remaining Large Blues on Collard Hill.

There will always be a lot to see on Collard Hill, from the wildflowers in the meadow to the Red Devon cattle in the fields (and of course the unforgettable view of the Levels). So please do come along and help in the search for the last Large Blues of 2016.

Here are some photographs from today, including a photograph of a Cinnabar Moth taken by a National Trust volunteer and a photograph of the Caterpillar:

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Ronnie Harkness

NT Volunteer: Ronnie Harkness

Ox Eye Daisies

Ox Eye Daisies

Silver Y Moth..

Silver Y Moth

I had a guess that the above was a Silver Y Moth, but if not then please do correct me.
Enjoy the rest of your week!


Common Blues are back!

Well I never! Today I saw a very fresh Common Blue. So, as the Large Blues are dwindling their way into the second week of July, the Common Blues are returning.

Common Blues have orange on their underwings, have no black spots on the upperwings, do not have a thick border and are a sky blue colour. Large Blues – as you all should know by now – have no orange on their wings, have prominent black spots on their upperwings, do have a thick black border and are a deep shade of blue (when in flight the colour blends with the purple shades of selfheal).

Common Blue in flight

Common Blue in Flight

Common Blue

Pristine Common Blue

Large Blue

Today’s Large Blue

The weather today was cloudy with few sunny spells, very windy and a little rainy towards the end of my shift today. All in all, I saw just the one Large Blue a few times and that was in the space of 20 minutes. It was fluttering about the sign that directs visitors onto the Eastern Glade or down the slope towards the bottom of the site.

Here is what else I found on site today, any ideas on the moth identification would be wonderful:



Pied Shield Bugs

Pied Shield Bugs

Moth id me


Plus some visitor images of their time at Collard Hill this year:

Both Graham and I would love to know what caterpillar is in his photograph – the caterpillar and parasitic wasp.


Burnets galore and plenty of heat.

I havent been up to Collard recently as I have been looking after some of the other sites we manage. The woolly thistles are just starting to come out into flower so there’s Marbled whites everywhere; it’s looking great. With the ragwort there are lots of burnet moths, in fact, we don’t have lots, there are loads of them – they really are a pretty moth.

unfortunately, I am guessing down to the heat, I didn’t see any large blue butterflies today – in direct sunlight, the thermometer was reading 48’c!

Both me and Steve headed for the big oak tree to get shade and still under there, the thermometer was reading 30’c.

I would suggest that if you plan to visit Collard over the next few days, an early morning visit might be better; when temperatures are lower – you may have a chance of seeing a blue then.

I did notice how noisy the hill actually was (in a good way) today. The place was chirring with the sound of crickets and grasshoppers.

If you visit and have some photos you would like to share with us then please send them to collard.hill@gmail.com

Hayley – Ranger for the Mendip and Polden Hills

Small Eggar moth

I have been meaning to let you know this snippet of exciting news for a few days now. When we were visited by the West Dorset Ranger team a couple of weeks back, one of the volunteers got rather excited over what we thought to be a tent moth web. He had reason to beieve that it was in actual fact a Small Eggar moth. With confirmation from Matthew Oates, it is in actual fact the small eggar moth (Eriogaster lanestris) larval web which is scarce and rapidly declining. This is new to Collard.  The moth flies in late winter. The adults, which fly in February and March, are seldom seen, but the larvae, when present, live gregariously in silken webs on the foodplant, hawthorn (Crataegus) and blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). Photos of the webs are below.

Taken by Matthew Oates

Taken by Matthew Oates

Taken by Matthew Oates

Taken by Matthew Oates

Taken from the UK moth website

Taken from the UK moth website

Photos from the last couple of days…

Here are a few photos that have been taken by people visiting Collard Hill. If you would like to send some photos to us to upload onto the blog then please do at: collard.hill@gmail.com

These photos have been taken by Paul Embdon. Thanks Paul!

Small Elephant Hawk Moth

Paul Embden

Paul Embden

These photos have been taken by Winston Plowes, Thanks Winston!

aspilapteryx tringipennella (Moth)

Latticed heath chiasmia clathrata