Luckily, Collard managed to survive last night’s thunderstorm. The only evidence that it had ever passed were a few broken boughs, which had to be cleared from the paths and a lot of mud on people’s boots.
But to the important news: still no Large Blues! 😦
Don’t be too disappointed they’re not here yet! We’re still expecting a bumper year. Despite the extremely wet weather early in the season, the site recovered really really well. The grazing timing has been bang on and the Dexters have grazed the grass to the perfect height. If the vegetation is too thick, the ground can’t warm up enough for the ants to get active. We’ve also had a really mild winter, which has hopefully benefited the ants. The Thyme is thriving across the site, although it can be a little tricky to spot before it’s in full bloom. This is an example of a really good nest with a thriving population of Wild Thyme:
The weather was on fine form for the second day in a row, allowing lots of other butterflies to get out on the wing again.
I saw my first Cinnabar moth of the season today. These things in flight are a pink blur and look like they belong in the tropics more than the British Isles.
The sunny weather also brought out the first Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady of the season! Both of these butterflies undergo migrations which are spectacular given their small size.
The usual suspects are still very much on the scene; plenty of Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and Brown Argus were flitting about.
As I was walking along the tree line at the very bottom of the site today, a buzzard flew DIRECTLY over my head, casting it’s shadow over me. It was only about 30ft away and completely stopped me in my tracks. Seeing birds of prey so close feels like a real privilege.
I can’t help but love these tiny little mushrooms which can be found across most of the site (if you look hard enough). The clover leaves here should give a real sense of scale.
By now I’m fairly au fait with 90% of the vegetation across the site, but these two caught me out today. Answers in the comments please! (Click for full size)
So, another fantastic day atop Collard Hill, no Large Blues yet but it would be no fun without all this anticipation!
Today I even caught this cheeky couple of Common Blues.
Thanks for reading! See you out on the hill.
Jono, The Large Blue Ranger.