Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Large Blue

Last year I made two trips to Collard Hill to see the Large Blues. On the first I dipped completely, not seeing a single butterfly all day. I think I was perhaps a little over eager, going as soon as the first reports came through and then picking a cool overcast day. They were, of course, seen in good numbers the day after I visited.

On my second trip I did at least see a couple of specimens but they were very active and I had difficulty getting a photograph. My record shots were so poor that I didn't even bother to put them on the blog. That left me with a butterfly list this year, with the Swallowtail on top, as my last UK butterfly, and the Large Blue in second place. 

This time I waited. There have been reports of Large Blues around for a couple of weeks but the weather has been cool and overcast and the weather reports containing promises of breaks in the cloud cover, have been unreliable. It's a long trip to make if I called it wrong and dipped again.

I had today pencilled in for a possible visit. I would have preferred a promise of sunshine but at least the temperature looked as though it would be warm enough to get them flying. I couldn't afford to wait any longer, so I picked Dave up and we headed off towards Collard Hill.

It did not look promising when we arrived but we spotted our first butterfly within a few minutes of climbing the hill. It flew a short distance landing in this bush where I managed a quick picture before it disappeared into cover deep in the bush. We staked it out waiting for the sun to come out and for the butterfly to reappear but it didn't happen.

We had an early lunch and with the cloud thinning a bit, the temperature rose and we started to get the occasional sighting of Large Blues. This time the cooler conditions probably helped us. The butterflies were flying but they were not hyperactive. If you could spot where they landed when the temperature dipped, you had a good chance of getting a photograph.

We stayed about three hours and probably had ten sightings in that time. I am sure some were of the same butterflies but this was far better than I had last year.

I was happy to get the pictures but there is still scope for some improvement. Perhaps with a little more sun I could get a better depth of field. I can see that I will be going back next year for another go. Maybe next time a mating pair.

And below some of the supporting cast including my first Marbled White of the year.

Marbled White

Meadow Brown

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