Saturday, 28 June 2014

Blues and Reds

On Tuesday Dave Land kindly took me for a day out in Somerset to look for Large Blues. We went there in hope rather than anticipation because it has been a pretty poor year for the Large Blue in the Polden Hills this year. It turned out to be a case of quality over quantity as we visited two sites and only managed to see three individuals, two of them in flight only. However the one which we did see grounded was an egg-laying female. We saw her lay around twenty eggs each on a different tightly closed bud of a thyme flower. She was being very choosy visiting many flowers before stopping to lay each time. After laying she pitched up and rested for long periods as the heat was sweltering on the sheltered south facing site.

Large Blue - Maculinea arion

Egg Laying

Picking out an unopened flower

Egg in place on the thyme bud.

A closer view.

Time for a bit of much needed nectaring too.

A hard earned rest.

Cut-leaved Selfheal - prunella laciniata

Also available in lilac

 Common Restharrow - Ononis repens

Musk Thistle - Carduus nutans

On Wednesday I managed to get out onto the East Devon Commons for a couple of hours where I was hoping to see Silver-studded Blues at my usual site for them. There were lots of them with females seemingly outnumbering males so they have probably been emerging for quite a while. There were some interestingly coloured females with one looking just like the extinct subspecies masseyi.

 Male Silver-studded Blue - Plebejus argus

 Typical coloured female

Very blue female looking rather like the extinct subspecies masseyi

Egg laying on the underside of a bramble leaf. 

A new plant for me at this site too in the form of 
Common Dodder - Cuscuta epithymum
Then onto a well known bog site in search of Small Red Damselfly, I was a bit early in the season
for these these really but I did manage to see two nice new males amongst all the Large Red Damselflies.

Large Red Damselfly - Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Small Red Damselfly - Ceriagrion tenellum

Bog Asphodel -Narthecium ossifragum

Round-leaved Sundew -Drosera rotundifolia

Round-leaved Sundew Flower

 Southern Wood Ant - Formica rufa


Andrew Cunningham said...

Really enjoyed the botannical overload of the last two posts.

Wilma said...

love the sundews.

JRandSue said...

Brilliant post,with outstanding ticks.
Superb photography.