Today was another walk around the Somerset Wildlife Trust Lynchcombe reserve where I am a volunteer warden.
During last weeks visit I had to ring up the farmer to help return some sheep back into the reserve after they escaped onto the Deerleap road. Today, I hoped for a bit less of an adventure. I wanted to see if the silver-washed fritillaries had returned for another year.
This spring time favourite has dropped in numbers over the summer. This was the only one I saw. It was on bracken near the ground so I sneaked up on it crawling on the ground until we were face to face.
They did return! A pair of butterflies in the trees of the combe.
This is the patch of trees they like at the base of the steep drop into the combe.
The butterfly transect is a timed walk to count the butterflies. But seeing butterflies like the silver washed is a bit hit and miss. They move around quickly and once up the trees they are almost impossible to see.
This steep bank is a good spot to look out for them as it puts at tree top height. Sit here with a pair of binoculars and wait.
Half way down the combe is another good spot called the bus-stop. It was named by my son many moons ago. Its name came about because you would not see any silver washed fritillaries for a long time then all of a sudden several would appear all at the same time.
The second wave of comma butterflies was still going strong.
Of course there were still hundreds of meadow browns everywhere.
They enjoyed the thistles, as did the red soldier beetles.
This week has seen the emergence of huge numbers of common red soldier beetles. Like all good soldiers they know how to deploy a mission to best advantage – one flower each!
This is clearly their favourite pass time. The adults spend much of their short lives mating and cow parsley is one of their favourite sites.
Five spotted burnets favour the open grassland in the middle of the reserve.
Bees do love clover. Why can they not slow down a little bit.
The hazel trees are in fruit all over the reserve.