Common Blue on Ragwort

Supposedly the last full day of surveying at the railway sidings, and this one probably felt the hottest. By 1.30 p.m. I was beginning to feel decidedly unwell so we decided to call it a day and will return to finish off a couple of areas outside the main compound when the weather's a bit cooler.

There were a reasonable number of Common Blue butterflies on the wing, nectaring on the few flowering plants that have been able to thrive in the drought - particularly the late summer stalwarts of Common Ragwort, Common Knapweed and Teasel. 

Although it's been a wonderful years for butterflies I'm afraid we may see a crash in numbers next year, as conditions are now very poor for egg-laying and larval development. There was a huge crash in numbers of butterflies after the 1976 drought, with some species never recovering their former status. Parts of the country have now had some rain, which may help the situation, but the south-east appears to be staying stubbornly dry.

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