The predicted heatwave arrived with a vengeance, but fortunately I managed to fit in a walk round Castor Hanglands NNR in the cool of the morning, my shoes and trousers soon refreshingly soaked by the dew-laden grass along the woodland rides. There were butterflies in every sunny spot - mostly Large Skipper and Ringlet in the wooded areas, with Meadow Brown in the grassland. The Silver-washed Fritillary were out in force, the males chasing off both rivals of their own species and any other butterfly who was remotely orange. A few stopped to nectar on Bramble blossom, but Common Ragwort was proving particularly popular with the females, and I spent quite some time watching two sipping nectar from its flowers side-by-side. White Admiral, Purple Hairstreak and Purple Emperor all made a brief appearance, but either at a great height, or whizzing by at great speed - sometimes both!
I was very pleased to see that the Narrow-leaved Everlasting-pea (see extra) is having a bumper year with many plants in it's main location, but also healthy flowering plants in at least three other places. This circumboscal species has not done well locally in the last thirty years, and has apparently been lost from several sites. However. it seems to respond very well to ride-side management and can appear after a longish absence.
I'd hoped to see lots of dragonflies round the pond but numbers of most species were rather disappointing. I spotted Brown Hawker and Emperor hunting along the rides and in the meadows, but the main species round the pond was Azure Damselfly, though I eventually found a single male Common Emerald (see extra). Usually there are lots of Ruddy Darter, but it's possible that they're not out yet at this site, which is often later than others due to the cold clay substrate and the fact that the ponds are spring fed, which keeps the water cool.