The most obvious event of a trip down to the observatory on the 31st July was a superb influx of insects, with 9000+ 7-spot Ladybirds counted around the observatory and dunes in front of the pines, although the true total will have been considerably higher, as well as 500+ Syrphus ribesii hoverflies, with around 50+ hoverflies of other species also noted. Many species of butterflies were seen coming in off the sea, with 320 Large Whites, 50 Peacocks, 90 Painted Ladies, 20 Red Admirals, 4 Common Blues and 35 Small Tortishells in off the sea and in the dunes, with 30 Small Whites, 25 Small Heaths, 3 Brown Argus, 30 Meadow Browns, 3 Speckled Woods and 1 Gatekeeper around the reserve, as were 20 Common Darters and 10 Migrant Hawkers. The true scale of the ladybird invasion was just awesome, with swarms of 100s regularly moving through the area - I've never seen anything like it! The influx of Ladybirds continued into the next day (1st August) with over 15,000 estimated, together with 1200 Hoverflies, 100+ Painted Ladies, 50 Large Whites, 10 Red Admirals, 20 Peacocks, 5 Small Tortoiseshells and a Common Blue. Birds noted over this period included 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and a 2nd-summer Mediterranean Gull on the beach on the 31st July and a Grey Wagtail on the 1st August.
Words and photos © Connor D. Rand