It has been an amazing week of weather, over 25 degrees. In such glorious sunshine most of the birds take cover in the shade. The insects, however, really come to life.
So, on Monday we took advantage of the good weather and went in search of Northern Colletes mining bee (Colletes Floralis) in the sand dunes to the north of Loch Gruinart Reserve. It is a rare species in the UK, only found in a handful of places - mostly in the Hebrides.
Mandy was quick enough to get a couple of photos - here is the bee itself, its legs covered in pollen. Only a 'wee bee', it ranges from 8mm-12mm. They 'nest' in burrows in the sand.
You can see it emerging in the centre of this photo.
Fortunately for us, the survey for this bee can only be undertaken on a hot, sunny day with little or no wind.
I can think of worse places to stop for lunch!
...to anyone hoping for another thrilling update from Mary's trail cam - you'll just have to make do with some pictures from the Oa today. Out of focus robins and blue tits will return soon, fear not.
A visitor I was speaking to recently described her trip to the reserve as "not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be". I'm looking into making this our official motto.
The first few devil's bit scabious flowers have started to appear in the past few days.
Great numbers of butterflies on the trails today, including this lovely Ringlet that obliged by showing both sides of its wings!
There was this Small Tortoiseshell too which looked lovely with the sun lighting it up.
Not to mention the Common Blue we saw at Ardnave yesterday that looked like it was chased off the thistles by none other than a Small Tortoiseshell! Amazing. Here's a previous photo of one from the reserve.
All good stuff, not least because it's the Big Butterfly Count this month! If you want to take part, follow this link to Butterfly Conservation's http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/. It runs between July 19th and August 10th so why not have a go!