12.30 - 13.30. Rats Castle Bottom has been heavily grazed, so spent most of visit in the other half of the reserve, where most butterflies were seen. Lots of SCs. Unlike at Throope visited earlier in morning, there are few rabbit scrapes on the main herb-rich south-facing slope. Instead, the SCs appeared to be using the tops of the many ant nest mounds, which have become parched and desiccated during the summer heatwave, to similar effect, to warm up when the sun retreated behind the clouds. CB and SC mating pairs seen. Disappointingly no ST despite it being close to peak Devil's bit.
Walking along the Ox Drove from Throope Down (Faulstone Down Farm) to Middleton Down several large expanses of ivy are now flowering and swarming with bees, but relatively few butterflies seen taking advantage: 5 Spw , 4 RA, 2 GVW, 5 C, 1 LW, 1 P.

Simon Crampin