Towards the end of my transect I saw a Peacock butterfly flying towards a small group of trees. It was too far away to count on my transect, but I noticed another large, dark butterfly flying out of the trees. I thought it was worth investigating, so I took a slight detour to have a look.
I was surprised to see a Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, sitting on a branch of an Oak tree.
I don't know if they were able to reach in to find sap, or if there was moisture from the dead wood at that point, but they all seemed very possessive of their own little spot.
Quite often they were buzzed by a wasp causing them to fly off, but they would always return to the same spot.
There were a couple of other Oak trees in the group of trees, but they didn't appear to be attractive to the Red Admirals.
I am sure I have read somewhere about Red Admirals being seen on the trunks of Oak trees. I will have to do a little research and see if I can find out more.
Two of our volunteers also reported low numbers on their butterfly transects this week. Certainly when I was out and about I didn't see very many butterflies, although there were good numbers of Wall Browns along the coastal path. I have also received reports of a lot of Speckled Woods in some woodland sites, so it seems that some species are doing better than others.