At long last, the day finally arrived! I saw my first butterfly of the year, a smart male Brimstone, gracing our garden yesterday.
But there were other sights to catch my attention as I took a careful look around this morning. One of these was the bee you see in the photo above and in the photo below.
I watched as the bee squeezed herself in and out of the curled leaf. I know little about bees, but I am guessing she was a queen bumblebee, and that she had passed the winter hibernating in the patch of leaf litter. I spent several minutes watching her.
Something else 'bee-like' stopped me in my tracks. It was what I think may be a Red-mason bee, though, as ever, please correct me by leaving a comment.
As you can see in the photo above, this little bee was soon joined by a much more ferocious-looking insect (is it a wasp or a wasp-mimic?). I waited to see what would happen next, and after just a few short seconds, the bee took off.
It seems to have been a good day for bees here. Look at the golden pollen in this Honeybee's 'saddlebags'!
I have not been able to identify the fly in the photo above yet, but wonder if it is a Soldier Fly. Update: it's hard to see what lies under the wings, but I'm wondering if this is more likely to be Meliscaeva auricollis.
Let's have a brief 'insect interlude' to make way for the cheering sight of this blossom. I love seeing the colourful flowers once again.
But, of course, it's not just the plants that bring colour. The photos below show the distinctive reds and oranges of our 7-spot Ladybirds. The one in the next photo has an unusual mark on its elytra. There are certainly two, and probably three, 7-spots in the second picture, along with a Pine Ladybird.
I was delighted to discover more Violets in the garden this morning. And finally, what a joy it was to see the Brimstone, even if I was unable to take its photograph. I saw the one below in 2019.
I see I have almost completed a year of the Butterfly Conservation Garden Butterfly Survey. Having failed to spot any butterflies in January and February a year ago, I began to log my sightings at end of March 2020.