Thursday 30 March 2017

Seasonal First - Comma

I love this season of 'firsts'. A Comma landed in the garden today in the spring sunshine. May there be many more!

The larvae of this species feed off nettles in areas where hops are not plentiful. Our own wild nettle patch is growing fast and I have been surprised by the number of toadstools it seems to attract!

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Garden 'First' - Brimstone Butterfly


I made my first recording to date of a Brimstone (male) in our garden yesterday. I wondered if I had glimpsed one the day before, but yesterday's was a definite sighting. It perched on our gold Euonymus bush for a couple of seconds, sadly not long enough for me to get my camera into focus, before flying off. But it was there.

The photos above an below were taken on previous occasions and in different places, but they show the difference in colour between the female and the male.

I shall soon be posting an updated garden list of the species I have observed...


Monday 27 March 2017

Seasonal First: Frogspawn in Sudbury

I have been keeping a sharp eye out for my first frogspawn of 2017, and was finally rewarded yesterday afternoon on the meadows bordering the River Stour in Sudbury. The clump had gathered a fair amount of plant material, but despite the bits of weed and reed, the embryo tadpoles were clearly visible. 

I have logged the sighting here (#SpawnSurvey). 

This part of the town was looking particularly lovely with Mallards in the water, a Willow coming into leaf and plenty of Daffodils on the bank.

  • I had a hunch I was a bit late this year. This link will take you to spawn I saw in Felixstowe in 2014, much earlier in March...

Friday 24 March 2017

More insects... and the first daisies

These photos are a bit of a mixed bag, taken in our garden in bursts of sunshine. The wind has been a chilly one, but in sheltered spots, there have been signs of insect life. 

The flowering currant is always a favourite with bees.

The most colourful corner - Flowering Currant and Forsythia

I was delighted to find this little clump of Daisies. May there be many more as the days grow longer. N.B. For those of us in the UK, the clocks change this weekend. 

And a first Dandelion in the garden, emerging round a paving slab.

Friday 17 March 2017

Insects at last!

I love the spring flowers in their own right... 

... but I also love the fact that their pollen attracts insects. 

I have seen a good number of Bumbles this spring, but that may be partly linked to the fact that we took a walk around a favourite churchyard that was carpeted (wall-to-wall) in pale purple crocus last weekend. There were a few primroses, too. The complementary shades of yellow and purple always look good together. I wondered if the bee had a tick on its face, or possibly a lump of pollen, but having done a little reading, I think it may be a mite.

Having enjoyed a walk around NT Ickworth's huge wildflower meadow in the walled garden last summer, I am hoping to respond to one of the BBC Springwatch S.O.S. projects by making my own mini-meadow for wildflowers in a large garden tub. I may also scatter some seeds in our nettle patch to increase the range of wildlife that I hope it will attract. Watch this space!

This little ladybird was strolling about in a shady corner of our door frame. I had to climb in a bush to take the picture - my excuse for the poor quality... I think it may be a Pine Ladybird (can you make out a rim around the outer edge of the elytra?). It was pretty small.

Have a good weekend! 

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Brimstone Butterfly

We saw our first female Brimstone of 2017 last Sunday flitting around the hedge in our church car park. Sadly I did not have my camera with me, so this is a photo from last summer (you can tell the season by the orange Crocosmia, which is not yet in flower!).

Male Brimstones are a distinctive lemon colour and females have a touch of cream about them. I had never made the connection between the word 'butterfly' and the (butter) colour of the Brimstone before.

After a slow start, there are suddenly numerous signs of spring, and I wonder which species of (early) butterfly will cross my path next...