Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rowney Warren and Sandy Smith NR

A late morning visit to Rowney Warren was rewarded with sightings of all five species of over-wintering butterfly.

First was a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) refuelling on a willow:

A male Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) was more intent on subathing than anything else:

Then a treat to see a Peacock (Inachis io), a rarer-than-normal species after last year's poor breeding season:

Commas (Polygonia c-album) were in abundance (well I counted four anyway)...

Also had a couple of sightings of Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), but as at Cooper's Hill last week, they were camera-shy.

I also picked up a queen Dolichovespula saxonica wasp that was lying on her back twitching. I've tried some TLC at home, warming her under my microscope lights and offering diluted honey but there is no feeding response. It's a shame that she survived the tough winter only to probably die now the warmer weather is here, unable to start a nest. (I don't suppose all my readers will feel the same way about a wasp!)

Then on to Sandy Smith Nature Reserve where honey bees (Apis mellifera) were hard at work on a young willow:

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