Friday, 21 March 2014

Basking Slow Worm

A bit too cold today despite the sunshine for finding many insects, but I did try a spot at Rowney Warren that I sometimes find slow worms basking, and came up trumps again at about 3:15.

I think this is a male (no dorsal stripe, flanks not significantly darker than dorsal surface, head width broad, stocky, no significant tapering behind the vent (although this one has lost some of its tail in the past))? c.f.  http://kbalmer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/basking-slow-worm.html photogaphed at the same location last year and which I think is a female.



Didn't get a great shot of the tongue when it eventually slinked off, reactions being too slow...


Monday, 17 March 2014

Where do bright yellow butterflies hide?

You may have wondered how bright yellow male Brimstones can hide themselves from predators. Well, they go into brambles, evergreens, shrubbery or hedgerows and hang below leaves pretending to be foliage, where their distinctive wing-shape look like drip-tips of leaves. Their undersides are greener than the yellow upperside (which gives the bright yellow colour in flight) so they become remarkably difficult to find. I saw this one disappear into a bramble patch today when the sun went in and had to look hard to find it, the wing-shape finally revealing the location.


Not sure what Blogger has done to the colours, they aren't this lurid on the image that I uploaded.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Comma refuelling

Comma on blackthorn blossom at Stanford Wood...

Toad-fest

A selection of the hundreds of common toads in the large pond at Stanford Wood today...






Mole Paw/Hand

The front right paw (hand?) of a deceased mole I found today at Stanford Wood...


Flies had already started to lay eggs on the carcase so I'll spare you the other pictures.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Second day out

Three more butterfly species seen today. The Brimstones were too flighty to be photographed, but was able to snap a Small Tortoiseshell:

and a Peacock:

In total I saw 53 butterflies: 20 male and 1 female Brimstones, 17 Small Tortoiseshells, 13 Peacocks and 2 Commas. Not bad for 9th March!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

First day out

My first real outing of 2014 took me first to Cooper's Hill. Nice to see a Green Tiger Beetle, a solitary solitary bee, and a Bombus lapidarius bumblebee, which cunningly all evaded the camera, but while looking at the remains of a recently felled young birch noted a large pupa laying on the surface between the stumps. It is 35mm long so will eventually produce a large moth, but I haven't determined which yet...


Then on to Sandy Smith NR. A lot of honey bees on young willow blossom and a single Bombus terrestris bumblebee. A brief search for Bee Orchids quickly identified six plants, all grazed to ground level presumably by rabbits. In the old orchard I finally encountered my first butterfly of the year, a Comma...


Sadly the day wasn't as warm or sunny as the forecasters had led me to expect, so slightly disappointing, but nice to be able to shake off a bit of cabin fever none-the-less. A warm sunny day is forecast for tomorrow...