Possibly the hottest day of the year today with the temperature reaching 21.0° C at 13:00. Where better then to spend my lunch time than wandering around Area 10 and the car park area at Dinton Pastures off Sandford Lane. It lived up to my expectations with 6 species of Butterflies seen in 40 mins. This included 3 new ones for the year, a male Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines, Small White Pieris rapae and a Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta.The Orange-tip is a true sign of spring, being one of the first species to emerge that has not overwintered as an adult. Also seen were Comma Polygonia c-album and when you see the underside of the wing, you can see where it got its name, Brimstone Gonepteryx rhammi and Peacock Aglais io.
A quick lunchtime stop at Area 10 and the car park area at Dinton Pastures off Sandford Lane. A Common Pond Skater Gerris lacustrisappeared on my windscreen. Picture taken from the inside of the car.
Not a lot in the moth trap tonight in Area 5.3 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi and 2 Hebrew Charecter Orthosia gothica
Also seen was what I believe to be a Migrant Hoverfly Eupeodes corollae .
In my Area 5 garden this afternoon a Peacock Aglais io Butterfly put in a brief appearance.
In Area 10 this afternoon a Comma Polygonia c-album was sunning itself on the Brambles near Lavells Lake.A FOTEB first for the year.In Area 3 a 7 spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctawas seen in the sun. Ladybirds spend the winter asleep or ‘dormant’ nestled in dense vegetation or bark crevices to protect them from the worst of the weather.
With the temperature hitting 16.1° C today, It was no suprise that Butterflies were on the wing .In Area 10 at 12:00 a magnificent Brimstone Gonepteryx rhammi and a Peacock Aglais io were seen near a flowering Blackthorn Tree, a first for the year for FOTEB . A Peacock Butterfly was also seen by Fraser Cottington a bit later across the Car Park field. Also seen was what could have only have been an Early Bumblebee Bombus pratorum its red tail sets it apart at this early time of the year from the Red-tailed Bumblebee usually seen from May onwards.
The moth trap went on for the first time overnight this year in Area 5.The total tally was a solitary Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi
. The single generation flies in March and April, when it is often attracted to light.The foodplants of the larvae are Oak, Willow and other deciduous trees.
In Area 5 a Buff- tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris
was seen flying from underneath my front hedge.
Appropriately on the first day of Spring the Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus is back in my Area 5 garden. Picked up on the webcam at 22:45. Not much of a hibernation as it was last seen on 09/01/17.
In Area 4 in the Balancing Pond, Frog Spawn is in the channel this is the spawn of the Common Frog Rana temporaria The frogspawn that you see floating in ponds is made up of thousands of single eggs, each one having a tiny black tadpole embryo surrounded in jelly. Frogs lay so many eggs because as they do not look after their young most do not survive to adulthood. From the three thousand eggs that one female lays, only around five will become adult frogs. The rest of the eggs or tadpoles may be eaten by birds, fish, newts, water beetles, dragonflies or simply dry up before hatching. At first each tadpole embryo will eat the jelly that is around it until it is ready to hatch.
In Area 5 what appears to be some of the largest mole hills ever, seem to have appeared created by a busy Mole Talpia euroapaea Moles are industrious diggers and can create 20m of tunnel per day. They leave characteristic mounds of earth on the surface as they excavate their tunnels. Large chambers within the tunnel system are lined with dry grass and used for nesting during periods of rest. Moles feed mainly on earthworms, but they also eat a variety of other invertebrates, as well as snakes and lizards. They inhabit deciduous woodland, grassland and farmland - wherever the soil is deep enough for tunnelling.