We are so close to spring now here in the U.K. that you can almost smell it but winter seems intent on holding us in its icy grip for as long as possible. With that in mind,I've decided for the purposes of this update, we are already there. We have been promised temperatures in double figures by the end of the week and so who knows...
Click any photo to view on black
|A Six-spot Burnet Moth|
Burnet moths,unlike most others , come out in the daytime. They are safe from predators like birds because they taste horrible and are slightly poisonous. They advertise this fact with their striking colours.
I shall be looking for these again come June-August on hot, sunny days when they'll be feeding on knapweed and scabious.
A month earlier in May, we should start to see the first,early common blue butterflies..
|A Common Blue Butterfly|
I think this one above is a male. I'm crossing my fingers for a much better year this time around as last year I saw only a tiny percentage of the numbers I expected.
With any luck,these will be around in numbers locally in grassy areas,meadows and woodland clearings from May through to September at least.
|An early morning 'blue' covered in dew|
Here's another shot taken early morning, one of my very favourite times to be out with the camera...
|A Springtail (Collembola)|
From memory I am fairly sure this one is Pogonognathellus longicornis, the longest springtail in the UK with the longest name. Looking at the antennae here it seems to fit but I haven't photographed any for a while now and I'm always dubious of relying on memory alone.
|A Meadow Brown Butterfly|
The meadow brown is one of our commonest butterflies through the summer months and can be found in most parts of the British Isles.
Females are larger than males but males darker than the females. I am forever being told about 'black' butterflies that folks have spotted in summertime and in reality, it always turns out to be a male meadow brown.
Of the many ladybirds to be found in my little corner of Kent, this one, the little 22-spot is a favourite of mine. At just 3-4mm they are one of the smaller beetles and although named 22 spot, they can have 20, 21, or 22 spots.
I think I'm correct in also saying that the pronotum can be white or yellow in this species.
Next up is one of our common bugs...
|A Green-shield Bug|
Palomena prasina, the green shieldbug can be found throughout the year but may be harder to spot in winter as it acquires a brown coat until spring when it reverts to green.
They can often be seen sitting in the sun on the leaves of bramble, nettle, hazel or dock. hey feed on sap and unripe seeds.
Supposed to give off a nasty smell to deter predators (something I've never witnessed myself) they are also sometimes called stinkbugs.
|A nest of baby spiders|
Now this one pictured above I'm not too sure of at all. I am assuming it's one of the larger ants, formica species possibly? But just not confident of an identity for this one. I found it sitting on a fence post beside local woodland.
|A male Ghost Moth|
To complete this little taste of spring/summer, here's a fantastic British moth called a ghost moth. Again, this is a fairly common species and can be seen flying at dusk during June & July. How can I be sure this is a male? Well because only the males are white, females being yellow marked with orange.
Until the next time then...