Bring me Sunshine

April was cold and very dry with a record number of frosts.  May has been cold and very wet/windy.  Only one day this month has the temperature got in the high teens centigrade compared to twenty last year.  Not the spring I was hoping for when I took early retirement.  But nature is resilient, It has to be to survive.  Given a good day butterflies will appear and eggs will be laid, maybe not as many but just enough to ensure a future generation.

Sunday Stroll

We took a walk with Rose and Mick and chanced the forecast.  Our route, to the west of town, was quite familiar during this pandemic.  Ominous black clouds to the west, cracks of thunder, yet it rolled on by and not a drop fell.  It was a lovely morning.

Comma (Polygonia c-album) on daisies. I really enjoy getting down to ground level and being amongst nature
Say “hello” to an Early Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa)
A female Orange-tip carefully lays an egg under the flower head of Garlic Mustard. Only one egg will be laid per plant as the caterpillars are cannibalistic
Another Andrena Bee. This is a male and several species look similar

Searching for Skippers

Every year in early May I try and get across the County to Breckland.  It is here, at only two sites, that Norfolk’s rarest and smallest butterfly can be found.  As I approached Foulden Common it was obvious there had been a good helping of the wet stuff.  However the sky was clearing, sun appearing and after an hour long drive I was going to make the most of it.  This year I didn’t have my extra pair of eyes, Mrs H was at work, so I had to carefully scan the ground alone.  As it warmed up the butterflies emerged from wherever they had sheltered for the night.  Brimstones, Orange-tips, Small Coppers, Peacocks and Speckled Wood.  Then, suddenly, what I was searching for.  A tiny dark butterfly flew up to chase a smaller, greyer variety, a Dingy Skipper seeing off a Grizzled Skipper, my target.  In all I saw four Grizzles, not many but at least they are still surviving.

Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) at Foulden Common. With wings open barely an inch across, like a miniature chessboard
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) form punctata, on a Cow Slip at Foulden

Pond Update

It’s all systems go at the garden pond.  Every time I turn my back it seems another dragonfly has emerged!  I’ve still yet to see the actual breaking free of the exuvia but there’s plenty of time.  The total now is 3 Broad-bodied Chasers, 1 Four-spotted Chaser and 5 Large Red Damselflies.  The rains have left the pond brimful and all the new arrivals have had to bide their time to take flight.

After sitting out strong winds and an overnight downpour this Four-spotted Chaser has a chance to spread it’s wings and dry out

For the weekend and beyond the forecast is for proper spring weather, bring me sunshine!

44 thoughts on “Bring me Sunshine

  1. You really are a remarkably talented photographer, Brian. Beautifully done photographs, each and every one of them. And nice to see you’re making the best of your trips into the fields despite the weather making it hard for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A very kind comment Dries. As you know, as much as anyone, photographing wildlife requires a huge amount of luck. We are fortunate to have digital cameras now so we are not limited to the number of shots we can fire off, this is a huge help.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow, every images are stunning! What a great day of insect hunting! I love the Polygonia and the Skipper. Both of which I’ve never seen before.

    Our May has been a little wet, but big time windy! I’m not seeing any Dragonfly’s yet or many butterflies hopefully that will pick up as it gets warmer.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, Brian, for sharing so much beauty!

    Congratulations on the Grizzled Skipper! I guess I’ll have to travel to the U.S. west coast (or maybe the U.K) to glimpse that stunning Orange-tip.

    The Chaser coming to life in your garden – well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

    We have plenty of sun to spare, please take some! Just to our south, they have declared a water emergency as drought conditions persist. Should be getting our rainy season start next week.

    Have a terrific weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Had no idea Orange Tip caterpillars were cannibalistic. Will never look at them in the same way again. Thought all caterpillars were vegan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very nice set of shots B! Always jealous at the variety of butters you have over there (we make up for it in Warblers). Stunning bee shots and my favorite was the last dragon – looked like it was pulling the leaf down as protection from the rain!

    Liked by 1 person

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