As had been hoped for in my last post I got the chance to switch to the macro lens for the first time this year. Last Thursday was sunny and warm (out of the easterly breeze) so we decided on another stroll around the edge of town taking in a small wood, adjoining a housing estate, that I had not been to before. The butterflies were out to greet us, not in great numbers yet but spring is only just kicking off.
There are five species of UK butterfly which spend the winter in adult (imago) form in what we call ‘hibernation’. They are actually in a state of dormancy or diapause. The beautiful Small Tortoiseshells are a joy to see and several were enjoying a drop of nectar. A big surprise was a small plain white butterfly on a roadside verge. I had to do a double take. This was a species not awakened from it’s winter slumbers but one that hatches from a pupa usually in April! Why so early? We have not had any sustained high temperatures, in my view, to trigger the hatching process. This species is also known to migrate from the Continent, so that’s a possibility but unlikely.
There were a lot of Peacocks lapping up the sun and indulging in territorial battles with whoever flies by. Also spotted were the first Commas of the year adding a touch of bright orange to the hedgerow. Not just butterflies though. Hoverflies and bees were noted. One species of bee caught my eye. It was very small and several were attracted to a sunny, sandy bank. I posted some images to a specialist fb group and it was identified as male Andrena clarkella, a species of mining bee and new to me.
We shall be off to Berlin in a weeks time, hopefully the weather is as kind and we can enjoy a bit of spring in the German capital with our daughter.