Friday, 7 April 2017

7th April - And Yet I'll Gaze [at]...

Again despite the forecast of overcast conditions the morning dawned clear and sunny.  Overnight I had put the moth trap out.  It has been a temptation for a while, but with little flowers around it seemed pointless.  Now we have lavender, and plenty of blossom on the trees so I thought there could be a chance something was about.

First up was a new moth to the garden, a Streamer, normally found early in the season flying between April and May.  It inhabits hedgerows, and feeds on dog rose of which we have none!



The others I have caught before, but it was nice to find some variation once again that comes from the unseen moths.  This is an Early Grey



While this the Quaker, quite common at this time of year.



Another common moth to traps is the hebrew Character, which can be found through out the year.



And then a moth that is always welcome the Brindled Beauty.



With spectacular antenna



The mealworms are still a major attraction, the House Sparrows must now have young because like last year the male is a frequent visitor to the tray, and he takes them away to the roof of the house across the road.  The Blackbirds will come, but it is the Robins that have become characters.

We know there is definitely one pair, and that they probably have young in a nest in the garden across the road, I have watched one fly in there.  On the other side I am not sure if there is a pair.

However, immediately you open the back door a Robin is there staring at you.



Checking the tray.



If there is nothing there it adopts a sad look!



But as soon as the worms are put out its down to pick them up.



They don't go far, and as you pass a window you will almost always see one, this time on the fence.



I opened the window, and the sound of the camera made it adopt a defensive position, crouching.



And then checking what it or who it was.



And on seeing that it was me adopting that pleading look once more.



They are extremely welcome little visitors, and bring a lot of joy watching them.

At lunchtime I decided to go up to the pond.  At this time the sun warms up the flower beds and it can be a good source for insects and butterflies.  It didn't take long to find one of my targets the Bee Fly, nectaring around the Periwinkle.



Seen mainly in spring, it is a strange looking insect, with a hairy body.  It has a long proboscis that it inserts into the flower to take nectar.



There was bird song all around me, and one in particular stood out, that of the Blackcap.  I finally managed to find the owner in amongst the emerging leaves of a Hawthorn bush.



It then came out into the open to give some far better views, and to sing.





At that moment a male Brimstone flew through, and fortunately landed on the Periwinkle.



I decided to walk on, but stopped to search for a singing Wren, that finally appeared in amongst the old Iris leaves.



The beauty of having worked the patch for so long is that I know where there is likely to be something of interest.  So I walked on and then into the field that was facing south, and immediately found two butterflies, a Brimstone and a female Orange Tip the first of the year.



The white flew off, but the Brimstone remained and I could get closer.



I walked on and finally caught up with the female Orange Tip on a Field Mouse Ear.



Back at the pond a Chiffchaff was singing.  There were two around and for a short while they led me a merry dance, but I finally managed to get good views of one in amongst the blossom.



Sitting nicely as it looked around it for any opportunity of an insect.



I walked back to the flower bed, and found a Peacock sunning on the grass.



As I was about to leave I heard the song of a Firecrest at the back of the pond.  I made my way around and managed to get very brief glimpses of two birds, clearly a pair.  Unfortunately I could spend too long as I had to get back, but I will return.

The Firecrests were not the only interesting calls I could hear, above me a Stock Dove called and from the direction of the wood I could hear the calls of the Raven pair.

As I drove away a male Orange Tip flew up from the Cuckoo flower, and went away beyond the hedge, very frustrating.  I waited to see if it would return but there was no sign of it.

Back home the garden was proving to be as interesting.  Bees were taken by the lovely blossom of the Amelanchier Trees.



I would keep popping out to see if there was anything about, a Red Admiral flew through but never stopped.  Then I caught sight of a small blue butterfly, it had to be a Holly Blue, and it was.  Fortunately it could not resist the Amelanchier blossom.



Holly Blues have not been regular over the years, and it is really a case of being in the right place at the right time.  This was a day later than the earliest I have seen and it was lovely to see.



The trees were covered with insects.  The emerging leaves on the red Acer were of interest to the first wasps of the year.



The weather looks set fair for the rest of the weekend, and this I am sure will further enhance the colour of spring.  It has been a great week with some interesting first for the year.

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