28th April I saw my first Speckled Wood this year, bringing the total of different ones to six so far – Brimstone, Comma, Tortoiseshell. Peacock, Orange Tip, and the Speckled Wood of course.
The Orange Tip leads nicely to some of the recent flowers, the orange tip larva feed on the Cuckoo Flower and Garlic Mustard amongst other flowers. The larvae are cannibals, so the Orange Tip makes surer it only lays one egg per plant – seems sensible to me.
Other flowers providing early nectar and pollen are Bugle, White Dead Nettle and Bluebells
Ive been around Wimpoles woodland for 30 years and it was only two years ago that I saw my first bluebells there. Since then they have been popping up everywhere along with the Wood Anemones and Helleborine Orchids.
Both male and female Marsh Harriers seem to be settling in although the female hasn’t started ‘sitting’ yet.
The fox vixen filmed at the badger sett last week was out walking across the fields. I’m pretty sure its the same one as it was heading again towards the Badger Sett
Cameras out tonight so I hope I’ll get some good shots of the Badgers .
The warmish days have produced the next butterfly to show – The Orange Tip, plenty of these about along with the Peacocks, Tortoise Shells, Commas and Brimstones.
Male Orange Tip Butterfly
For some time I’ve been waiting for the return of the Little Owls that nest by the “community Farm veg plot”
Well here’s one of the prospective parents who has just showed him or herself
On the flower front there are masses of cowslips and celandines, Wild Arum and finally lovely patches of Ground Ivy, a weed in your garden but nice in the wild.
Victoria drive is again showing a very good number of Fritillaries shortly I hope to be followed by Common Spotted, Bee and Pyramidial orchids
The Infra Red Cameras did a good job at the Gloucesters’ badger set, not a great deal of badgers but get the Fox and Muntjac deer. The badgers obviously doesn’t want to entertain his vistors, the fox looks like a young vixen, the deer looks a little weak on the back legs
I woke early today well before dawn and out I went as it was misty, this is a photo well before Sunrise followed by a dramatic sunrise looking towards Cambridge Later I went down to the Bason Reed bed to see the Marsh Harriers and to my surprise, flashing blue along the River Cam (Rhee) was a Kingfisher, I must go and sit for a few hours to see if its resident in the area. The Swans are still looking good on the river bank and the male Harrier was circling around the reed bed. At last I’ve seen a reed bunting no doubt more will turn up.
There are several trees around the reed bed including, as one would expect , Willow. The tree was alive with Honey and
Bumblebees accompanied by Peacock and Tortoise Shell butterflies, valuable nectar and source of pollen, just look at the bees pollen sacs.
No photo but important to report the arrival of my first Swallow of the year 10th April 20 .
With no apologies but heres a couple more photos of the Cobbs Wood Barn Owls
The marsh harrier lives for around six years although some may last considerably longer, they are not sexually mature until around two to three years old. I’ve been watching these birds for around eleven years, so 3 + 6 = 9 – so they’re doing quite well unless of course they have ‘re-paired’. The photos are not brilliant but their date of arrival needs recording.
The usual pair of swans have also arrived on the River Rhee ( Cam ) and the pen is already sitting. I hope there’s not a major rainfall to flood her off the nest.
5pm on 4th April one of the Cobbs Wood Barn Owls was out hunting. A bit early as its broad daylight, usually they hunt at dusk but this happens when they have young to feed and need to collect a lot of ‘Baby Food’
Hopefully more to follow
Over the past week or so the winds have been coming from a Northerly Direction and blowing quite hard, so the wind chill factor has been high. On Thursday, 2nd April, we had a change to the South and it was a pleasure to see some butterflies at last, several tortoise shells, a Peacock and the second Brimstone that I’ve seen this year. I spent the afternoon fishing and saw several Bee flies out. They look very dangerous with their permanently stiff, sticking out proboscis, but they are quite harmless.
One plant already mentioned, the violet, there seem to be huge numbers wherever I look, woodland edges, woodland rides, right in the woods some field margins. A good sign for the fritillary butterflies.
And here’s a photo of a much ignored arable weed, the red dead nettle, a good early nectar plant for bees.