Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Basking in sunshine

An Article by Heather Martin

It's not just us humans who enjoy being out and about in the glorious weather we are experiencing at the moment!

Small clouds of Orange Underwing moths (Archiearis parthenias) have been fluttering around the tops of birch trees in our wood.
Occasionally in the afternoon they come down to rest on the ground.
This Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) spent several minutes basking on a log pile.

Hearing the sound of hoverflies buzzing close by is synonymous with the arrival of warm Spring days to me. Towards late afternoon this Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax) was content to rest motionless on the wall of our log shelter. The first generation appear to be much hairier than those that emerge later in the year.

Nearby sat a Bee-fly (Bombylius major) so called becuse of its furry appearance. The insect sucks nectar through its long, rigid proboscis and makes a high-pitched whine as it hovers in the sunshine. It is a parasite of solitary bees and wasps.

A Case-bearing beetle larva belonging to the leaf beetle Chrysomelidae family, was spotted climbing a birch trunk. It's 'mobile home' is made from its own faeces.

The larva of this Taleporia tubulosa moth wasn't going anywhere, safely enclosed in a case produced from fragments of sand, bark or lichen bound by silk, attached to a hornbeam trunk.
We found a handsome green and brown Diaea dorsata spider hiding in a dormouse nestbox - not everything likes to sunbathe!

And finally, Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterillis) plants have begun to bloom along the tracks through the wood.

All pictures Heather Martin 26/03/2012

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