Sunday, 11 April 2010

Hot Spot

I went to a spot that's usually very good at this time of year (south-west facing vertical banking below a hawthorn hedge) . It proved to be a good choice.

As soon as I saw this little (12mm) hoverfly, I knew she was new to me. She appears to be a female Melangyna, and a couple of microscopic features suggest Melangyna lasiopthalma. Since this would be a first Irish record, I need to go back and get some more solid evidence.

This Small Tortoiseshell was basking and feeding on the Lesser Celandines. It seems in pretty good condition, considering it has overwintered in those freezing conditions:

Common Fumitory - Fumaria officinalis - adds a splash of pink to the predominantly yellow verge:

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the tight threads that pull the Coltsfoot head into a downward-facing position. Here's a shot that shows the process:

Primroses were visible in a more sheltered part of the bank:

The queen bumblebees are getting very heavy already, and this B. cryptarum was clumsily crashing from flower to flower. Some appeared unable to fly at all and simply crawled from one flower to the next. I presume her nest is within walking distance!

The fungal rusts don't waste any time. The leaves are quite fresh and already the yellow spots of Uromyces dactylidis are clearly visible on Celandine leaves:

Yet another new member of the Orthosia family, the Clouded Drab - Orthosia incerta - came to light last night. Guess which pollen it eats....

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