Wednesday, 12 March 2014

We have lift-off

This is the second day of sunshine and everything has leapt into action.

Along the sheltered ditch I found:

Lesser Celandine:

Lesser Celandine

Coltsfoot:

Coltsfoot
Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage:

Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage

Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage covers the rear wall of ditches and wet banks around here. Here's a habit shot from the back wall of the stream:

Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage on the ditch wall

I also checked the Greater Stitchwort plants just a little further along, but they're still pretending to be blades of grass:

Leaves of Greater Stitchwort
I also hunted for 7-spot ladybirds along the sunnier side of the track and found this single specimen just before the end:

7-spot Ladybird
Back home and I spotted this female Eristalis tenax hoverfly on Dandelion:

Female Eristalis tenax nectaring after emerging from hibernation
Females of Eristalis tenax are the only members of the family to hibernate. Other Eristalis species overwinter as pupae and won't emerge for a few weeks yet. So although the puparium will offer some protection from the cold, the female E. tenax has survived the exposure and now has a head start on getting her eggs laid.


2 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

You are considerably west of us and presumably lower to sea level Stuart. Here only the lesser celandine is showing her face in the lovely sunshine. Usually the next to appear is the marsh marigold - she is in bud. I only know of one patch of coltsfoot - I passed the spot this morning - no sign.

stuart dunlop said...

Weaver, we're actually very high here: highest town in Ireland (265m). Things at sea level tend to be about 10 days ahead of my local stuff. The main difference between east and west is the Atlantic vs. North Sea, as I found out when we moved from West to East as a child. I often swam in the sea in the west, but when I jumped into the North Sea I thought I was going to die!

Interesting about Marsh Marigold: it's locally known as May Flower, and people used to throw its flowers onto the roof of their house on May 1st for good luck.