Thursday, 21 March 2019

First butterfly and reptile

Lots more signs of spring today with the most obvious being me having a sun burnt face (although that doesn’t take too much). A Brimstone butterfly was my first flutterby of the year and an adder my first reptile. Chaffinches have also arrived with singing birds at four sites and Hawfinches and Blackbirds seemed suddenly more numerous.

I have taken the Beast on post-lunch walks in Maridalen the last two days which has been surprisingly successful and I have even been able to take photos which bodes well. Although the lake is still frozen there is enough open water where the two rivers flow in for there now to be waterfowl with Whooper Swans, Canada and Greylag Geese, Mallard and Goldeneye proudly proclaiming that winter is over. The fields are still deep in snow and there are not even small snow free areas for Snow Buntings yet but there should be by next week. On south facing banks though the snow has melted and this is where I saw the adder which showed really well and even slithered from a rock and over some branches above the ground as though it was a tree snake.

Some interesting behaviour, which I have observed once before and in exactly the same trees, was a flock of Waxwings eating bark, lichen and sap from the branches of trees. They must be quite desperate for food at this stage of the spring with no berries left and insects which are there summer food not yet available and lichen seems to be enough to get them by.

here the Waxwings (sidensvans) seem to be taking sap

the left bird is picking at lichen

this one is picking at bark

this one is picking at moss

Long-tailed Tit (stjertmeis)

adder (hoggorm)

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