Friday 1 May 2020

Spring regardless of human woes

Early afternoon on the last day of April.

I hadn't been out for a walk for a few days, as most of my energy was being spent on gardening, either mowing grass or removing topsoil from the proposed pond site and spreading it on the new veg plot. That sounds busier than it actually was, there were many tea breaks, and possibly cake.

However, yesterday, between showers there was a lovely period of sunshine, so I set off around the kirk loop for some fresh air and to give my aching back a rest.

There were a few insects buzzing about the verges along the road towards Greenwall, but nothing too exciting or sufficiently stationary to identify. Then I had a spot of luck, when a Peacock butterfly fluttered by and landed on a patch of warm earth. This was only my second 'flutter' of the year and my first of this species.

As the road sloped downhill towards Greenwall, I noticed an insect on a Dandelion. Not a bumblebee, not a hoverfly, but could it be a honey bee? One of our neighbours has recently acquired a hive, and there was a possibility that this could be one of hers, making an exploratory foraging journey. Later, recourse to a map put the distance at 1km.

On past Greenwall, and I could hear a Linnet singing away for all he was worth. My sonar's not great, but after looking this way and that for a few befuddled moments, eventually I found him, perched on a wire above me.

As I turned right onto the Tieve Road, I met an obliging queen bumblebee, another insect making use of the plentiful Dandelions. She's either a White-tailed or a Buff-tailed, probably more likely the latter.

In the kirkyard, a pair of Meadow Pipits were perched together on a gravestone, giving me a moment of consternation as I pondered whether they were Rock Pipits.

Despite the lack of rain, there are still pools in the flooded fields, offering foraging opportunities in the shallow water and muddy edges. I counted five Mallard ducklings and a lone Lapwing.

There were still a couple of Sandwich Terns in the bay, but the tide was out, so their waterside perch was well beyond camera range.

Climbing back up the hill from the shore, I had stopped to watch a Brown Hare, who was tucked into a south-facing slope and basking in the sunshine. As I lowered my bins, I realised there were some new flowers in bloom in the wetter part of the meadow, Lady's Smock or Cuckooflower. The floral palette is just beginning to turn from yellow to pink.

Another possible honey bee was spotted as I went up Cornquoy Road, this one a bit nearer to home, I'd say.

And the final wildlife moment of the walk was this wolf spider, later identified by local expert L as from the Genus Pardosa. I can't help thinking that for an ambush predator, this wolf spider is not going to have much luck. Perhaps it was just sunning itself?


Coastal Ripples said...

Some lovely spots on your walk. I’m always amazed at how far north Peacock butterfly’s get to. They are a hardy species. Mainly whites and speckled woods at the moment here. Saw the first Red Admiral a week ago. B

Imperfect and Tense said...

One day last Summer, I saw seven whole species along the verge of a particular track! I need to remember and go there again.