Mid-March and Spring is progressing nicely
So good to be getting some flowers and wild creatures becoming more apparent and at least one day of warm sunny weather.
Primroses have been showing their bright pale yellow blooms with their two types of flowers. Female ‘pin-eyed‘ flowers have the same stigma (the part that catches pollen) showing in the throat of the flower with the anthers deeper down (image 5). ‘Thrum-eyed‘ flowers have the male pollen-bearing anthers protruding and the stigma deeper down (image 6). This prevents self-pollination and meaning that only insects with a long proboscis (such as beeflies and butterflies) can reach deep down to the nectary at the base of the flower and facilitate pollination.
We have had palmate newts in the pond for some time now (image 7) and the maturing males have been developing their black webbed ‘palmate’ hind feet (image 8). At the moment we see males and females pairing up alongside and twisted around each other ready to lay and fertilise the eggs.
I have been visiting our pond every night on the lookout for the first frogs and last night (15th March), the first two frogs appeared (image 9). Usually the blue-throated males appear first waiting for the brown mottled females but last night our first two were already coupled and so we are hoping for some spawn soon. It can be difficult spotting pond life by day and so going out with a bright torch at night reveals creatures you might never have known were there.
Finally, with warmer weather, insects are appearing. We have had the first buff-tailed bumble-bee queens searching out new nesting sites, the first brimstone butterflies and the first hover-flies. Of the hover-flies we have had the first marmalade hovers and also the first drone flies (image 10) and I look forward to many more species appearing soon.