Rabbits, an admiral, some deer, brown hares, birds of prey, newts, some moths and a ladybird.
And so the awful weather has continued, ten days after the Spring Equinox and it has been rain, more rain, and cold winds. We had one warm afternoon that got the primroses giving off their strong scent but not long enough to attract any pollinating insects. One brighter day, I took the opportunity to venture out of the parish in search of brown hares which do not seem to mind the weather and, despite the weather even a few moths were attracted to the moth trap.
We see Rabbits on the village green, but they are so sensitive to people and dogs that getting close to them is difficult. This rabbit stayed still long enough for a quick shot from the entrance stile (image 1). A short bright spell brought out this Red Admiral butterfly on the village green, awoken from hibernation by the sudden but short warmth (image 2).
Looking out of our window, I spotted this Kestrel hovering close; a quick call to Mary to come and see and a dash upstairs to grab the camera, insert a memory card and back down and out and across the road and secured some nice pics, here is one of them (image 3). I succeeded in capturing a glint in the kestrel’s eye, something that bird photographers attempt to catch.
My first venture along the lanes between Stroud and East Meon on a dull, wet and misty day provided a group of Roe Deer on the distant horizon (image 4) with twenty distant Brown Hares in the same field. A second visit on a drier slightly brighter day, found a few Red Kites (image 5) and a Buzzard (image 6) but only five Brown Hares in the same field as before, but some were close enough for a few pics (images 7 and 8). Some Hares were chasing and one pair had a very brief box but mostly they were grazing or simply resting in the field. Wild Isles on BBC1 had a splendid video of boxing hares.
Our Frogs, after their spawning activity, have now left but Palmate Newts continue to be seen with the males holding on to the females and wafting pheromones over them with their tails (image 9) encouraging them to shed their eggs.
Moths have been few in the trap but each day seems to bring something new for the year. Some nice moths have included the Engrailed (image 10), the Shoulder Stripe (image 11), the Early Thorn (which keeps its wings closed like a butterfly) (image 12), the Brindled Beauty (image 13, and a great surprise has been both typical and melanic forms of the Oak Beauty (image 14). Wikipedia claims that the dark melanic form has not been seen in the UK and the Hampshire county moth recorder informs me that there is no record of them in Hampshire (a first county record then and in Stroud). A notable moth trap intruder was this Seven-spot Ladybird (image 15).
Crane-fly. The light trap caught a rather fine little crane fly. This is Tipula rufina (image 12) with long legs, patterned wings and characteristic black side stripes on each side of the thorax; a relative of the larger daddy-long-legs that appear later in the year.
Finally, sitting at my desk, I spotted this tiny spider running past my keyboard. I managed to identify this as one of the small Clubionid Sac Spiders and in this case Clubiana comta (image 16). A clue to this spider’s identification came with looking at the eyes, eight even-sized eyes, six in row and two above (image 17). I read that this tiny spider is more associated with trees and bushes or on the ground and where the females lay their eggs in small silken ‘sacs’. I was surprised to see this little spider jump about 6cm when the camera came too close, they must have really strong legs. These spiders are not usually found in houses and so this spider most likely came in with the firewood.