Nature Notes – April 2020

Time outdoors is minimal at the moment but rides to and from work resulted in a few sightings and the birds being fed. Isn’t this a good time though to appreciate green areas and realise what therapeutic and necessary places they are. Hopefully when we are through this testing period we can all do a bit more for that which is the purest lifeline.

The 7th was the first time day of the month I spent any real time mooching, I was rewarded with 3 species of butterfly, these being a busy little Small White (Pieris rapae); a gliding and resting Comma (Polygonia c-album) and a trio of busy Peacocks (Aglais io). Outdoing these winged gems though was a bonanza of Ashy Grey Mining Bees (Andrena cineraria) who were back in their usual spot and burrowing away with great ardour – what a marvellous little community these creatures make. 1 Alder Leaf Beetle (Agelastica alni) was spied and the year’s first Common Nettle Bug (Liocoris tripustulatus) was picked out on Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) of course.

The 8th saw 9 Sand Martins (Riparia riparia) return to their old nesting site with a few male Mallards (Anas platyrhyncus) floating by and a Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) watching the overhead aerial display. Goosegrass (Galium aparine) was now in flower and sporting the gall (Cecidophyes rouhollahi.

A singing male Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) was a delight to see in the orchard whilst I scattered some food for the tweeters on the 9th day of the month. The air was clean and other birds were joining in the vocal orgy – it is amazing what a change around has been had of late and how it has been proven that we can make for a better future. Amongst several insect sightings the Mining Bee (Andrena ntida) was a personal new sighting and it goes without saying that 8 Orange Tips (Anthocharis cardamines) were utterly drooled over. It was good to smell the musky leaves of Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) and notice the fine embryonic structures of Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) on what was a very dazzling day.

The 14th saw re-check an Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria) colony and note the impish parasitic blighters known as Nomad Bees (Nomada goodeniana) buzzing within the mix.

On the 16th, despite the weather still radiating positivity the best thing I could find was the cute tinker known as the Common Nettle Bug (Liocoris tripustulatus).

On the 21st I found time to have a quick nosey around the fishing pond and was rewarded with the first Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) – their shimmering wings were really catching the light as these newly emerged wonders flitted around the nearby Bramble (Rubus sp) patch.

The 23rd saw me cycle on through with the eyes as keen as ever. An area by the river saw Dame’s Violet (Hesperis matronalis); Large Bittercress (Cardamine amara) and Shining Crane’s-Bill (Geranium lucidum) adding a superb clash of colour and I found the year’s first Alder Fly (Sialis lutaria) – these are quite prehistoric insects.

Alder Fly (Sialis lutaria)

The end of the month soon came, despite the days being tilted and seemingly lengthened. A few galls were picked out on the 28th, these were Eriophyes sorbi; Aceria macrochela; Eriophyes tiliae; Eriophyes leiosoma; Eriophyes similis and Aceria pseudoplatani. I do like the mysterious world of plant galls, they are an added and very much overlooked dimension to nature.

The month ended with a short pootle on the 30th whilst clouds gathered in the distance. A sunny patch saw me pick out 6 species of hoverfly with Leucozona glaucia looking quite dapper. I also saw a couple of new annual insects, these being the Noon Fly (Mesembrina meridiana); The Tachnid Fly (Tachina fera) – small things that bring great joys and as I keep saying, indicate what a precious area we have on our doorstep.

We are very grateful to Fungal Punk for taking the time to record and send us his nature notes.  He’ll send us his monthly log every couple of months so keep an eye out for them on the website.

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