Mollyblobs

By mollyblobs

Hummingbird hawk-moth

So, the first day in virtual lockdown wasn't very different from the previous few days, mostly because we'd been practicing fairly rigorous social distancing anyway. It was another glorious spring day, largely spent in the garden which is very gradually becoming less infested with couch grass and other noxious weeds. Mind you, time spent weeding was probably significantly less than time spent watching the birds and insects who share it with us!

Highlight of today's garden sightings was this hummingbird hawk-moth which spent a short time this morning nectaring  on our cherry blossom. Luckily I had the telephoto lens with me, as it didn't stay for very long. I was pleased that I managed a few in-focus shots as it was moving rather quickly from bloom to bloom. It's surprisingly early to see this migrant species, which is usually recorded from May to September. I wonder if it might eventually become established in the UK as a result of climate change. The a caterpillars feed on bedstraws and also red valerian, which has increased enormously over recent years, and is frequent in towns and villages throughout southern England. It was one of five moth and butterflies seen in the garden, the others being brimstone, small tortoiseshell, peacock and comma.

In the afternoon I went out for my daily exercise, which included a circuit of the nearby Thorpe Hall parkland.  I bumped into Pete (who was taking his exercise separately) and he showed me a hibernaculum of grass snakes that he'd found - in the end we saw seven snakes, including a large female and several immature specimens. I also caught sight of a common lizard, though it darted away almost instantaneously. I know where I might be exercising tomorrow!

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