By mollyblobs

Beech and bluebell

A fine spring day for an afternoon  walk round Swaddywell, with lots of insect activity on the south-facing cliffs, though most of the solitary bees and green tiger beetles were too active to be photographed. However, I did find one obliging beetle who sat still for a photoshoot (see extra). I also made the reserve manager's day by showing him a green tiger beetle - although he's been looking after the site for years he'd never managed to see one before. They are remarkably inconspicuous considering their size and metallic colouration.

Highlights of the visit were finding the rather cute and furry Clarke's mining bee, a specialist of sites with abundant willows; watching a two-coloured mason-bee flying with small sticks and blades of grass to thatch the snail shell where she will have laid her egg and finally finding an overwintering rosette of autumn lady's-tresses.

On my way home I called in at a small area of replanted ancient woodland on Heath Road. Beech isn't native in the Peterborough area, but has been widely planted and seems to encourage a fine display of bluebells and wood anemones - this is one of the best in the local area. The woodland itself is private but fortunately the sweeping vista of blue and white can be seen from the roadside without the need to trespass.

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