Sallow and hoverfly

A beautiful spring morning, so Pete and I went off to Holme Fen to service his pitfall traps. This site is generally lacking in spring flowers, coming into its own in late summer, but I was keen to take some photographs of the catkins of bog myrtle, which is very rare locally, being restricted to the few remaining areas of ancient undrained fenland.

I was also hoping to find some sallow blossom, which is the main spring nectar source on the reserve and can attract lots of bees and butterflies. However, lots has been removed during the winter management and most of the remaining blossom was inaccessible. I eventually found a good sallow bush on the edge of the road, and hung around for a while to see if anything interesting turned up.

Honey bees were the most prolific insect, but there were also a few buff-tailed bumble-bees and peacock butterflies, and a few early hoverflies. This one is Meliscaeva auricollis, a common enough species in southern Britain, but one of the first to emerge in spring, and which particularly favours bushy places. It's certainly making the most of the food resource.

While I was standing quietly with my camera a weasel ran along the edge of the wood, mostly hidden by twigs and bramble, but still an exciting mammal to see.

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