It was still cold and grey for much of the day, but at lunch time the cloud thinned briefly, and the light improved. I don't think I've moved so fast in quite a while - bounding upstairs to grab the macro, then back down again and out into the garden. For about forty minutes there was something approximating to sunshine - at least, you could see a bright disk behind the cloud - and the temperature lifted into the realms of the acceptable.
I don't think it's right to start sweeping and beating for invertebrates until I'm sure the hibernation season is over, but I confess to having tapped a couple of conifers gently with a magnifying glass I happened to have about my person, and one of the mini-beasts that dropped onto my outstretched hand was the leafhopper I've posted as tonight's second image. Most of these tiny green guys are very hard to take to species, but the blueish line running along the wing (which is said to be clear if you're able to view it from below) identifies this one as Empoasca vitis. Not unreasonably, given that it's about 3mm long, its common name is the small green leafhopper.
I was haunting the few patches of flowers that have so far emerged, in the vain hope of spotting the first hairy-footed flower bee of the year, when a deep and furious buzzing alerted me to something rather larger, and I quickly tracked down this Bombus terrestris queen to one of my large hybrid hellebores. The camera was able to track her in flight as she moved around the plant, but the cloud was closing again by this time and it was too dark for a fast shutter speed - though interestingly it was the frequency of her vibration, rather than the speed of her movement through space, that rendered the flight shots unusable. I'm optimistic that this augurs well for a summer spent chasing dragonflies, though of course that's predicated on us actually getting a summer, and right now I'm a little less optimistic about that.
My third-favourite photo of the day has gone onto my Facebook page, if you'd care to see it.
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