Over these last few brilliantly hot and sunny days our wood and meadow have been crazily active with insect life. The Cardinal beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis), with its scarlet head, pronotum and elytra, is frequently to be found among the nettles. The Large White (Pieris brassicae) butterfly flaps cumbersomely through the paddock, while its smaller relative, the Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines), perches delicately on Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.) and Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) flowers. Other butterflies on the wing at present are the Comma (Polygonia c-album) – looking for all the world like a withered old leaf – and the strikingly gorgeous Peacock (Inachis io).
Around the pond in particular the iridescent brown-green Beautiful Demoiselle (Caloptery Virgo) damselfly is emerging into the sunshine. The Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) can be spotted alighting on a variety of plants along the water’s edge, sharing some of its favourite spots with the gregarious Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum), which seemingly feeds, mates and perches on almost any garden plant.
Over the last couple of days I’ve recorded Common vetch (Vicia sativia), Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) and Honesty (Lunaria annua) flowering on the margins of the wood. Although the latter has been a garden escape since the late 16th century, over time it has become naturalised in the British countryside – especially in hedgerows and open woodland.
We may well have a small bees’ nest developing in a hole on the bank behind the barn, which is rather exciting. As they say, watch this space…