For bird watchers and all round naturalists March is an exciting month as summer migrants begin to arrive, insects emerge from pupation or hibernation, plants begin to flower and the leaves on the trees begin to open, along with the blossom on prunus and apple species and on willow species.
Here are a few things to look out for over the next 4 weeks.
On willow trees (sallows) the feathery flowers will be in bud at present and a few warmer days will get them opening. A vital nectar supply for bees during the day and Orthosia moth species by night. If you have a flowering willow nearby, pop out with a torch on a warm night to check for moths such as Common quaker, Small quaker, Hebrew character and the inappropriately named Clouded drab. Other species also possible.
On warmer days, usually in the afternoon when temperatures reach their highest a few butterfly species should be on the wing. So far I have recorded both Peacock and Brimstone but these will be joined by Small tortoiseshell and Red admirals. These are butterflies that have hibernated over winter in trees, sheds, outhouses and homes and often a day time temperature in excess of 13C-14C will have them winging around gardens. Very little for them to feed on, so plenty of flying but not so easy to get a photo.
|Brimstone, male yellow, female green.|
|Small tortoiseshell (top) and Peacock.|
|Redwing (note white eye stripe)|
|Dark edged bee fly|
|Bombus terristris, Buff tailed bumble bee|
|Andrena bicolor, Gwynne's Mining bee|
|Anthophora plumipes (Hairy footed Flower bee)|
|Episyrphus balteatus, here caught by a Misumena vatia spider.|
A reasonably easy hoverfly to identify.
|Eristalis pertinax hoverfly|