Although the car temperature guage read 12C , it definately didn't feel like it .
The purple spadix is not actually the flower . The male and female flowers are found in the bulbus part below , and flies and other insects are often trapped by downward-pointing hairs above the male flowers . The insects then crawl over the female flowers , thus bringing pollen from another spadex to fertilise the flowers , which become the red/orange berries we see later in the year . On the chalk grassland areas , the first Crosswort-Cruciata laevipes , a member of the Bedstraw family , is coming into flower . Butterflies were few and far between , but in the odd sheltered spots , I recorded 7 Peacock , 1 Brimstone , and first of the year , 3 Speckled Woods , two of them already engaged in an arial territorial battle . Birdwise it was nothing unusual , with 3 singing Blackcaps , 2 singing Chiffchaffs and several Skylaks being of note .
I am posting below a shot of a male , found lying on a path . When I first saw it , it was so flattened out , to absorb as much warmth as possible , that it looked absolutely enormous . Unfortunately , he saw me before I could get in position for a clear shot , and went for cover . Looking at the two animals , it can be seen that the zig-zag markings on the male , are much more defined than those on the female . Also , the females tend to be this warm brown colour , but there are always the ones that don't comply to the norm .
Anyway , I set to , checking the site for reptiles . The usually good areas for Adders were empty , but the refugia were holding Slow Worms , mostly the felts . In total , 43 Slow Worms were recorded , and the largest number any one felt was five .As I took this shot of them , they all decided en mass , to leave the premises . A total of 4 Adders were recorded , none of them under refugia , and amongst them , my first female of the season on this site . I found her lying right in the corner of one of the corrugated tins .
The only other reptile found , was a juvenile Common Lizard , hanging out in a hammock on the edge of a hedgeline . Also found in the hedgeline was Greater Stitchwort , a member of the Pink family . Later on , Lesser Stichwort will be found in similar places . Even though the growing period is only just beginning , some of the grasses have already started to produce seed heads . In the more shaded areas , the first flowering spikes of Lords and Ladies-Arum maculatum .
Back home for lunch in the garden , but we already have worries about the Blue Tit nest . Carol was in the garden all morning , and saw no movement around the box . Whilst eating lunch we were joined by one of the resident Robins who helped me with my sandwiches , and also by the female Blackbird , who has a nest a couple of gardens along .
Tomorrow , which is forecasted to be the hottest day of the year so far , we will be doing the first Dormouse and Reptile survey of the year , up on the Greensand Ridge .