Thursday, 31 March 2011

Thursday 31st. March 2011

With the last work party of the year up on the Common being just a morning affair , after a bite to eat , I headed off for the Greensand Ridge , once again searching for reptiles . Although there was a reasonable amount of sunshine , the wind cooled things down and was very gusty at times . My first find wasn't a reptile at all , as one of those gusts blew a very colourful bee onto the vegetation in front of me . It was hanging on for dear life as I photographed it . Mining Bee came to mind at the time , and in the sunshine it's ginger thorax and orange abdomen really looked very smart . I did some searching when I got home , and I think it is Andrena armata ( previously A.fulva ) / Tawny Mining Bee , and I think this is the female of the species . It wasn't long before grey clouds began to roll in , and during such a time I found my first Adders , two males , side by side , waiting for the sun to reappear . The clouds also dropped the temperature even further and things were not looking good . Then , in a short sunny interval , the first juvenile Adder found this year , about the thickness of the power lead to a television . This animal was probably born last Autumn , and at that size is easy prey for Weasels , Foxes , Kestrels and Pheasants . If it survives this year and next , it might well get it's chance to increase the Adder population in the area . Another sunny interval , getting fewer by the minute , placed me face to face with the last Adder seen during the visit , a male . Only other interest found was a catkin found on a small Aspen / Populus tremula . Looking it up when I got home , it appears to be a male catkin . This tree has male and female forms , and both produce catkins , but the female ones are much more colourful . And finally , a phone call from a birder yesterday , to say he had a sighting of a Red Kite over the A20 near Swanley . Same bird that Carol spotted ?


ShySongbird said...

Lovely photo of the bee Greenie, it really is a beautiful colour. If it is no longer Andrena fulva that puts my book out of date, I wonder why it has changed.

Great photo of the 'face to face' Adder :)

Alan Pavey said...

Some nice photos Greenie, the Bee is really bright and those photos of the Adders are great!!

Warren Baker said...

That's one mean look that Adder's giving you Greenie :-)

Lets hope that Kite comes my way :-) :-)