With mid twenties temperature on the cards again this afternoon , I got out early again for a look at Spring Park Pond . On arrival , the hours rain late yesterday afternoon and a pleasant breeze made things feel much better . Since my last visit , the Hawthorn/Mayflower has come into blossom . Around the pond , many insects were still warming up and drying off the dew which was covering everything . This spider looked very strange , but I think it was just the way it was holding it's front three pairs of legs . Some of the insects had obviously taken to the air too soon , as several St.Mark's Flies were struggling on the surface , attracting the attention of predators like the Pond Skater and a male Common/Smooth Newt . The Pond Skater surprisingly won this one . Whilst watching other Newts , I noticed something moving slowly on some submerged vegetation . It turned out to be the larvae of one of the larger Hawker Dragonflies , probably Emperor or Southern Hawker . Even at this stage , they are vicious ambush predators , taking anything up to small fish . Also searching for food was this Pond Snail , with it's foot right out of the shell , and it's mouth wide open . Perhaps this is where the saying ' putting your foot in your mouth' came from . I remembered to check the pond plant that was in flower on my last visit , to see how it was growing . The petals have fallen now , but the plant seems to be growing straight out of the bed of the pond , and pulling the stem confirmed this . With lots of dog walkers entering the site , I took my leave and headed for the Common . First thing noticed was that the Rowan/Mountain Ash is also in flower , flowers that will hopefully turn into berries to feed Waxwings and the Winter Thrushes later . Of interest , both flowering trees found today , are members of the Rose family .
I decided to check to see if any of the Brimstone eggs had hatched yet , and after a while , found chewed leaves on the Buckthorn . If it wasn't for this clue , the caterpillars would not be found . This one is in the middle of the shot , parallel to the vein of the leaf , looking a bit yellowy , but actually light green . Whilst checking other Buckthorn , I first found this Green Hairstreak warming up in the morning sun , and a bit later , this female Holly Blue , who , like the one at Salt Box Hill , hasn't read the book , laying it's eggs on Buckthorn . I waited for her to move on , then checked the twigs , and sure enough , there was the small white , disc shaped egg , the start of a new generation . Whilst walking through the Heather , I disturbed a moth and following it managed to get a shot before it moved on again .
I could see it was very colourful , but didn't have a clue what species it was . A bit later , I found it , or another one , and it gave the opportunity for a better shot . Since getting home and doing some digging , I think it is a Beautiful Yellow Underwing/Anarta myrtilli . There were many male Common Heaths charging around , and also this one , which I haven't managed to identify yet , but I know a man who can .
And finally , whilst having lunch , we noticed that Blue Tits , having started nests in almost every box in the garden , have decided now to try out the communal House Sparrow box that I put up last Autumn . We have actually had House Sparrows looking , but nothing more than that . Only trouble with the Blue Tits is that one bird is bringing nest materials to the right hand residence , and the other is depositing it's material in the one to the left . Is it that one of them has a problem , or are there two pairs living side by side ?
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