Finding the seven animals was obviously very good news , but it leaves the question , what has this period of unusually hot weather done to the breeding of these animals . On a 'normal' year , their progress can be followed through courting , combat between males and eventually , mating . But this year , it is difficult to predict where exactly in that cycle the animals are , albeit that combat was seen during the week before Easter , but very little else . I suppose that mating could be forgotten about this year , who knows ? As female Adders only mate every other year , how will that affect mating next year ? All questions that can only be answered in the Autumn , when any juveniles are found , and in the years to come . The rain , and that forecast for tonight , hopefully will alleviate problems with the dryness of the habitat , and with it , the continual fear of fires , like those unfortunately sparked off in other parts of the UK .
After lunch , I spent some time wandering around up on the Common , the temperature having crept up to a humid 24C. Whilst looking for Brimstone caterpillars on the Buckthorn , I had another opportunity to get a better shot of the Red Tipped Flower Beetle . It wasn't too long before munched Buckthorn leaves revealed the culprit , now more marked , the Brimstone caterpillar , but again , the long hot spell has damaged the young shoots of Buckthorn , the ones that the females like to lay their eggs on . Even robust species like Gorse and young Oak have suffered badly from the lack of water . Once again I was frustrated by a pair of Brimstones . I watched as the male tried to ground the female to mate with her , but , no matter what he did , the female would not let him couple , keeping her abdomen raised . Three times he managed to ground her , and each time she resisted him , until he flew off . After that third refusal , and with the coast clear , she showed why she was not interested , returning to a young Buckthorn plant to lay the eggs that she had already . Whilst writing this , it has struck me that I don't think I have ever seen a shot of mating Brimstones , so that could explain the amount of time I have spent trying to get one .
Unfortunately , the Long Tailed Tit nest has been predated , most probably by a Magpie that is seen regularly in the area . Such a shame for this beautiful work of art . The same happened last year some 20 mtrs. away from this year's nest . Whilst walking around , I did see a pair of Long Tailed Tits , and they flew into Gorse on the other side of the site . Are they the pair that were predated , and will they try again ?