Monday, 24 February 2014

Monday 24th. February 2014

Started off this morning working down the bottom of the garden that I have been putting off due to the weather . Chilly to start , but soon warming up and becoming teeshirt weather . By 10 o'clock I decided to put the job on hold till this afternoon , and headed off to the Greensand Ridge to see if the weather had encouraged any reptiles from their hibernation . If any were to be found so early in the season , they would be very close to their hibernacular , so concentrated on those areas . The car thermometyer was showing 10C on arrival , and I think it might have gone up a degree or two whilst I was there . Nothing was found for a while , even though likely , sunny spots were checked out . I must admit , given the amount of rain since they went into hibernation , the thought as to whether any would survive often went through my head during those wet days and nights . But thankfully , at least some have survived as I found three males sunning themselves , as expected , very close to
hibernacular . The first was in a tight 'doughnut, a very striking yellow/black animal . The second was
much more chilled out , and more out in the open , with a more usual light brown/black colouration .
He changed position several times , once showing well the vertical pupil of the species . The third
animal was getting the maximum from the sun by flattening his body to get the maximum exposed . Only three animals , but it is a good start , lets hope the rest survived too .
It was still sunny as I headed home for lunch , and decided on a quick look around the Common . The warm sun had brought some flies and sheildbugs out , and also 2 possibly 3 male Brimstone
butterflies . I watched one land some 50 metres away and it took quite a search to find him , looking resplendent in the midday sun . He must have found a good place to hibernate , as he looked as if he had just hatched , but would have happened last Autumn . Maybe he was even the one that hatched out of the pupa case that I found back then , you never know . Walking back to the car , the sun was
also showing off  the lichen - Cladonia cristatella , which has many common names including British Soldiers , Matchstick Lichen and Red Caps . The red parts produce the spores to reproduce the species .
Whilst the sun was out , it really did feel like Spring , but , writing this , clouds have drawn over , and once again rain and wind is on it's way . It was nice whilst it lasted .
And yes , I did finish the job down the garden this afternoon .


Phil said...

Snakes and butterflies on Greenis's blog. It MUST be Spring!
Some nice shots there Greenie, had a male Brimstone myself today at NH

Warren Baker said...

I just get so envious of your Brimstone findings Greenie, blimey it's only February too! I must try a bit harder :-)

Alan Pavey said...

Is it really Feb, your post has a really nice spring feel Greenie, I did have a Red Admiral at the castle on Saturday.