Spring stutters into life

April 06, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Well... the weather is on the cool side again (after an incredibly warm March) but the lanes are lined with white blossom and spring does seem to be stuttering into life again.

After spending a huge amount of time recently watching and filming the owls it has become clear to me that I do need to lay off "Operation noctua" for a while, or at least cut back in terms of time spent up with the owls, because there is so much to see and do at present - or will be shortly. I will still keep track of the little owls of course (I'd love a decent photo and see if they breed successfully this year, like last, but I really want to give them a little space and remember there are other things in life, other than owls!)

Anna and I are lucky enough to live very near a badger sett - the cubs (I hope!) will be appearing above ground within a few weeks - and that I can't miss. We are also lucky enough to live near a beautiful south-sloping (quite rare) lowland heath with hobbies, nightjar, dragonflies, lizards, adders and emperor moths all present (not to mention a whole host of other heathland wildlife such as silver-studded blue butterflies and mining bees).

I promised I'd visit this heath very regularly this year (as I missed the purple haze of July when the heather turned a magnificent colour last year as we were in Turkey, watching loggerheads and scops owls).

So Anna and I toddled off down to the heath at lunch today to see what was about - I'm glad we did!

Firstly, in the typical April weather of a brief blast of warm sunshine followed by a dark cloud) we found basking common lizards and slow worms (adders were our main quarry I admit, but they'll wait for now!)

Secondly, we met a couple of local moth experts who were searching for Emperor moths - which they'd found (and photographed superbly) a few minutes before we stumbled across them (the experts that is, not the moths).

Now I've known since moving to our present abode a few miles away, that Emperors were to be found on this heath, but I am not in any way shape or form an "Emperor expert" so the knowledge these two chaps imparted on us was gratefully accepted.

Well... we may have seen one male Emperor whilst with the entomologists (difficult to tell as it flew by pretty quickly - it may have been a peacock butterfly) but we'll be back (or at least I will!) next weekend to see if I can see the most incredible of all British moths - and the only British silkmoth to boot....


News from closer to home (the back garden!) is that we have a pair of robins nesting in one of the bird boxes I put up in some ivy a few weeks ago. I'll not put a camera in the box as I've got that in the new "swift des res" which I've been building all winter.....


More on Emperor moths next week I hope.


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