With much higher temperatures today the hour spent on my Ashtead Common transect turned out to be mainly a blue and green affair. The first butterfly recorded was a Holly Blue (above) but the most predominant species was the Brimstone (below) with 12 individuals logged in addition to Small White (1), Speckled Wood (1) and a very flighty single Green Hairstreak.
A few of the ancient oaks are in full leaf but many of the very old pollarded veterans are still waking up. It was very quiet at Flag Pond and in case you wondered that is the muddy colour of the water all year round due to the underlying clay and it plays host to three species of Newt.
A slight detour off my prescribed route provided a few views of two regular woodland species; the Treecreeper (left) and the Nuthatch which was particularly vocal today.Another surprise while watching these 'creepers; was the single hoot call of a Tawny Owl somewhere high on the ridge ... most unusual for the time of day!
Back at home I spent an hour or two doing a few tidy up jobs in the garden while listening and watching three Swifts screaming high overhead plus visits by a Holly Blue and a Small White butterfly.
I am not a fan of non-native species but these 'Spanish' Bluebells do provide a splash of colour at the moment. These invaders will have to be removed when I find the time and replaced with our native stock. Elsewhere a few different varieties of Tulip are hanging on and the herbaceous greenery is bulking up very fast.
One final good bit of news today is that we finally have evidence that a pair of Blue Tits are using the nest box in the Birch at the bottom of the garden.
I will be monitoring their progress and hope to get some better images over the coming weeks. FAB.