The sun was out, and so was a second flight peacock which made up for the fact I was expecting the hardened ground to be alive with new small tortoiseshells. Not yet however, and I'm still thinking that 2015 is about three weeks behind last year in terms of 'emergences'. Small whites were about too, a single small white spot on each wing indicating that they were spring flight males.
In the afternoon I ran very slowly up to Beacon Hill nature reserve, and added more small whites and a common blue to the day's butterfly list. With it being sunny, the small heaths were skittering around at low level, but I managed to get reasonable shots of one specimen. It must have been on valium, allowing me to get within a metre of it.
The evenings have been clear and chilly, and the ambient twilight at 10pm or so when I'm typically heading out or pottering around with the bins or other domestic excitements is a prime time for bat watching. Either my flat or the church hall next door has pipistrelles living in the roof, and a couple or nights ago, a couple of them put on a mighty display for me.
I have no idea how pipistrelles mate, or fight, or anything else about their mating habits. What was clear that one of the bats was chasing the other around in the limited space on my driveway, executing insanely tight turns before swooping low across the hedge and back up and around. There's barely a moth to be found anywhere and I've no idea if they are finding enough to eat up there, if that is what they were up to.
Every so often, their flight path brought them towards me, and I'd feel a thrill pass down my spine as the bats - in all, barely larger than a sparrow - would fly straight at my face, before presumably their echo location system alerted them to the presence of a clodhopping human, and they'd rise up over my head.
I felt like I was being strafed!
I remember showing my sister bats when she was very young, and her loving them. I wonder how she would have enjoyed seeing these?
Next week, I might be able to show her.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 10.06.15
|Small white on the remnants of oilseed rape|
|Can you spot the Dog Ness Monster>|
|Tree Bumble at DEvon Pasture|
|Coot and chick, London Road pond|
|Adult is still feeding the chick|
|End of Clay Lane now impassable for the summer|
|Pair of small whites|
|Damn that focus!|
|Damn it again!|
|I think this was a vestal or gypsy cuckoo|
|Best snap I got of the small heath|