A Sun Drenched Bank

Monday, April 10th 2017

The beauty of Spring is that every day brings us something new. Just working on the Wetland Bank we noticed that Bluebells are starting to flower…

 ….and the Primroses are at their best.

Looking at this picture I saw that I'd also caught a Common Lizard on camera - basking on the sun drenched bank! I saw two on the bank today.

Looking at the Primroses I was pleased to see a number of Bee-flies moving from flower to flower. These flies mimic Carder Bumblebees, but are actually flies, and can easily be over looked. Flies have one pair of wings and bees two pairs. We appear to have the commonest of the several species that are found in the UK, the Greater Bee-fly, or Dark-bordered Bee-fly.

The long mouth piece, or proboscis is used much like a drinking straw to suck up the nectar in these flowers, and is not retracted when in flight. Not only do they look like bees but also parasitise them.

The female Bee-fly hovers in front of a Bumblebee’s, or Solitary Bee’s burrow where she flicks her eggs around the entrance. The tiny grub, when hatched, makes its way down into the bees burrow /nest, locates the host bee's grubs where it fastens onto and sucks out the internal fluids of a bee grub. It will then over-winter and come out in Spring just as the Primroses are flowering, and the cycle starts again. All this a-side they are great pollinators, and they have little impact on solitary bee colonies and do not harm honeybees or bumblebees.

Also on the Bank was a single Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, again basking in the Spring sun.

Another sign of spring was this female Mallard sitting tight on her feathered nest. This lovely picture was taken by a Friend of the reserve, Terry Wright.

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