Plenty To See
Tuesday, May 17th 2022
After what seems to have been a long winter flora and fauna are now appearing at Foxglove.
Dryad's Saddle is a fungus that appears in summer and can be seen through to autumn. In warm weather it can decay very quickly to almost nothing.
St Mark's Fly, so called because it appears on 25th April, which is St Mark's Day. They can be seen on the wing through to June. Some years, and this looks like being one of those years, there are large numbers of this fly around Foxglove. The larvae spend their time feeding on grass roots, leaf mould and decaying matter, whilst the adults feed on nectar and are pollinators of early opening flowers.
An insect finishing its life cycle at this time of year is the Peacock butterfly. It has spent all winter in hibernation appearing in spring to feed on a variety of flowers. After egg laying it dies. By this time in spring they are looking a little worse for wear.
Large Red damselflies are the first to emerge from the water. I am still waiting for the opportunity to take a good photo of an adult! They have flown off, been blown away and/or had plenty of vegetation between them and the camera lens! However I was very lucky to take this photo of one just finishing emerging from its larval case, known as the exuviae. Once emerged it walked away quickly to hide away from predators, whilst its wings lengthened and its whole body hardened.
Some flowers are just opening the petals others are almost ready to release their seeds. This willow flower is developing tiny white seeds, that once released make it look like it has snowed in summer at Foxglove.
A photograph taken for one reason often shows other things once uploaded onto the computer. This photo made me smile. Food chains in action. Cuckoo Flower is a lovely delicate flower and can be seen all around the reserve. If you look closely you can see the orange egg of the Orange Tip butterfly, one egg per plant as there is only enough food on the single plant to support one caterpillar. If you look even more closely you can just see a spider, waiting in the wings for dinner?
At this time of year there is a lot to watch out for.
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