Wildlife amongst the April showers

What a beautiful week – warm sunshine, only a couple of showers and the occasional breeze, and plenty of wildlife to be seen. I even enjoyed watching the spiders on the bench, adventuring out from their hiding places.

Annoyingly, one does have to be inside sometimes. Even then, I may catch the glimpse of the wildlife outside. One time this week, I espied a butterfly land in the garden from my indoor location. Naturally I yelled out butterfly, grabbed my camera and rushed outside. Matt was evidently rather amused by this as I ended up being photographed by him!

A surprise awaited me back in north London, a rather shiny looking insect resting in the grass. Naturally I caught it up in one of my pots for a closer look, and found that it was still rather chilled out, so let it go again to take some photos. A friendly little insect as you can see. I later found out that it is a type of sawfly, though not sure yet as to the species. Sawflies are in the same group of insects as wasps, bees and ants – that is: hymenoptera. The third insect is a hoverfly, something I’m sure you’re familiar with. Much like moths, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes – I hope to get some photos this summer of their variety.

As ever, I wasn’t long back at home before I was volunteered to take the dog for a walk. And spring was shining in the local park too- blossoms a-blooming, butterflies a-fluttering and bees a-buzzing. The odd-looking photo of a pile of soil is actually more interesting than you might think. I do believe that it is an entrance to an insect nest – there were a few of them about, and at one point a bee (I think one of the solitary species) approached and almost went in (but the one it wanted to go into had gotten blocked!). Very intriguing!

This weekend was glorious again, Cambridgeshire is beautiful in the sunshine. A 45-minute walk around the local fields turned into a walk of around 4 1/2 hours as there were some wonderful wildlife about (as well as lambs to coo over, horses to stroke and dogs to greet). I even got my first photo of a bee-fly (Bombyliidae) – as the name suggests it is a fly that mimics a bee! Fun fact, the larvae of bee-flies are parastoids on other insects’ eggs and larvae. Isn’t nature charming?

The most exciting sighting of this week came at the very end of this walk, casually strolling alongside a small stream in the sunshine whilst keeping my eye out for insects as usual. I saw a small ripple on the edge of the stream, and a stray thought was “hmm, ducklings?” followed by “maybe a bit too early for ducklings …” On noticing a bridge not too far ahead, we headed onto it and looked back along the water. We waited a little while, patience is a virtue after all and necessary when it comes to wildlife. A small brown nose appeared, then a head, a moment later a chocolate-brown mammalian body swum through the water. A Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius)?! It’s identification was confirmed by Matt. What a joy! I hadn’t even thought to include seeing one on my wildlife resolutions of 2015, I thought they would be too shy to spot one.

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