May is my birth month; on the eleventh I had been on this planet for seventy-seven years. No-one is more surprised than me to find that I have survived this long. Three of the friends of my youth died early: Vic Wright (at 20), Cyril Parkin (at 30) and Chris Ibbotson (at 40); little wonder that I passed my fiftieth with some foreboding. These names will obviously mean nothing to all but a tiny percentage of my readers but I still remember them all fondly.
More pics, less chat
First of May
First view of the pond each day
Have you ever looked at one of our commonest weeds*? Dandelions are really beautiful and so intricate!
*weed: a plant in the wrong place
Bees are essential for our planet, at least for the continued presence of humanity on it.
As trees and shrubs green over, the colourful lichens and mosses are hidden from view. This growth is on a concrete fence post so is permanently visible. The natural world always strives to conquer the man-made.
Coots are nestbuilding all around the pond
Forget-me-nots are blooming around the top of the pond
The grebes have begun several nests which have been commandeered by coots.
There’s a couple of lapwings on the fields on Stubbing Lane
Bees are quite acrobatic around white dead nettle flowers
On cloudy days dandelions don’t open fully. leaving them looking rather like uplighters.
Willow catkins, the female ones that is, are dissolving into myriads of seeds on fluffy parachutes that will soon be scattered by the winds.
Some of the earliest ducklings on the pond.
Sonntag, der zweite Mai
Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly …
Greenery on the lock gate at Morse Lock.
I like clouds.
Here’s a willow catkin about ready to burst.
Alder beetles making more alder beetles.
About Alder Leaf Beetles
Basic colour: Deep metallic blue with a violet reflection.
Pattern colour: None
Number of spots: None
Other colour forms: Sometimes
Pronotoum: Deep metallic blue with a violet reflection.
Leg colour: Deep metallic blue with a violet reflection.
Has been considered an immigrant species, but this is not certain. Much life cycle information is from populations in France where new adults emerge in July and August, feed on alder leaves for 12-15 days, then enter a diapause on the ground surface, followed by hibernation until spring. Larvae usually feed on leaves of alders, but can develop on Downy Birch, Hazel and Goat Willow. Pupation occurs in an earth cell just below the ground surface, or in leaf litter. Adults can fly, but flight activity is low.
Status: Very rare in Britain. (not round here it ain’t) Previously classified as extinct, but specimens have been found recently and it is now considered ‘Insufficiently Known’ in the Red Data Book.
Habitat: Open, sunny areas in wetlands, especially alder carr. River banks. Wet woodland flushes.
Host plant: Alders, hazel, hybrid black-poplars, Goat Willow.
Overwintering: Adults overwinter in soil and leaf litter near host trees, emerging in April.
Food: Alder leaves.
Just a random couple of flies.
Great crested grebe just hangin’ about.
The limpidity* of the water allows the downward reach of the swan to be seen.
*is that a word If not it should be.
Here’s a grebe on what was, for a short while, their nest. They were evicted by coots.
The gorgeous blue of forget-me-nots which flourish along the path between the pond and the school grounds.
The pen on her eggs, at roughly this time I counted nine.
A dandelion to end the day.
Well that’s two days of May done – only twenty three or so more to do to catch up but for now: