Friday, 29 April 2011

The joy of spring

WHAT an amazing day, and not just because it was a day off work (Thursday 28th April 2011) - although that surely helped.

Hill-side apple orchard
 Cow parsley lined lanes

 Hawthorn landscapes
I paid another visit to the wonderful Somerset Levels and as ever they did not disappoint.  The Levels are a maze of small fields, bound by hedgerows and rhynes (ditches), with pockets of wet woodland, along with large areas of both old naturalised  peat diggings and newer pockets of extraction.

Its amazing what you can see if you keep your eyes open and look beyond the obvious.  The highlights were:
  • an adder
  • fighting slow worms
  • 16+ hobbies
  • a distant marsh harrier
  • two really clear bittern fly-bys
  • hundreds of dragonflies and damselflies
  • the first cuckoo of the year
  • plus loads of warblers
  • and the glorious sun shining over a lush, springtime landscape.

I toured the area going to all my favourite spots.  I had been vaguely looking for reptiles and then heard rustling in a bramble bush.  There were two, possibly three, grass snakes in a vicious, writhing tangle.  They were doing their best to bite each other into submission.  It was hard to get any pictures through the branches but these images give you some idea of their antics:

 Fighting male grass snakes

One grass snake biting another

The damselflies and dragonflies were everywhere and looked stunning in the sunshine.  Apparently they have emerged particularly early this year.

   Damselfly sp.

 I tried to get a dragonfly in flight - this one was using a very fast shutter speed:
 Four spotted darter

Hairy dragonfly?

I wonder whether this is a dragonfly chasing a damselfly?:

This butterfly is possibly a female green-veined white:


Just when I was about to head home I found a sexton beetle rattling around in my car of all places.  These bugs are famous for burying corpses upon which they lay their eggs; the corpses providing a food supply for the larval stage.

Sexton beetle


  1. Lovely pictures, our Hawthorn blossom hasn't quite opened yet up her in Lancashire.

  2. Thanks David - the hawthorn is not all out yet but it does depend on where you go around us.


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