All the Bs

We can’t let spring go by without celebrating the bluebells which are now out in full bloom on the Forest – may be a bit later than in some more sheltered and lower places. What I can’t send you is the wonderful sweet smell that a carpet of bluebells gives you!

And here is a close up with a Brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni) feeding and you can just make out the long proboscis, a kind of feeding tube it uses to suck up nectar.

This looks like a male as it has deeper yellow colour than the females. I’ve seen a lot this year flying over the bluebells.
Another butterly I spotted just emerged from its overwintering chrysalis stage is the Large White (Pieris brassicae) resting on fresh sweet chestnut leaves.
One of my regular walking routes takes me past some old dormouse nesting boxes, many of which are in a poor condition as they are no longer checked I expect. However, this one is still complete and they are often used by members of the tit family as nest boxes. This one contained a Great tit (Parus major).
Note the yellow and green “wool” she has used to adorn her nest. It looks like nylon fibre and may have been collected off a jumper from someone’s washing line!
I popped by a week later and she had some eggs.
Great tits can lay between 8-12 eggs and so I expect she’ll lay a few more before settling down to incubate them so they hatch all at the same time and in time for the explosion of caterpillars she can collect from the surrounding oaks which have just come into leaf.
I also pass a tall Western hemlock tree (Tsuga heterophylla) and every year some bees nest in a crack about 10ft above the ground. This year I noticed they have found another about 4ft higher.
It will be interesting to see how long they nest here for this year so I’ll keep an eye on it.

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