Saturday, 12 April 2008

Advent of insects

Many English people would agree with Belloc's sentiments, in that the 'marvellous sea' keeps the French (and the rest of the world) at bay. Many French people, in return, love it because it keeps the English away.

Perhaps M Belloc (a keen sailor, of mixed English and French parentage) liked it as he could sail across it to replenish his supply of wine, like many of us since.

Despite Nicolas Sarcozy's wish for us to become closer, the gradual erosion of the cliffs on both sides regrettably shows that we are in fact getting further apart.Some Wallflowers are flowering on one of the largest walls in England (the White Cliffs). They seem to flourish only in the most precarious of positions.The flower buds of the Wayfarers' Tree appear before the leaves, which are starting to appear from their buds.

An early walk along the cliffs produced little apart from a Peregrine, but reaching the shelter of the valley there were a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps singing, and I was able to glimpse a Garden Warbler at the base of a hedge, singing it warbling song for minutes at a time without catching its breath.
Also sheltered from the wind and enjoying the warm sunshine were a good number of insects - hoverflies, honey bees, ladybirds and these Bee Flies. I like the Latin name for this strange insect - Bombylius major - try saying it out loud. there is apparently a Bombylius minor, a rare heathland version mainly found in Dorset.
This horribly over-exposed picture at least shows the comma on the Comma.

And finally....another nice name - Woodrush, in Thorenden Wood.


Mary said...

Goodness.. that Bee Fly certainly has a nasty looking proboscis! Is that just for flower sucking or does it attack humans! It looks very threatening. Great picture of it! The Wayfarers' Tree looks really interesting...would like to see more of it as it grows. Beautiful ladybug and the Comma is very clear! It looks like you had a great day walking the cliffs.

NW Nature Nut said...

I LOVE the Bee fly! How big are they. Bigger than Bumblebees? Do you have bumblebees there? The Bee Fly must be a relative. Neat-0!

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for the comments - the Beefly does look alarming, but it's only the size of a small finger-nail.
The proportionately huge proboscis is for getting deep into the spring flowers, like primroses and ground ivy.

abbey meadows said...

Great post I especially like the Bee-fly. Still cold up here and I believe you get these over most of the country and if it gets a bit warmer I wil be looking out for them.

Steve said...

Great shots of Bee fly....I tried some pics last year on my patch around this time of year...not as good as yours though! I will have another stab when I get the chance.