New Scarlet Tiger and butterfly season – 6th & 7th Mar

In recent days I have started to notice Scarlet Tiger moth larvae on the walls of my park home again. These were presumably on the way down from their winter hibernating places. Then yesterday during a gardening session … well, there they were in numbers, and the resourceful little creature’s had gone straight for the Green Alkanet. This was the original food plant before the population explosion of last autumn that decimated much of my wildlife garden. Many of the plants the larvae migrated to then have yet to make new growth, and Green Alkanet is currently something of a scarce resource, so I shall watch and see what happens.

Scarlet Tiger larvae on Green Alkanet

Scarlet Tiger moth larvae on Green Alkanet

By late morning I was thinking it’s warm enough for the year’s first Brimstone. I therefore paid a visit to Bagley Wood just south of Oxford in the afternoon sunshine. That had been a reliable location for a first sighting in previous years but I didn’t find any butterflies this time. While I was there a Brimstone was seen though on Otmoor. So on joining up today with “The Massive”, the regular group of Oxonbirders who walk the reserve on weekend mornings, my eyes were peeled. Early in the day cool winds predominated but by midday the forecast spring sunshine took charge. And here is my first Brimstone of 2015, one of two seen along the bridleway close to the reserve entrance.

Brimstone (male)

Brimstone (male)

7 March was also the date on which myself and other Oxon, Bucks and Berks observers recorded their first Brimstones in 2014. BST is just three weeks away and spring is in the air once more. It is my intention to present a full British butterfly year in this blog through the forthcoming 2015 season. Here’s some more wildlife observed on Otmoor RSPB reserve, north of Oxford today.

Basking Grass Snake

Basking Grass Snake

Maddish March hare

Maddish March hare

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