Great Day again today! Very Much a day of firsts. Added two more birds to the HC Year List. The first Willow Warblers were singing (three in total), and the first Tree Pipit arrived. That takes my total to 55 this year so far. Going to post as the day unfolded for me:- Checking out the Wardens Lights turned up another Shoulder Stripe… IMG_6042 Spotted what I believe is Wild Primrose growing by the Wardens Office… IMG_6043 Over on the Heathland spotted my first Shieldbugs of the year. These being Gorse Shieldbugs. There were loads of these taking in the beautiful sunlight… IMG_6044 IMG_6046 In amongst the gorse with the Shieldbugs, was the first Harlequin Ladybird of the year… IMG_6045 Got lucky again, finding another Oil Beetle, this one way more active, and walking on and off the path. I really think the Colour and Thorax is different on this one, so I need to do more research… IMG_6048 IMG_6049 Hearing from Cobs that yesterday there was a Grass Snake swimming in the pool, I decided to have a look just in case. No luck with the Snake. But I did find this Common Toad ready to take a dip at the edge of the pond. To get the close up photo, I got my elbow and knees soaked… IMG_6053IMG_6052 Taking a close look at the flowering gorse, there seemed quite a lot of Honey Bees. Most of them had gathered loads of Pollen, like this one… IMG_6054 I know a lot of people say about the Swallow being the first sign of the better weather. But for me its the Willow Warbler. There were three singing today… IMG_6063 IMG_6072 While taking the first Willow Warbler photo above, I could not believe my ears. Directly behind me singing, was the first Tree Pipit of the year… IMG_6064 IMG_6065 I saw 4 Butterfly species today. I got photos of 3 of them Comma, Peacock and a rubbish Brimstone photo. I suddenly remember why I was so happy getting the Brimstone that landed last year. I chased four of them up and down the new Heathland Corridor today, but not one landed. Its so hard to focus on a flying butterfly! The species I saw but did not get a photo of, was a Small Tortoiseshell. Talking about the Heathland Corridor, this looks like its going to be great for Butterflies… IMG_6067IMG_6074IMG_6068 This was my first Hoverfly Photo this year, also taken up the new Heathland Corridor. This one is called Tachina ursine… Love how it stretched its legs out on the last photo… IMG_6069 IMG_6070 IMG_6071 Now for me the real highlight of the day! Its also ticked one species off my wish list. I always check the scrapes that the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust kindly dig out. Today I spotted an Ashy/Grey Mining Bee, while trying unsuccessfully to photograph Bee, I could not believe my eyes, at the other end of the scrape landed a Green Tiger Beetle. Making sure I did not disturb it, I first photographed it with the long lens. But sneaking up I eventually got close enough with the macro lens. All the while it was searching round the scrape, and it occaisonally flew up, but always landed back in the scrape. It seemed a bit of an awkward flight similar to that of a Ladybird..heavy looking. Also didn’t expect that at times it flashed the most brilliant green (almost light like) at its tail end. Unfortunately this is best seen with the naked eye. It can nearly be seen on the second photo, which there seems to be a colour difference, maybe due to lens… IMG_6056 IMG_6073IMG_6058 IMG_6059 While kneeling down to photograph the Green Tiger Beetle, I had this Ground Beetle (Poecilus cupreus) crawl on my hand. Thanks to Chris Brooks for identification. Must admit I’m so envious of Chris’s wealth of knowledge. For example you get this type of info from him:- Coppery Green Ground Beetle with elytral striae finely punctured, 2 basal antennal segments pale brown with diagnostic keel, fine punctures visible between eyes. Counting 8 fine setae on inner hind tibia, side borders of pronotum posteriorly widened… IMG_6060 Oops! Forgot One! While its great to see the new birds arrive, at the same time I was taking the first Willow Warbler and Tree Pipit. I photographed this flock of Fieldfare probably heading back to Scandinavia… IMG_6062 What a Fantastic Day!!


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