Spring Blooms

Two days ago the first crocuses were discovered blooming in my garden. There are leaves out on shrubs too, and the daffodils now have flowerbuds. It is a rare early spring, overlapping with the winter.

Crocuses blooming already. An exciting development this week.
Crocuses blooming already. An exciting development this week.

Last year we had similar temperatures but the spring flowers were extremely slow to bloom, and it did turn very cold and snow on many occasions throughout February and March, and even early April. However, in the lowlands the snow didn’t stick because ground temperatures were far too warm, and it seems likely that even if the weather ss to turn cold in the next few weeks, that snow will not stick.

But there have been some other surprises too, despite the fact we’ve had plenty of frost this week. For example, last weekend I discovered a hoverfly flying about in the sunbeams.

 

Probably the most common species of hoverfly in Wicklow, Episyrphus balteatus is know to show up on sunny days at any time of year. It seems to be a hibernating species.
Probably the most common species of hoverfly in Wicklow, Episyrphus balteatus is know to show up on sunny days at any time of year. It seems to be a hibernating species.

There have also been some classic winter species. Here is a photo from three weeks ago, in the early New Year, when a male Winter Moth came to the light emanating from a rear window:

The Winter Moth, Operophtera brumata, is a drab-coloured species which is distinctive because it comes to light in the very depths of winter. The female has no wings at all, and walks on longish legs.
The Winter Moth, Operophtera brumata, is a drab-coloured species which is distinctive because it comes to light in the very depths of winter. The female has no wings at all, and walks on longish legs.

There have also been some bright green caterpillars around, and many people are windering what species they belong to, and why they are around in winter. Some caterpillars actually spend the winter between napping and eating, and begin to appear now in late winter/early spring when they will find good places to pupate, emerging as moths in late spring and early summer. There are a number of species which do this, but the most commonly seen are usually the caterpillars of the Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa ).

The caterpillar of the Hebrew Character can be bright green to yellow, to cream and even a creamy-pink clour. It's a very beautiful caterpillar species and quite a distinctive moth too.
The caterpillar of the Angle Shades can be bright green to yellow, to cream and even a creamy-pink clour. It usually has a broken white or silvery line running down the centre of its back. It’s can be a very beautiful caterpillar species and quite a distinctive moth too.

 

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