Daily blog from Gilling East, Sketching outside

April 7th- first orange tip, bee-fly and blue tits nest building

After a sharp frost, another glorious day in the garden, with a much lighter breeze than yesterday. An orange tip flew in late morning and settled briefly on a daisy. Long enough for me to see its beautiful lacy, green underwing pattern. If I was asked to name a favourite butterfly it would be the orange tip. For me they mark the very height of Spring. They reach their peak flying time when I am expecting to see my first swifts! The female lacks the orange forewing tips seen in the male, but shares the beautiful green patterned underwing.

Also in the garden today a dark-edged bee-fly. These are very much Spring insects. They hover in front of flowers such as primrose and use their long proboscis to extract nectar. They often feed at garden flowers such as grape hyacinth and Scillas. The larvae of bee flies eat the larvae of mining bees. A beautiful and fascinating insect.

The female blue tit started nest building today. She collected moss from a branch on a nearby apple tree. She restricted her nest building time to the first half of the morning. The male followed her back and forth to the nest box.

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