The Natural History of Uckfield by Wendy Tagg

Brimestone Butterfly

Life has erupted in the gardens, nature reserves and woods. Blackbirds are bickering, butterflies are on the wing and bees are buzzing.

In the last weekend of February, there was a surge in Brimstone butterfly sightings. Their unusably-shaped wings helped to camouflage them during hibernation. Look out for males searching for females at lunchtime.

Other butterflies that emerge in early spring are Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma and Peacock.  You can find these basking in warm spots such as sunlit leaves and walls. They also like spring flowers such as Lesser Celendine and Blackthorn. I photographed the Small Tortoiseshell on the day of a group walk. These are announced on the Uckfield Local Nature Reserves Supporters Group on Facebook.

Small Tortoiseshell

During the winter, honeybees rely on the food stores in their hives but now you can see them foraging on spring flowers. They have a distinctive “flared trouser” shaped back leg, which enables them to carry pollen back to their home.

Honey Bee on Snowdrop

Other types of bee are emerging too. If you see a fuzzy all-black bee, she is a Hairy-Footed Flower bee. The ginger-coloured leg hairs enable her to carry pollen back to her burrow.

Hairy-Footed Flower bee.

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