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I mentioned yesterday that I saw my first butterflies of 2018 this week. The first was a Peacock but my camera was in my backpack and, by the time I extracted it, the butterfly had flown off. I was still cursing that fact when another butterfly appeared, this lovely Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta). Snap!

180408 Red admiral

On Wednesday’s walk, as well as the bee-flies I blogged about yesterday, I also saw several varieties of bee. I’m hopeless at identifying bees – I will focus on them one year to try to improve my skills, but that won’t be this year. Luckily, there’s a good Facebook group where the folks are very helpful, and they’ve IDed these as Yellow-legged mining bees (Andrena flavipes). They’re spring-flying solitary bees that make individual nests but often in large groups (the experts call them aggregations). This lot, of perhaps 20, were digging in to a sandy bank by the seaside. (Here’s a link to more information from BWARS.)

180408 Yellow-legged mining bee (1)

This next little critter was tiny, as you can see by comparison with my hand behind (and I have small hands). Once again, I needed help on the ID but the folks from my local Butterfly Conservation Facebook group are experts. This is a caterpillar of the Magpie moth (Abraxas grossulariata), a stunning-looking moth that I have not yet seen. Its caterpillar is quite lovely too, don’t you think?

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Though only 3 to 5mm long, these little Red Velvet Mites are hard to miss, simply because of their unusual colour. This is one of the Trombidiidae family but I don’t know which one. It’s really an arachnid (note the eight legs) rather than an insect but I’m including it here anyway. It’s carnivorous but no need to worry – it only eats creatures smaller than itself!

And, finally, a bee that I haven’t tried to put a name to – I just liked it for the way it’s positively luxuriating in the pollen of this Lesser celandine flower.

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