Monday, 6 April 2015

More Firsts for This Year

One of the great pleasures of spring, albeit a late one, is seeing the animals and insects emerge from their winter hibernation.  So it was sad to find the first slow worm in the middle of the road having just been run over by a car.  We picked it up and put it into the grass in the hope it would recover, but its writings were painful to watch.

This is the first beetle of the year, a glorious steel blue coloured animal which didn't move as it had its portrait taken, even though the sun was out. Perhaps it had emerged a little too soon, and was suffering from the cold.

I think this may be an oil beetle. It's about 25mm long.

The year's first crane fly took up station on our sitting room window yesterday evening and, like the beetle, seemed very reluctant to move - well, he did have a very fine view down the Sound of Mull on a lovely sunny evening.  However, by that time, the midday 17C had fallen drastically, so he may also have been too cold to move.

This may be the caterpillar of the drinker moth, Euthrix potatoria.  Whatever it is, it was far more active than the crane fly or beetle, having found a prominent position on a bunch of grass so it could take full advantage of the late afternoon sunshine.

Lastly, the human animal is also beginning to emerge, congregating in floating hotels called cruise ships.  We've seen the Hebridean Princess a couple of times recently, but she's a small, select cruise ship compared to this one, the much larger Marco Polo.  She's usually the first big cruise ship we see each year, and she's picture here from the top of Beinn na Seilg anchored off Tobermory Bay.

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