The weather is beginning to get me down now. It was another bitterly cold day, with dreadful light, and almost no insects on the wing. In fact I spotted a pair of female Andrena scotica, both with full pollen brushes, simply sitting on one of my aucubas – such an unusual sight, because these solitary bees have only a limited time span in which to build and provision their nests and therefore tend to work flat out, that I had to assume they’d become too cold to fly, and were sitting there in the hope that the sun would emerge and warm them. It didn’t, and as I was photographing them one of the two slid gently off her leaf and fell through the shrub, an experience I fear won’t have improved her state.

When I arrived home yesterday I heard the first chiffchaff here this spring calling from the hedgerow across the lane, and today it spent an hour or so feeding and calling down in our wild garden. I stalked it for a while without managing to get any acceptable photos, but when I went up to Tilly’s field in the hope of finding some insects on the blossom hedges it seemed to follow me, and I did finally get some shots of it in the furthest corner of the field. They’ve lost out to this image though, which is a big Bombus terrestris queen feeding on the blossom of a wild damson tree. I like it because it gives the wholly false impression that it was a bright, spring-like day – and also because the bee was quite a long way up in the tree, and I’m always pleased when I manage to take a reasonable insect photo with the long lens.

2021 birds:
51 Nuthatch (yesterday)
52 Chiffchaff