Peacock

Peacock

Like the comma and tortoiseshell in the past two days posts, this peacock was making the most of the sun on April 13th.

At least a dozen different individuals, including examples from all three species, were on a single five-yard stretch of embankment by the towpath of the Staffs and Worcs canal at the back of Aldersley stadium.

Black poplar catkins

Black poplar catkins

These catkins are a strong reddish-purplish colour – tending more to purple when they are knocked to the ground in strong winds then crushed.

Ivy leaved speedwell

Ivy leaved speedwell

This plant is a weed to gardeners.

The flower is tiny – just a couple of millimetres across. To the right of the flower there is an even smaller insect or spider (click on the picture to go to Flickr to see this more clearly on a larger version).

Tortoiseshell butterfly

This butterfly feeding on a dandelion was my first go at doing video. As such, it is a good demonstration that hand-held close-ups at maximum zoom give a very shaky result.

Below is a still of the same individual at rest.

Tortoiseshell

Gorse

Gorse

This bee was busy collecting nectar from the gorse flowers. The gorse bloom is now well advanced.

Toads mating

Toads mating

These toads were already locked in a nuptial embrace as they crawled across the main path through Baggeridge Park on the way to find a pool to lay their spawn.

The male is noticeably smaller than the female, who is swollen with the eggs.

Comma butterfly

Comma

The warmer weather of the middle of April has brought the flowers on a great deal. It has also prompted the emergence of insects such as butterflies and bees which rely on flowers for food.

Wood anemones

Wood anemones

A large bank of wood anemones were growing in a wood by the bank of the River Severn, near to the Highley station of the Severn Valley Railway.

Scarlet elf cup fungus

Scarlet elf cup fungus

Scarlet is not really an accurate description of the shade of red of this woodland fungus. But the colour is so vivid that I thought it was a discarded chocolate bar wrapper until I looked at it more carefully.

Wild arum

Wild arum

Commonly known as the cuckoo pint, Lords and Ladies, and several other names, the wild arum will later produce what is arguably our weirdest looking native flower.

Fox cub

Fox cub

This fox cub is one of the litter which are being raised in the den which I think is a former badger set, featured here.

The cub currently has blue eyes. The fur is predominantly grey, but already shows signs of beginning to turn reddish. The eyes will also soon turn to amber.

The rear view of the same cub (below) shows the darker fur on the ears, and the currently stumpy tail.

Fox cub

This is the largest and boldest of the cubs in the litter, which might have up to seven in total.