Checked all 37 hibernating larvae today, Sun 31st. Regret that 4 had vanished without trace, presumably eaten, and another had shrivelled up and died - this one looked poorly on my previous visit, Sun 17th. So 5 were lost in late Jan, which is disappointing as none had been lost since about Christmas when Percy Bysshe Shelley vanished.
There is a mortality hot spot along the Roman Road. My guess is that there's a flock of tits regularly using that area. The remedy is simple, next time I'm taking Flea with me, my cat. All tits must be crunched.
Of the 4 presumed predated, 3 were by buds and were yellow-green in colour, and the other was on a scar and grey in colour. The latter is (was) one of those photoed by Brother Neil in early Jan - the 3rd larva illustrated in the blog for Jan 13th.
These new losses include Christina Rossetti and Philip Larkin, renowned for being the first poet to use the F word in verse. This is most distressing.
So far, I have lost 9 hibernating larvae to assumed predation, 6 of them in the Roman Road area. I've lost 2 from scars, 7 from buds. A distinct little seat pad is all that remains. And one of my captive larvae has withered up and died. This was an odd larva that never changed into autumn colours.
I now have 32 left. Those by buds are greening up. Please remember them in your prayers.