Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ridiculously Early!

Visited Savernake today.  During the last two weeks half the surviving larvae there moved out of hibernation to take up positions next to swelling leaf buds - they normally do this at the start of April.  Only a few are still in deep midwinter mode.  Two larvae may well start feeding later this week, as they are aligned next to opening leaf buds, notably this one -

This next one will start nibbling the sepals which unfurl as the flower fades, probably in a week's time -

Basically, they are about three weeks ahead of the norm and six weeks ahead of where they were this time last year - and if this goes on the butterfly will be out at the end of May...  Fortunately, cooler cloudier weather is forecast for this week, for things need slowing down. 

Also, here is a 4th instar Pearl-bordered Fritillary larva, photoed near Cirencester yesterday.  They are feeding up fast in this weather, as is the Marsh Fritillary -


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