In complete contrast to last year it has been a fine early spring. Most of the Prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum) blossom has already gone over in the park and Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn) is coming out now. Many butterflies enjoyed nectaring on the former and also on Sallow blossom. Some of the sallow catkins have gone over already as well and one near the lake was covered with bees on 9th.
Bird news: Daniel saw a Red Kite flying over the park on 8th March. March and April are often good months to look out for this majestic raptor, which usually involve passage/wandering birds. The first migrant birds are arriving in the park with 3 Chiffchaffs and 1 Blackcap all singing on 16th. The chiffs were in full song and had probably arrived a few days earlier. When they first arrive they tend to feed constantly (after a long migration in this case wintering in the Med) and sing more subdued or sporadically.
It has been one of the best early springs for butterflies, certainly in recent years.
Bedfords Park LNR 9th March (12.00-16.30): 32 Peacock, 15 Small Tortoiseshell, 15 Comma, 5+ Brimstones (4 male, 1 female) and 1 Red Admiral.
Bedfords Park LNR 16th March (12.15-14.45): 20 Peacock, 18 Small Tortoisehell, 15 Comma and 5 male Brimstones. Also 1 Orange Underwing moth in Larch Wood.
All of the hibernating species had a good late summer and autumn last year and with this good start will hopefully continue to thrive in 2014.
Pam saw a White sp probably Small on 13th. If the warm weather continues the species which overwinter as pupa should all appear before the end of the month (this includes some Speckled Woods, Holly Blue and the other Whites incl Orange Tip). Watch this space!
I visited Havering Country Park on 12th - lots of butterflies here too including a total of 34 Commas!
The first four photos were taken in Bedfords Park on 16th March - two different Brimstones one with a little nick along the edge of the hindwing near the 'tail': the remainder in Havering Park .