Today has been one of the warmest days this year, with a daytime temperature of 22 degrees Celcius. The seasonal norm would be around 15 degrees. With this early summer, we have seen a significant increase in the garden insects. Notable is the early appearance of the Speckled Wood butterfly (above). This is a summer resident in our garden and is normally seen from the end of May to September.
Another early and abundant insect is the Holly Blue butterfly, which is seldom seen this far north in the UK. We have quite a population at present, flitting about the top of the garden and spiralling high above the hedges in the sunshine, giving a flash of bright blue on the upper wings.
Several species of Bee are now active, from this large bumble bee to the much smaller solitary bees and worker bees which are busy collecting nectar and pollinating the flowers and blossoms of the garden plants.
The frogs are also back in the pond - I counted 9 yesterday - they dive for cover whenever anyone approaches the pond, so this makes it difficult to estimate numbers. The newts have cleared almost all of the tadpoles from the pond. Large numbers of newts have survived the mild winter and the excess food has left us a very strong community of amphibians. Slugs and snails are also very abundant this year. Quite a challenge for organic control methods.