Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Frogspawn

I went out and checked the pond for frogspawn this morning, as it was another sunny day.  I could see frogs moving about, but there was no spawn yet.

A couple of hours later, this had appeared – it’s still very dense, with the jelly not yet swollen up. I wonder whether the Pond Snail is having a jelly feast?  I put a little bit of spawn in a tank, so I can watch the tadpoles develop, and then return them to the pond later on.

Frogspawn

Fresh-laid frogspawn

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Bugs and blossoms

It was a day for ladybirds today. These were on our bedroom windowsill. They’ve been hibernating in the window-frames, and have woken up in the warmth of the sun today. They are both forms of the invading Harlequin ladybirds. If you want to know more, have a look here! You can record any ladybirds that you find in the UK there too.

Harlequin ladybird

Harlequin ladybird – a very spotty form (Harmonia axyridis succinea)

Black Harlequin ladybird

Harlequin ladybird, one of the melanistic forms (Harmonia axyridis spectabilis)

This native 7-spot ladybird was in the garden, trotting round the Lonicera nitida hedge.

7-spot ladybird

7-spot ladybird

The yellow crocuses were wide open today.

Crocus

A golden splash of crocuses

And finally, two greenish flowers, that need to be looked at closely to be appreciated. They both produce nectar for bees and other insects.

Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica

Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica

Stinking Hellebore

Stinking Hellebore, or Bearsfoot, Helleborus foetidus – popular with bees


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Signs of spring

In a sunny break this afternoon, I had a quick look around the garden, and found these broad beans already flowering! We planted them in a heap of compost from the compost bins, and they seem very happy there. I couldn’t smell the flowers yet, as they’ve only just begun to open, but the scent of broad beans is one of my favourites. It doesn’t sound too attractive, but it’s wonderful – very similar to apple blossom. I can smell fields of broad beans when we’re driving past them, and they are really good to cycle or walk past.

broad bean flowers

There are a few Anemone blanda flowers out – here’s a pink one. I was experimenting with cropping pictures differently – but think that maybe it just draws attention to the out-of-focus bits. It’s bright and cheerful anyway.
anemone

I heard a bumble bee buzzing around the various flowers that are out, and we heard a frog croaking in the pond at the weekend.

Last, but not least – a pretty weed. Red dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum), which has wonderfully hairy young leaves, and ‘bunny rabbit’ flowers.
red dead nettle